Goodbye Stranger (Paperback)
Yearling, 9780307980861, 320pp.
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework.
It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart?
“Sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love.” —The New York Times
A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, and more!
About the Author
REBECCA STEAD is the author of When You Reach Me, which was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, and Liar & Spy, which was also a New York Times bestseller, won the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction, and was on multiple state master lists and best of the year lists. Her most recent book, Goodbye Stranger, was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of First Light, which was nominated for many state awards. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her online at rebeccasteadbooks.com.
Praise For Goodbye Stranger…
An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, The Horn Book Magazine, Booklist
Named to Multiple State Award Lists
"Winsome, bighearted, and altogether rewarding." —Booklist, Starred review
“…Stead’s writing [is]… filled with humor, delightful coincidences… An immensely satisfying addition for Stead’s many fans.” —School Library Journal, Starred review
"... [Stead] captures the stomach-churning moments of a misstep or an unplanned betrayal and reworks these events with grace, humor, and polish into possibilities for kindness and redemption. Superb.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
“This memorable story about female friendships, silly bets, different kinds of love, and bad decisions is authentic in detail and emotion—another Stead hallmark.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review
“The handing-down of advice and wisdom from older girls and women is a welcome theme throughout the book and far too rare in female coming-of-age stories; it’s just one of many reasons this astonishingly profound novel is not your average middle-school friendship tale.” —The Horn Book, Starred review
“The author as usual deftly interweaves her plot strands into an organic whole, and between the multifocal plot and the exploration on growth and self-recognition…” —Bulletin, Starred review
“Stead can brilliantly summon what it feels like to be a young adolescent ... [Goodbye Stranger] is full of fun and generosity, and ... it is beautifully balanced.” —Wall Street Journal
“This novel not only sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love, it also acknowledges something crucial to the business of growing up: how anyone’s personal ‘we of me’ might look different a little while from now, and later still, different again.” —Meg Wolitzer for New York Times Book Review
“Absolutely relatable and full of heart.” —Bustle.com
“Beautifully written and perfectly paced ... Stead doesn’t talk down to her intended audience (ages 10 and up) or even to adult readers long past seventh grade who may well be surprised by the flood of real-life memories her fictional world dislodges ... Goodbye Stranger will remind you of who you are.” —Houston Chronicle
“A moving blend of present-day and historic, romantic love and familial love, deep questions and just-for-fun pursuits.” —BookPage
“[Stead] can see into the souls of young people as they begin to grow conscious of how others view them from the outside and how they feel on the inside, and she has the skill to illuminate how they grapple with these gaps and overlaps in perception.” —Shelf-Awareness
“[A]s authentic as it gets ... This is a landmark in literature on the friendships of young women ... Goodbye Stranger packs a wallop of emotion that’s a true pleasure to be leveled by.” —The Brooklyn Rail
“Stead manages to infuse her book with a timeless quality, particularly in the way she so accurately taps into universal feelings of trying to nail down exactly who one is supposed to be. Stead’s humble story is one that is deeply felt, and perhaps one of the strongest children’s novels of 2015 so far.” —National Post
“This marvelous, life-affirming novel, told from three perspectives, explores the unsettling, pivotal changes of adolescence as three best friends start seventh grade.” —Buffalo News
“A school story of substance and literary finesse.”—The Toronto Star
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. The story starts off with a prologue. How do you think that the information provide maybe necessary to Bridge’s story throughout the book?
2. When Bridge is dismissed from the hospital, a nurse says, “You must have been put on this earth for a reason, little girl, to have survived” (p. 3). How do you think this statement will play out later in the book?
3. Why do you think that Bridge decides to start wearing the cat ears?
4. Do you remember a time during school where it felt like things changed?
5. What do you think the title means? Who is the “Stranger”?