Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
It Started With Goodbye is a contemporary Cinderella retelling. I personally love fairytales retellings, and that paired with all the buzz that I’ve been seeing around this book, my expectations going into it were high. Maybe that was my mistake. Because I probably would have enjoyed the book more than I actually did.
It tells the story of Tatum Elsea, a sixteen-year-old girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up arrested for a it. And because of that she lost everything dear to her; her best friend was sent to boarding school, she was put in house arrest by her family to follow her step-mother Belén’s rules for the summer, and on top of that, she had to go to community service as her punishment.
After the misunderstanding, and with the incentive of her new friend Abby, she decides to open a graphic design business to earn enough money to pay off her fee for the incident and for a new tablet. But she keep it a secret, only telling her step-grandmother Blanche about it, afraid her step-mother wouldn’t be as encouraging of her plans.
Tatum was an amusing character, I didn’t hate her or love her but she did hold my sympathy and interest. I liked that she wasn’t annoying to me like a lot of protagonists are, I felt for her and I enjoyed seeing her development through the book.
Belén was a character that I just couldn’t swallow, I mean I guess that was the point with her being the ‘evil step-mother’, but honestly even at the end I still hated her. Tilly is a different story completely though, I absolutely loved her, she’s such an interesting character and I wanted to know and see more and more of her. Blanche was fun, it was a good addition to it all but I didn’t really feel much towards her. And same with her father, he was irrelevant to me, I wish he would defend her more instead of treating her like a criminal.
Seamus Kipsang aka SK, I actually really liked him, he was fun and charismatic, and there wasn’t nearly enough about him in this book, when I got to the end I was dying for more of him and his interactions with Tate, in real life this time. Although, ‘we met online first’ is absolutely one of my favorite tropes so I just wanted more out of it.
Ashlyn was horrible, I didn’t like her and no matter what happened the way she acted wasn’t okay at all. Abby and Hunter were incredible though. I loved their friendship with Tatum and how it developed. It was so sweet and pleasing. I also completely adore them together as a couple and would totally read a book about them. Hint hint.
Overall, this was a nice and quick read and I would definitely recommend it if you’re feeling up for a cute summery story.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.