The Goodbye Year

The Goodbye Year

by Kaira Rouda


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Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated façade of her life. Will and his wife are fine—as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).

Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together—empty nesting—might possibly be the end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940716336
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 623,698
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kaira Rouda is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary women's fiction and modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart. Her previous award-winning and best-selling women’s fiction novels include Here, Home, Hope and In the Mirror. When she's not writing, she can be found walking the beach, practicing yoga, playing Pickleball, and enjoying as much time as possible with her family. Connect with her at

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The Goodbye Year 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
PinkStar More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings What a GREAT read! This was absolutely an ensemble book where the author had to include a page to define the family and who was in each family that the book centered around - 5 families! Not only do the parents and their drama take place in the book, but the seniors in high school also get a chance to tell their sides of the story. First, I loved the place in life that this book took place. The parents are dealing with impending empty nest syndrome and the kids have legit senioritis. I think of this transition as a full family transition and it affects everyone in the home, so what a great time in a family's life to highlight in a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Many of my friends (myself included) have hit the crossroads of life called "empty nest". Our children have grown up and gone away to college to leave us all wondering how we deal with the fact that we are no longer needed in the same way. Kaira Rouda addresses this situation through her novel The Goodbye Year. In it we meet a group of families who live in a well-to-do beach town in Southern California. There are several couples who are on the cusp of empty nest, including power couple plastic surgeon Jud and his perfectly put together (partially through plastic surgery) wife Sarah, who have the perfect daughter Ashley. Ashley is a great girl, a hard-working student, beautiful, president of everything. She is dating a football player, but becomes friendly with Collin, the son of two recent Ohio transplants. His mom Melanie works hard to make sure every post on her Facebook page represents the kind of family she wants everyone to believe she has. Collin is musically gifted but not academically motivated like his older brother Seth, which drives Melanie crazy. She can't understand why he doesn't try harder in school. It caused much friction between them. Will works as a building inspector for the town, and his wife is the uber-organized principal of the middle school. She has her entire family's lives on a color-coordinated schedule, with nothing left to chance or circumstance. Will is tired of being scheduled to death and is having an affair with the mother of one of the students in his daughter's class. Rouda takes us through the senior year of high school, alternating narration from the adults and their children. I liked the differing perspectives we get from this, not only what the parents are dealing with, but also the pressures of being a high school senior with everyone coming at you about your future. It is much different than when I was in school. The one thing I took away from this is that you never know what the person next to you is dealing with. Someone may look so together on the outside, but on the inside they may be just as conflicted or lonely or scared as the next person. Maybe it will make someone reading this feel not so alone with their own issues. The Goodbye Year can be a little Desperate Housewives-like, with the scandals and affairs and secret lives, but it also makes you think as well as entertain you. And if empty nest is sneaking up on you, reading this may make you feel like you can handle whatever comes your way.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Since she never had a girl of her own, she took sublime pleasure in judging everyone else's. Melanie knew they had been friends since their kids were in preschool together. So, basically forever in suburban years. Much like dog years, Melanie knew most moms counted their years by kid-years, and they made and marked their friendships accordingly. Another reason Melanie was an outsider here. She had just three suburban years in this town. She was a toddler amid high school seniors. People were serious about this stuff, he knew, but looking around now he felt as if he were watching a school of sharks circling their prey, cutting in, chomping a brochure and signing their names on a list, before swimming to the next booth. My Review: The Goodbye Year is a brilliant written and expertly crafted character study. Ms. Rouda's masterpiece quickly tapped into my psyche and didn't let go; I am still contemplating the many nuances of the story hours after completing the book. The writing was compelling and full of insightful and cleverly amusing observations. Ms. Rouda's characters were richly textured, complicated, flawed, fascinating, endearing, and despicable. As the story evolved I was blindsided by several characters spiraling out of control while others experienced profound growth, with most of the outcomes being what I had least expected. I experienced a full range of emotion during perusal - my heart was squeezed, I smiled, I fist pumped, and I blinked hard and swallowed with difficulty. This was my first experience with Kaira Rouda but I am now at the level of totally gasping fan-girl enamored with her genius.
