The Things You Kiss Goodbye
Bettina has a very strict father. He is the type that wants to make sure he knows where his daughter is at all times. But Bettina is in high school and wants to be a little more independent. So she goes to school looking one way and changes to show her unique style once her parents can’t see. The one surprise that Bettina gets is when her dad allows her to have a boyfriend. But not just any boyfriend. She is allowed to date Brady. Although Brady starts out being nice and kind when he starts being manipulative and physically abusive Bettina doesn’t know what to do. Brady is her ticket to a little more freedom. But freedom with a price. Then Bettina meets Cowboy. He actually cares what Bettina has to say and wants her to be safe from Brady. But Cowboy is older and Bettina is still in high school. And now Bettina isn’t quite sure what to do…but she has finally started to figure out what she really wants in life.
This is an interesting book on so many levels. First of all I love how this book has two parents, although a little strict, still deeply care about their children (Bettina has a couple of brothers). They aren’t perfect parents, but they aren’t dead or missing either. And that is refreshing. Plus there are a lot of fun tidbits thrown in about a family with Greek roots living in the U.S. Which gives Bettina’s family and neighbors even more depth with all the rich history and traditions mentioned here or there. But above all, this is a good look at what kind of relationships are good or bad–not just for Bettina but for all girls/women in general. There is a lot to discuss in book clubs or discussion groups about roles, women, family, and the whole lot. Bettina is a strong character who has to learn what relationships to keep and what ones you should “kiss goodbye”. Nicely done.
Book Discussion Questions:
Compare Brady and Cowboy. What is good about each relationship? What is bad?
Do you think Bettina’s parents are fair? Why or why not?
Why did Bettina stay with Brady even though she was often miserable? If you were her friend, what would you have advised her to do?
Why was art so important to Bettina? Do you have a favorite subject or hobby that you particularly enjoy? What is it?
Should Bettina have let herself fall in love with Cowboy? Why or why not?
Was it fair to Brady that Bettina was spending so much time with Cowboy when they were still dating? Explain.
Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2014
AGES: Young Adult