Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.
But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.
Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.
When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.
I have been on a roll of reading just okay books. I haven’t really been wowed by anything so I was hopeful that this would break me out of that funk. It had great responses from my reading friends and it seemed to be my kind of read. Sadly it just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t wowed either. Turned out to be just another okay book.
Things You Kiss Goodbye is the story of Bettina, a very sheltered 16 year old girl from a very strict Greek family. Bettina has been used to being ignored all her life. With a father that refuses to see her and a mother that let’s what he says go she has just existed. And then one day one of the basketball stars starts to talk to her and wants to take her out. With her parents approval Bettina and Brady start a relationship. Only after the summer Brady changes. The sweet boy Bettina knew is no longer there and she doesn’t know what to do. Dating Brady gave her freedom but being with him is hurting her. And then she meets Cowboy, a much older guy she never expected to like. The two become fast friends but in secret. And when things take a turn Bettina must decide what is more important to her, her freedom or her heart. But as Bettina decides fate moves in and Bettina then has to learn how to live her life.
I don’t know, I really liked the idea in theory. I was curious as to how Brady changed and what happens that makes Bettina’s world turn upside down in one night. I was completely intrigued by that. In the end though I wasn’t as wowed with the results. I guess my real problem was Bettina’s relationships with people. I 100% got what the author was trying to say. It made sense to me. This girl was sheltered by her parents, loving yet very overbearing, and she just wanted to get out from under their thumb. And I got her fear about not being with Brady after he changed. She was finally free, somewhat, and she couldn’t bare to lose that. What I didn’t get was her with Cowboy. Here you have two people that are 10 years apart. At my age, that is nothing. But at 16 and mid 20s that is a world of difference so I couldn’t understand what Cowboy wanted with her. She was a very young 16. The fact that she called him Cowboy showed that to me, so I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. He was creepy to me so I didn’t feel any of the emotion.
What I did like was the strong use of family and heritage. Bettina’s parents were stricter because of their beliefs. They loved all of their children, that was obvious, but they kept them away from the world as they thought that was their duty. I was frustrated reading it as I never had to deal with that, but I know many families that have because of their culture and where they come from. But I also saw how through this Bettina was a naive as she was about things. She had no experience about anything so she tried to get what she could when she could. That was actually the part I liked best in the whole book. That all made sense to me.
Basically I didn’t struggle reading Things You Kiss Goodbye, but I didn’t want to run and pick it up and read it. It interested me enough but I wasn’t wowed like I said. I can see why people did love it and were drawn to it, but it just wasn’t the book for me. I don’t know if it was timing or what, but I just liked it enough and didn’t love it. Honestly though you should try it out for yourself. You may connect in a way I just couldn’t.