CinnamonHollow More than 1 year ago
Overall I thought this was a good book. I found some things that I identified with in a couple of the characters like Melanie who was, pretty much, having a nervous breakdown. Her "empty nest syndrome" was taking control of her life and she was having a hard time dealing with it. She loves her husband and her kids but things just started to get out of hand. I can see where many moms and even dads would go through that. I liked Sarah and her daughter Ashley as well as Melanie and Keith and their so Dane but that was it. The others, to me, were too wack-a-do! But, it takes all kinds, right? There are some of those in every community. And these wack-a-do's were written very well and I could picture them and what they were doing. There are quite a few characters in this novel but it is fairly easy to keep up with them. Anytime there is a change to a particular person's story there is a caption to let you know so it is easy to follow along. There were only a couple times I got lost in the story and had to double check which person I was reading about. Some parts I could see coming but there were a couple twists that I didn't expect. If you're looking for a weekend or vacation read, The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda is a great one to check out! I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
Humber More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading a book by Kaira Rouda; it was definitely an enjoyable read. The story was enthralling; a book that was hard to put down. As the kids are in their last year of High School, preparing for College to begin their lives, their parents are struggling in their own unique way. The novel explores various dysfunctional elements within the families as they prepare to face the inevitable Empty Nest Syndrome. It was fantastic to read both the kids’ & parents’ perspective; most definitely an interesting style of writing. The drama amongst the different families are connected and intertwined with common themes. The author has certainly explored issues that some families face during this major transitional period. Very well-written!
hobbisl38 More than 1 year ago
Many of us Brits don't really 'get' the US school culture - all that focus on sporting prowess and sophomore cliques but Rouda's tale of families embracing the challenges of the last school year before college is gripping for all that. The Goodbye Year is a story about 5 families and how the adults and kids deal with the pressures put on all of them to 'achieve' and to be a storybook family. Everything, however, is far from picture perfect for, whilst the mums are falling apart trying to maintain the "real housewife" illusion in an affluent beach community, the fathers are behaving in ways which are far from perfect. Rouda addresses the very real "empty-nest syndrome" and how it can leave some parents struggling to find an identity beyond someone's mum or dad. Despite the fact my kids are only 8 and 7, I found myself feeling rather wistful at the thought of them leaving home - although they have both informed me they aren't going anywhere until they're at least 30. As always, secrets and lies are revealed with consequences that catch the reader unawares and shatter the whole 'happy family' illusion completely. It's cleverly done and I really enjoyed "The Goodbye Year". Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book free in return for an honest review.
Silvie_MySillyLittleGang More than 1 year ago
I have heard that secrets can ruin a family, and this story gives reality to that. This is a great story that had me looking forward to what was on the next page. This booked had me hooked from page 1. One thing I really liked about this book was that it was filled with different emotions. It had me laughing and crying. I also really liked that this story gives you the point of view of both the kids and the parents. This is a very easy and fun read!
CMP61 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book since I have older children. It is a bit of a soap opera but is well written and I love how it is written from the perspectives of many different characters. I was able to learn about the insights of the characters and how they were feeling. I am glad that our lives don’t have so much drama, but the drama did make this book a fun read!
BambiZQ More than 1 year ago
The storyline in The Goodbye Year was simple enough, follow the lives of families living in a wealthy suburb in Southern California as they deal with the ups and downs of their child’s senior year in highschool. What made it more intriguing was of course the soap opera drama that unraveled in each of the separate lives of these rich, white women, men and tennagers that have everything they could ever dream of. The lifestyle of each character seemed so cliche, yet you could not put the book down as you delved into their dark ugly secrets that would inevitably blow up in their faces. Kaira Rouda put into perspective the fact that exterior facades that people extol to societies in which they mingle are never as they appear. Lies, deceit, manic behaviors and even psychotic behaviors are what these people truly micro manage so they appear perfect to their peers. The sad thing is that the teenage characters seemed to be able to cope with life in a much more reasonable manner than their eccentric parents. Although some of the story was a bit embellished, like the cheating husband turning into an insane psychopathic killer, for the most part Rouda did a great job in bringing to light the behind the scenes issues that all families may deal with in a fun easy read.
