Goodbye, Amanda the Goodby Susan Richards Shreve
Sometime between sixth grade and junior high, Amanda Bates woke up and discovered she’d become an entirely different person. Her old clothes felt wrong, her old friends felt wrong, and her family
She dyes her hair purple, wears black clothing, and calls herself Cheetah. Can this really be the girl known to her family as Amanda the Good? Not anymore!
Sometime between sixth grade and junior high, Amanda Bates woke up and discovered she’d become an entirely different person. Her old clothes felt wrong, her old friends felt wrong, and her family definitely felt wrong. When Amanda attracts the attention of a ninth-grade boy with a criminal record, a whole new group of troublemaking friends seems to follow. But is the new Amanda bad enough to make it in the girls’ Club? Or will her old self win out?
The Christian Science Monitor
Read an Excerpt
Amanda Bates stood at the bathroom sink on the Monday after Thanksgiving, looking in the mirror at her hair, which was the color of purple grapes. On the floor were two of her mother's yellow terry cloth bath towels, now striped purple, and a box of hair dye labeled ink with a picture on it of a woman whose long, shiny hair was black. Not purple.
Ink was the color Fern had dyed her hair two days before Thanksgiving. Fern was the most powerful member of the Club at Alice Deal Junior High, where Amanda was in the seventh grade. She and Amanda were not friends. In fact, until that morning in the girls' room, after social studies class, Fern had never even spoken to Amanda. But that day, while Amanda was washing her hands, glancing in the mirror to check her own hair, Fern had said, "Hi" and asked if Amanda had a spare cigarette.
"Not right now," Amanda had replied, although she had never smoked a cigarette in her life. But it was exactly the right answer to give Fern, suggesting that at some other time she might have a cigarette.
"I like your hair color," Amanda added, hoping to initiate a friendship, since there was no girl in all of Alice Deal Junior High that she would have liked to have as a friend more than Fern, formerly Barbara Adams, president of the Club.
"Thanks." Fern examined herself in the mirror. "Ink is the name on the hair dye box."
Now it was late afternoon, and Amanda's house was empty except for her younger brother, Joshua, who had just been promoted to the fourth grade in the middle of the year, after flunking third grade.
When Amanda walked without knocking into his bedroom, he was lying faceup on his bed with Plutarch, the family cat,unhappily locked under his arm. Joshua's eyes widened.
"Don't say anything," she said. "I know already. It's a disaster." She reached up and touched her purple bangs. "I dyed it, in case you wondered." She sat down on the end of Joshua's bed. "It was supposed to turn out black."
"I think you better do something about it before Mom gets home from the grocery store with Georgie," Joshua said, making a face. "It looks pretty disgusting."
"Like what should I do?" She checked herself in the full-length mirror on Joshua's closet door. "Shave it?"
"Like dye it back to your own color."
"Brown is boring. That's why I dyed it in the first place," Amanda said.
"Then dye it a normal color like blond."
"Maybe Sable. They had a color called Sable in the hair products department at CVS."
"So let's go to CVS, pronto," Joshua said, putting on his coat. Amanda wrote
Getting school supplies,
A and J
on the blackboard in the kitchen underneath her mother's message:
At the grocery store with Georgianna. Back at six.
She put on her ski jacket, pulled up the hood to cover her purple hair, and followed Joshua out the back door.
"I hate Alice Deal," Amanda said as they headed up Lowell Street in the dark. "If you're not in a group, it's miserable."
"I know," Joshua said sadly. "My first day in the fourth grade was miserable."
"But at least you have friends," Amanda said. "I have none. Zero. Everyone in the whole seventh grade belongs to some group or another."
