Novella Review: The Art of Goodbye by Gwendolyn Heasely

I really enjoyed Where I Belong, so I was eager to catch up with Corrinne and see what she’s been doing since her days in Broken Spoke, Texas.  The Art of Goodbye takes place over the evening before she leaves for college, with brief flashbacks to the spring, when she visited Broken Spoke to attend prom with her new friends.  That evening didn’t go quite as she had planned, so Corrinne has carefully crafted a schedule of events to celebrate her last night in New York City.  She is on a rigid time table, and when these plans don’t go as expected, either, she learns a valuable lesson.  There is no art to saying goodbye, and sometimes, things just happen.  Trying to control every situation to make a perfect memory isn’t possible and it’s better to just go with the flow.

 

When I started reading this novella, I was so disappointed with Corrinne.  It seems as though she had completely reverted back to her old overindulged, spoiled self.  Her evening is all about her, her, her.  Forget what the other participants in her plans want.  She has been planning this night all summer, and things are going to go according to her schedule.  Period.

Only the night doesn’t go at all like she planned.  Bensen, her boyfriend with an expiration date, wants to extend their relationship.  She’s taken aback by his suggestion, because she thought they had an agreement.  They would have fun during the summer, and then move on, with no hurt feelings, when they both headed off to college.  A long distance relationship, especially with Bensen, just isn’t in her future.  I really felt bad for Bensen, as Corrinne made it painfully clear that their relationship didn’t mean half as much to her as it did to him.

To further throw her perfect evening out of whack, Corrinne runs into Bubby, not once but twice.  She is still smarting about how prom night ended between them, and all of her plans for this evening are driven by the need to be in control now, since everything was totally out of control then.  Because of that night, she has blown the significance of this evening so far out of proportion that it would be virtually impossible for her not to feel let down.

As the night continued to snowball, and Corrinne continued to see her plans derailed, she started to take a close look at herself and how she was acting.  She was partly responsible for the disastrous outcome after prom, and she’s finally willing to own up to her role in that fiasco.  She has been blaming Bubby for their falling out, when in reality, she had just as much to do with their misunderstanding as he did.  I thought her childish behavior was mostly responsible, and I kept hoping that she would eventually man up to her own mistakes, instead of just dumping everything into Bubby’s lap.

She does redeem herself at the end, after realizing that there is no perfect moment.  This allows her to reflect on her behavior, and put her priorities into perspective.   While I was nervous about the resolution, I was happy to see that Corrinne does get a happily ever after, despite it being somewhat unrealistic. 

Fans of Where I Belong will enjoy spending more time with Corrinne.  I think this novella would be a let down for readers who haven’t read the book yet, so do yourself a favor and give Where I Belong a spin, too. 

About the book:

The heroine of Where I Belong is back in The Art of Goodbye, a romantic digital original novella about first loves and second chances.

It’s Corrinne Corcoran’s last night in town before heading off to college, and she’s determined it’ll be the most epic night ever. She’s planned every detail of each hour of the night, from what dresses she’ll wear, to what parties she’ll hit, to which of her best friends will be with her. But Corrinne’s perfect plan for her last night in New York goes awry when she runs into a ghost from her past, and the boy she’s never been able to forget—her ex-boyfriend, Bubby, from Broken Spoke. And Corrinne starts to wonder if her expertly planned goodbye to New York City was as perfect as it seemed. . . . Set over the twelve-hour period before Corrinne sets off for college, The Art of Goodbye will make you believe that true love can find you when you’re least expecting it . . . again.

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.