UndercoverBookReviews More than 1 year ago
*SPOILER FREE* What a great book! Completely left in amazement after reading it! These lives and the drama.... Holy crap! This is a book for all to enjoy! Some will relate more than others. But to live or relive the lives these characters have.... not so sure I would! But this book will have you turning the pages wanting to know who and what was coming! *Received for an honest review*
LynchburgMama More than 1 year ago
My oldest son started the 7th grade this year and incessantly reminds me that he only has six school terms left to complete. After reading this book, all I can say is that I hope and pray, with all of my might, that I don't deal with the amount of drama that these five families face! When I discovered that this book jumps from person to person (parents and children, both), I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it as I don't typically like the point of view to shift; however, I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself reading bit after bit because I couldn't wait to see the crazy mess they were going to get into next. I grew up in rural Illinois and then transplanted to southern middle Tennessee in another country bumpkin kind of town so when I would think of California, I think of an assortment of little communities identical to Crystal Beach (although now, as an adult, I know there is SO much more!) but it made for good fun throughout the book. Most of the parents in the book were in their early to mid-40's. I will be 37 when my oldest finishes high school. This is where I think, as moms, we hit our "mid-life" crisis. Our babies, who are now mini-adults, are flying out of the nest into the big, bad world. It honestly makes us all a little insane. I'm feeling my pulse quicken and little sweat beads rolling up along the back of my neck just thinking about my child leaving in a short, six years. He has already made a dedicated path to setting sail with the U.S. Navy after high school. Seriously, folks, it's enough to make me have one (or four) drinks with our supper! Overall, I enjoyed the stories of these families. While they tried to all look pretty and perfect on the outside, every single one of them was dealing with the hardship known as life and that is what made me relate to this book. We try so hard to do everything just right and end up overwhelming ourselves into oblivion. Life always has a way of surprising us. All we can do is try what we believe is best and it will be what it will be. Some of our kids will go off and become doctors, lawyers or musicians while others, well, they will living in our basements or "chillin' with friends" until they are 40. Either way, I highly recommend that you grab a copy of this book. It's entertaining, fun and makes you feel a bit more sane for the time being! I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
BookMomto6 More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing how Rouda captures the insecurities of both high school seniors and their parents. Seeing how these parents, in many cases, were living through their children's successes or lack of successes made me think back to those six high school goodbye years I went through. Granted, it was really only five years as the twins both left at the same time but it was six children leaving me. I spent a lot of time being a mother. It still comes out of my mouth first when I am asked what I am or someone is looking for a bio piece for me. Yet, I looked forward to the chance to re-invent myself once my children were no longer at home. Even though it is fiction, every parent of a high school senior should give this a read.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
With this review you may think I didn’t like this book. I did. I finished it willingly. I wanted to keep reading. I needed to know that these kids would get their life figured out. I have read others of Kaira Rouda’s books and have enjoyed them a lot. This is a book I would recommend for someone looking for an easy read. I have a college age daughter and high school age daughter. The Goodbye Year was what I thought would be the perfect book for me. I wanted to relate to the mothers, for their husbands to be like mine, and for their children to be experiencing similar things that mine are. There were similarities but these families were living entirely different lifestyles than me. These families were rich, privileged, and spoiled. The kids were having regular kid issues. Choosing colleges, fitting in, and getting along with their parents is something all kids experience but beyond that I struggled to relate. The mothers… they were crazy! Between the affairs, the controlling husbands, and the need to control everyone I was really hoping I had nothing in common with these ladies. I felt like they were selfish since all they worried about is how what their kids were doing would affect them. I wanted to have sympathy for their problems but didn’t. With every conversation, whether with another mom, a kid, or their husband, these women were something else entirely.
