Natalie and Theo are on their way to celebrate their anniversary when they get the call that their daughter had been in a horrible accident in her college dorm. They rush to her bedside only to discover that their niece, Rory, was also injured in the fire that killed a young man. Rory and Arden may be cousins, but they are as close as sisters. They grew up together in the kitchen of their parent's restaurant and their entire childhood was full of shared memories. It was because of a horrible investment mistake that Rory's father made the girls ad to give up their respective college dreams of Harvard and art school for Eastern Maryland University. The family dynamics have been strained ever since Vince lost the money, but the girls still remained close. What their parents don't know is that college has put a whole new strain on the girls' relationship and now they are both in the hospital fighting for their lives. What really happened the night of the fire? Will Rory and Arden survive to tell their side of the story and what will it do to the family when the truth is revealed?
The Good Goodbye is a riveting story of a family on the brink of implosion. Natalie feels completely betrayed by Vince's bad decision and it has put a strain on the familial relationships, not to mention their financial stability. The story is told in alternating voices. The present is told mostly by Natalie and the recent past, leading up to the fire, is told by Arden and Rory. Two young women who are dealing with the pains that come along with growing up when they are forced to deal with the mistakes of their parents. Both girls deal with it in different ways. All sorts of hot button issues are hit in this book - eating disorders, prescription drug abuse, learning disabilities, child abuse, and more. And then there are the old standbys like jealousy and betrayal. When you read what Rory and Arden were going through at college it is enough to rock even the strongest of people. But as the flashbacks build up to the fire you just know that it is going to be horrible, but when the "big twist" is revealed it is quite earth-shattering. Both what happened the night of the fire and what was revealed at the hospital. Like jaw-dropping.
Bottom line - While The Good Goodbye is hard to keep straight at times, the twist and turns are worth sticking with, because in the end it is just a book about a family trying to survive everything life throws at them. One of those books that will definitely leave you thinking.