What worked: I love Sara Zarr's stories. They're emotion packed and dig deep into the character's lives and problems. In GOODBYE FROM NOWHERE, Kyle thinks his family is happy and he's excited about bringing his girlfriend Nadia to Thanksgiving. He even pictures them coming every year. Kyle's world comes to a major halt when his father shares a painful secret-his mother is seeing someone else. The big thing though is his father asks him to 'put it in vault', to not tell anyone else in the family. He wants Kyle to continue on as if nothing has happened.
I love how Zarr shows the conflict, struggle that goes on with Kyle. And how big this secret is. I felt Kyle's reaction was believable. Kyle starts retreating and neglecting his baseball practices, his school work, and relationship to Nadia suffers. Kyle reaches out to his favorite cousin Emily through text and confides in her. I love that this relationship is strong and important for Kyle. He has to have the strength to question his father's request, especially when he ends up finding himself in the awkward situation of being too close to someone in the family his mother is cheating on.
One strength of Zarr's writing is yes, there is mega drama in this story, but she takes readers on a journey that is quiet and moving. These characters aren't one dimensional, but have their own quirks and flaws.
I loved the scenes where the family all meet during the summer at the farm. This family isn't 'perfect', but that's the beauty of this story. I especially loved how Zarr mentions how flawed people learn to love each other. The scene where the affair all comes to a major head was awkward, but handled perfectly.
Poignant, coming of age story where a teen learns that sometimes not everything is as perfect as it might seen. Great pacing, great world building, and flawed characters that are likable.