JulieGB More than 1 year ago
This story takes place in Crystal Beach, as five families maneuver each of their teens through senior year. While the teens are choosing colleges and preparing to live on their own, the parents are experiencing empty nest syndrome. But that’s not all that is going on. It seems everyone has secrets and each family could be destroyed if their secret were to come out. I was hooked from the start. I loved following each event, train wreck, and young love that happened. It was like a modern day Peyton Place. These families would be fun to continue following throughout the college years, and see how they evolve in time.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review **I was given a digital copy by the author for an honest review - Thanks, Kaira!!!** I asked for this book without knowing a thing about it. What I know is any book by Kaira Rouda that I've read - from her first (Here, Home, Hope) - I have loved. She is a fantastic author. Hey, while I'm singing her praises let me tell you, she doesn't write only women's fiction, though that's my preference. She also writes Romance novels. I'm not a big romance fan, but if you are you should give her a try. As I said, she's a great writer. Now for the review: It's told from alternating persons. I expected it to get confusing, because it wasn't just the was moms, dads, teenagers. There's Melanie, Keith and Dane, who only moved to this upscale California suburb a few years ago from Ohio. Melanie and Dane are still trying to fit in, and the stress is getting to them, and inflaming the conflict over Dane's grades and general motivation. Next is the Queen and King Bee of their town, Sarah and Jud. They are focused on getting their only child, Ashley, through her final year of high school. Jud is a successful plastic surgeon and he considers Sarah his best work. Not everything is as perfect as they show, will she have the courage to face her broken marriage? Will, Carla and Marnie make up the final family. Will and Carla were high school sweethearts in Ohio (which I thought interesting considering Keith and Melanie), but they have lived in California since graduating college. Carla is the middle school principal and Will does building inspections. They won't get rich like many of their neighbors, but they get by. The problem is that Will is starting to feel suffocated under Carla's need to micromanage every aspect of their lives. There are a couple other characters present, but these are the ones we get to see the inside of as well. It goes from...I think September to Christmas Eve. Everyone has issues coming up, and pretty much all have to do with their kids in their senior year. Keith and Melanie have been through this once with their older son Seth. Sarah and Jud only have the one child. Finally, Will and Carla are doing this for the first time, and have a younger daughter who still has a few more years to go. There are 3 families, going 3 different things in 3 different ways. That's as far as I'm going into this story. There was perfect flow, and it was so engaging that I couldn't put it down once I started it last night. There were several times that I was completely surprised. You think you know what's going on, and boom! she lays it out there like an explosion. This was such a wonderful book, I can't recommend it enough.
