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Goodbye, Amanda the Good

Goodbye, Amanda the Good

4.6 11
by Susan Richards Shreve

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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


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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Perceptive and sympathetic, Shreve's savvy novel focuses on a seventh- grader suffering the first throes of adolescent angst. Amanda Bates, known to Shreve's readers as series hero's Joshua T. Bates's brilliant, popular older sister, has entered junior high, and finds that her good-girl identity fits her as badly as her suddenly too-tight jeans. When her father points out that certain behavior is "not like you," she snaps, "How do you know what's like me and what isn't? I'm a different person than I used to be." At school, Amanda is fascinated with an edgy fringe group called the Club and its leader, Fern (formerly Barbara). As Amanda flirts with a new persona by dyeing her hair, cutting class and considering renaming herself Cheetah, Shreve gradually introduces clues for Fern's sudden interest in Amanda and for Fern's manipulations. Ironically, it's the supposed bad-boy type, handsome Slade Spring, who helps Amanda see her parents and the Club clearly. Fans of Joshua T. Bates will be pleased that he remains a strong character and a voice of reason throughout Amanda's trials. Even if the resolution comes a shade easily, with Slade and Amanda agreeing to be best friends, the dialogue throughout is pitch-perfect--readers will recognize their feelings and problems on every page. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
"Perceptive and sympathetic, Shreve's savvy novel focuses on a seventh-grader (Joshua T. Bates's older sister) suffering the first throes of adolescent angst," wrote PW in a starred review. "Readers will recognize their feelings and problems on every page." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
To quote KLIATT's January 2000 review of the hardcover edition: "Just months ago, Amanda had been living an ordinary, easy, predictable life..." But now that she has started seventh grade at Alice Deal Junior High, everything has changed. Not longer cheerful and studious, Amanda is unhappy and ill at ease with her life and her changing body, and her grades are dropping. She snaps at her parents and tries to dye her hair black, though it comes out purple. At school, she longs to join the Club, a group of rebellious girls, and she attracts the attention of Slade, a handsome ninth-grader with a dangerous reputation. When Fern, the leader of the Club, befriends Amanda, she finds herself skipping school, smoking cigarettes, and becoming an accomplice to Fern's shoplifting. Is this the kind of person she wants to be, Amanda wonders? And can she believe all the gossip about Slade that Fern is so eager to pass on? Shreve, author of several popular books about Amanda's younger brother Joshua, understands what it's like to be 13 and unsure of your identity. Lucky for Amanda, she has warm and patient parents, and her brother Joshua is a sympathetic listener. She finds that Slade is a true friend, and that Fern is not, and she comes to her own conclusions about whether the Club, with all its snobbish rules and restrictions, is right for her. Shreve's direct tone moves the story along swiftly, and middle school and junior high girls will be enthralled by Amanda's walk on the wild side. KLIATT Codes: J�Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Random House, Dell Yearling, 136p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Amanda Bates, older sister of Joshua from Shreve's earlier books (all Knopf), has turned 13, and overnight everything about her life seems wrong-clothes, hair, friends, and parents. She feels adrift in seventh grade, not part of any group, completely different from the girl she was in elementary school. When she attracts the notice of Slade, ninth-grade hunk with a reputation for bad behavior, classmates who belong to "The Club" suddenly become interested in her. These girls dress in black, change their names, disdain authority, smoke, and shoplift. They are fascinatingly different and Amanda longs to join them. As she becomes acquainted with Slade, she finds that most of the rumors about him are just that, and underneath it all is a pretty decent kid who wants to be her friend. And joining the Club quickly loses its attraction when Amanda participates in a shoplifting incident, cuts school, and has to lie to the principal. Shreve captures her protagonist's utter bewilderment and anxiety in this appealing novel. Amanda doesn't understand herself or her actions any better than her parents do, but like most girls her age, she resists their advice. Only Joshua can still communicate with her and their relationship is a sweet addition to the book. A thoughtful and realistic look at becoming a teenager.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kendra Nordin
A book with a positive message, Goodbye, Amanda the Good is a fun read for anyone trying to figure out what it means to be 13, even for those who don't want to remember.
The Christian Science Monitor

Product Details

Random House, Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.62(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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.

Love, M

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.

Your friend,

Bruce Griffith

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.

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Goodbye, Amanda the Good 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It started out kind of shakey but now it is my favorite book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was great! I loved it. The best thing about it, its about regular teenage problems. I can relate to that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the book and I would recommened it to 6th -12th
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.