The only group Amanda could imagine joining was the Club, even though she was sure they were not about to invite her. The Club was the fringe group at Alice Deal. They were known for their loyalty to one another and their contempt for authority figures, particularly teachers and parents and police. They were recognized by their manner of dress--tattoos, real ones that didn't wash off in the shower, and pierced ears or noses or lips or belly buttons. Amanda had seen the silver stud in Fern's belly button when they were dressing after phys ed. They dyed their hair and wore tight, tight skirts and tiny tops that left a strip of bare skin showing just above their waists, and clunky shoes. They smoked cigarettes and had a way of talking in whispers, which gave the impression they were telling secrets, excluding everyone who wasn't a member of their group.
Amanda admired their nerve. She liked that they changed their names, as Fern had done, going from Barbara Adams to just Fern. They were brave and daring and rebellious, afraid of nothing, and Amanda Bates, who had been a good, obedient girl for all her life, wanted to be one of them.
There were other groups at Alice Deal--the athletes, who included the sports teams as well as the ninth-grade cheerleaders and the gymnasts and the Montgomery County Soccer Team. There were the regulars--called that with disdain by members of the Club--who were well liked and good students, and who followed the rules of the school--the group to which Amanda would have belonged in elementary school. There were the visual artists, dancers and drama students, and members of the school chorus, who filled their free time with lessons and rehearsals.
But the Club was different. Membership was by invitation and not by luck, with rules for joining and standards of behavior and a common demeanor, as if all of the members were from the same family, imitating one another's gestures and dress and way of speaking. Amanda believed the Club's opinions were valued and feared and admired by all the seventh-grade girls. Deep down, she herself was dying to be a member.
Just months ago, Amanda had been living an ordinary, easy, predictable life. She'd get up in the morning, put on her jeans, a T-shirt, and a sweater, and go downstairs for breakfast with her parents, who glowed with pleasure in her company. She'd walk to Mirch Elementary, sometimes with Joshua, sometimes with her friends, and spend the day getting A's and "Excellent"s and commendations in all of her classes, invitations to everybody's birthday party. She even had a boyfriend, Bruce Griffith, a little nerdy according to Joshua, but almost as smart as Amanda. They talked at lunchtime and walked home together, since he lived a few blocks beyond Lowell Street. For graduation from sixth grade, he gave her an unopened bottle of CK1 cologne and a note on stationery that had a sailing ship at the top:
Thank you for being the best girlfriend I ever had.
Her days had been simple. She did her homework quickly after dinner, went to bed, fell immediately asleep, and woke up cheerful in the morning. "Mary Sunshine," her father sometimes called her.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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this novel is great for preteens and teenagers who are confused in teenage love and this book shares a story about a preteen who talks about the tragic things going on her life as she goes through puberty.
This book is a great novel for teens or preteens that are confused about gorwing up. This book, although rather awkwardly short, symbolizes the true events a teenager faces during their years of growing up.
This book rules. I can totally relate to how Amanda felt when she became goth. My 'rents were the same way. I used to be good, but know I am an 'Amanda'.
I love this book. It started out kind of shakey but now it is my favorite book!
The book was great! I loved it. The best thing about it, its about regular teenage problems. I can relate to that.
Goodbye Amanda the good is a great story for any girl who has ever dreamed of being the most populare girl in middle school. I give this book two thumbs up!
I picked up the book from my school's book fair today and read it all the way through. My name is Amanda too and this Amanda Bates has done the same as me beside her shoplifting, skipping school, and etc. I also have changed to wearing black all the time (I am Gothic , FYI) and started to get annoyed by parents and fail school a bit. It was weird how this Amanda could relate to me a lot. I am also in 7th grade too. It 'tis weird. Anywho, I give it a thumbs-up.
I love the book and I would recommened it to 6th -12th
When I first saw the book I thought, "Why would I want to read this?" But after I read it, it started to answer some of my proublems!
I loved this book. It really taught me about how horrible pier pressure can be, and sometimes things and people don't turn out like you thought.
This was a very enjoyable book to read. It really tells the story of a middle school girl. Amanda is just trying to fit in with the clothes, boys and the Club. This book will be loved by parents and kids over 12.