Bethany05 More than 1 year ago
This by far is one of my favorite books of 2016. The depth to each character is sublime and the twists and turns that make up their lives will have you wondering what will happen next. You will quickly learn that lives aren't always what they appear and in most cases you do not want to emulate the person that looks to have the perfect life on the outside. On the inside they are just as screwed up in one way or another as the average person next to them. Let me give a quick rundown of this cast: Melanie: (mother to Seth and Dane; wife to Keith) she is having a hard time adjusting after their move from OH to California, she is trying to keep up a persona that may break her in the end Keith: (father to Seth and Dane; husband to Melanie) he is busy trying to keep his family in tact and hoping to help his wife survive the tremendous change ahead Seth and Dane (children to Melanie and Keith) Seth is the older son and their golden child who can do no wrong, Dane is the younger son who has never liked school, it feels like prison to him and he can't wait to follow his dreams to a music career Sarah (mother to Ashley; wife to Jud) she has lost her identity to her husband since marriage - physically and mentally, she has always been the perfect mom doing everything for her princess but has noticed an ever increasing disconnect with her husband, what will happen when Ashlet leaves for school? Jud (father to Ashley; husband to Sarah) his life revolves around his beloved plastic surgery business, he has recreated his wife into his ideal mate and has been living a secret on the side, will their marriage survive? Ashley (daughter to Sarah and Jud) she is the "perfect" daughter, great at everything, accepted into Harvard - but wants to defy her dad and attend school at Stanford; she takes on a relationship just to upset her father Carol (mother to Marni and Paper; wife to Will) she is your typical OCD control freak; she needs to micro manage everyone's schedule down to the minute; she is going to drive her family crazy, will they last? Will (father to Marni and Paper; husband to Carol) he is on a path of destruction from day one; he was already found cheating in the past and lets just say things haven't changed, will he get it together or will he go insane under the pressure of what he has done? Marni and Piper (children to Carol and Will) we don't hear much from piper through out the story, marni on the other hand finds out bits and pieces of her life that she wished she never heard, is her family falling apart at the seams or will they pull through? Lauren (mother to Kylie; wife to Davis) oh what a tangled web she has woven, what was she thinking, did she make a mistake in married David who is many years older than her or was this the best decision she ever made? David (father to Kylie; husband to Lauren) we don't have much contact with David until the end, he keeps very involved with his car dealership and this may be a major reason as to why his family is falling apart day by day Kylie (child to David and Lauren) she has found out secrets that may ruin her family forever, can they ever recover from what is to come? Zoe (mother to Collin) she is in and out of the story, trying to move on with her life as a single mom, dating and trying to find someone that will complete their family Collin (son to Zoe) he seems to have the life that every guy dreams of in high school- avid sports enthusiast, great grad
GreatThoughts More than 1 year ago
Perfect book for mothers of teens. I have long been a fan of Kaira Rouda's books. The Goodbye Year is her best yet. I read it in less than 24 hours. It is set in suburbia and chronicles a senior year in high school from both the student and the parents' perspectives. The characters are so well drawn that they come to life in this book. This is a book about relationships- between parent and child, between spouses, between friends. Each relationship is so well written that you "feel" all of the emotions. This book will appeal to all mothers facing empty-nest syndrome and to all suburban dwellers in type A school districts (which is most everyone). Kaira Rouda has written a powerhouse of a novel. I received an advance copy of this book for an honest review. I honestly loved it
Holly More than 1 year ago
The Goodbye Year follows five families during a time that can either be great or devastating. It's senior year for these families who live the rich lifestyle but are hiding secrets behind closed doors. It takes an incident at school for everything to come crashing down and with secrets reveled about what they were hiding, not one of these families will come out the same. When I first opened this book and realized that it's five families to follow, I thought it might be hard to follow along but it's not, it's one of those books that will draw you in and will leave you wanting to know more by the end of the book. I just wished the book didn't end the way it did and it leaves you wishing that there will be a book in the future about what happens to them after the kids graduate college. This book in my mind just goes to show that the rich are not all together and can have major secrets behind closed doors that will just blow your mind. I could see myself reading more books by Kaira due to the way that she writes a pretty good book that will leave you up way past your bedtime! Thank You to Kaira Rouda for writing a pretty good book that I hope will have a sequel in the future! I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. I received this book from the BookSparks April Showers Blog Tour.
Lillianne More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. This book is full of secrets and surprises. Inside a wealthy world, families still have struggles. Money does not solve every problem. Family relationships unfold as families prepare for an empty nest. I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
allromancereader More than 1 year ago
The Goodbye Year is a funny, insightful look into the life of families raising their kids in the tough environment of college selection. Ms. Rouda touches on the spectrum of emotions a parent feels as they are faced with the prospect of their home being one voice quieter before they know it. As a mother who sent her oldest off to college this past year, the story resonates with me on many levels. The story is well-written and well-paced and I turned the pages quickly as the story progresses through the experiences of parents and children struggling through their last year of high school.