- Release Date: October 1, 2013
- Publisher: Abrams
- Pages: 320
- Genre: Contemporary
Rebecca “Rebel” Blue is exactly what she sounds like; a rebel. Raised and home schooled by a free willing photographer, Rebel just doesn't get most things; like wearing shoes or math. Which is why she battles daily with her aunt and cousin after her mother's death. She's accepted she doesn't fit in and she's fine with it.
Until Rebel has one encounter with her polar opposite, Kennedy Green, during a somewhat morbid assignment; write a bucket list. When Kennedy Green suddenly dies, her bucket list haunts Rebel. Now Rebel believes to find her own peace she must tackle Kennedy's list one item at a time.
If I'm being honest, I have a bias against this book because I read it right after I Am Messenger by Markus Zusak, which has a similar premise about a character trying to make good. Goodbye, Rebel Blue is a lower stakes and lighter version of this story.
Rebel is an interesting character who "marches to the beat of her own 225 person marching band." Her narration has a strong voice, that is slightly sarcastic and self-deprecating. There were times when I could identify with her need to figure out what exactly makes a good person. Things aren't always easy for her and her path to completing Kennedy's list isn't always smooth. She has quite few failures along the way and has to figure out how to accept some of her own faults.
This novel also has a romantic interest with the school's resident do-gooder, Nate Bolivar, it is refreshing to see a love interest of color because after 60 books reviewed this is the first time I've seen a Hispanic male love interest. Nate acts as a nice foil to Rebel, but I had one problem with Nate; he’s just a little too perfect. And not just in the looks category he also made good grades, cares about the environment, is good at sports and his biggest flaw is he likes to please everyone. It just got to a point where he doesn't seem realistic.
However, the more I think about it, I kind of take issue with the set up of the book. Rebel is trying to complete a bucket list, but bucket lists are supposed to set up a lifetime of goals, so that Rebel tries to do these all in a few months takes away from some of the meaning for me.
Also, the copy in the synopsis compares this book to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and I think these books couldn't be more different. In Asher's book, you learn about the dead girl through what she leaves behind, while in Coriell's novel the death is glossed over and the focus is more on the main character's development.
While it may not be content heavy, Goodbye, Rebel Blue is ultimately an uplifting journey, about the importance of leaving your comfort zone and learning to get out of your own way.