- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 0560 (What's this?)
- Series: Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors (Awards)
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; 3rd edition (August 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385743173
- ISBN-13: 978-0385743174
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#52,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #38 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Peer Pressure
- #600 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Emotions & Feelings
- #1419 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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Goodbye Stranger (Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors (Awards)) Hardcover – August 4, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Ah, seventh grade! A year when your friends transform inexplicably, your own body and emotions perplex you, and the world seems fraught with questions, and the most confusing ones of all concern the nature of love. Stead focuses on Bridge Barsamian, her best girlfriends, and her newest friend Sherm—a boy who is definitely not her boyfriend (probably). They're navigating the shoals of adolescence on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Emily has suddenly developed a figure that attracts a lot of attention, Tabitha is an increasingly committed human rights activist, and Bridge has taken to wearing a headband with black cat's ears for reasons that are unclear even to her. The seventh graders aren't the only characters working out relationships. There are married parents and divorced parents and then there's Sherm's grandfather who has suddenly left his wife of 50 years and moved to New Jersey. There's also a mysterious character whose Valentine's Day is doled out in second-person snippets interspersed within the rest of the story. Love is serious, but Stead's writing isn't ponderous. It's filled with humor, delightful coincidences, and the sorts of things (salacious cell phone photos, lunchroom politics, talent show auditions) that escalate in ways that can seem life-shattering to a 13-year-old. The author keeps all her balls in the air until she catches them safely with ineffable grace. VERDICT An immensely satisfying addition for Stead's many fans.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY
A New York Times Bestseller
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
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Top Customer Reviews
I was anxious to read Goodbye Stranger because I was hoping it would be as good. It is. Ms Stead has a way with her characters, they're quirky and unexpected, and I like that. There is always a mystery, in this case another story twists through the main one, and at the end you smack your head and say, "Duh! I should have seen that!" And these mysteries are just as fresh upon subsequent readings, even though you already know what's going to happen.
The main thread of Goodbye Stranger focuses on a group of seventh graders, and inappropriate pictures posted on social media. As a teacher, I've seen this kind of thing happen before, and I'm glad I have this resource now to share with students. Why is it a bad idea to post something without another person's knowledge? The message here is not shouted, it just plays out in such a way that it gets the point across very poignantly.
Too many times my students want to read supernatural young adult titles. This year, I'll gently push them toward this book instead. Highly recommended.
Rebecca Stead is an author I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time. Her Newberry Medal winning book, When You Reach Me, was the book that put her on my radar, but it’s her latest book, Goodbye Stranger, that I’ve actually read. After such a positive reading experience, I’ve purchased all of her remaining books, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting through those in no time.
If I woke up one day to find myself in my twelve-year-old body and had to go back to middle school, I’d check myself into the psych ward. Middle school was an awkward time for me: maturing physically, the tangle of friendships and betrayal, bullying, grades, peer pressure, and the need to please everyone. High school was even weirder. Stead put me right back into that time and place, compouded with the new issues facing youths today.
Told from a variety of perspectives, Bridge and her two best friends face challenges related to change and growth when they enter the seventh grade. The advancement of technology has made what used to be black and white definite gray areas. Subjects like divorce, sexting, bullying and a slew of other issues are used by Stead to skillfully weave in the vulnerability and pain of adolescence in today’s world. A great read. Four-and-a-half stars for sure!
I read this book with my daughter, along with one of her best friends and the friend's mother in a book group. Overall, this was a great book. It's not exactly the type of book I could see myself re-reading, but everything felt genuine: the characters, the settings, the visual cues. I felt like I was hanging out with this group of people for a few months, watching their lives go by.
Since I didn't have a cell phone when I was in middle school, the whole sending-picture scandal was interesting to me, but the overall theme of different kinds of friendship and how they change over time is a universal one.
Some stand-alone things that come to mind:
I was genuinely surprised that the nameless girl having trouble with her friend Vinny was Celeste, Tab's sister. Maybe its because I was reading quickly to finish the book, but I didn't see it coming.
I really, really wish there had been a resolution to finding out Julie Hopper sent the picture of Em.
I liked the friendship of Bridge and Sherm, how they really just liked hanging out together and, even if they felt weird sometimes, they still just went with it and trusted each other.
I really liked the friendship of Em, Bridge and Tab. Their communication was good, even if that's not necessarily entirely reflective of real life. But it's a great standard to aspire to.
I loved all the visuals and unique character details in the story. Bridge and her brother, with their love of the Rudolph Christmas special; Tab and her parents and their fasting ritual; Sherm's relationship with his grandparents; Em and her brother Evan, who reads tarot cards; the Bean Bar and Adrienne (a boxer with blond dreadlocks!); Bridge's cat ears, Em's sportiness, Tab's emerging feminism; Sherm believing the moon landing was faked, Bridge's mom playing cello; and on, and on...
This book, in my opinion, definitely stands as a new classic and I think all kids should read it before entering seventh grade. Cheers to Rebecca Stead!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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