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The Things You Kiss Goodbye (Hardcover)

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The Things You Kiss Goodbye By Leslie Connor Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Like any other teen, Bettina Vasilis struggles to balance her love for her family with her desire for independence. Her strict Greek parents don't give her much freedom, until she surprisingly starts dating the high school football star. By all appearances, Brady seems like the perfect boyfriend: he's handsome, athletic, well-liked, and respectful. But as Bettina and Brady grow closer and closer, his true colors start to show through; he is jealous, possessive, and he uses his physical strength to get what he wants. After a particularly rough encounter, Bettina runs off and happens upon "Cowboy." He turns out to be the perfect safe place for her, and the more time they spend together in secret, the closer they get. It seems like things are finally looking up when tragedy strikes unexpectedly, and Bettina's whole world is turned upside down. A great read for ages 14+

— Kaley


Fans of Sarah Dessen will love this heartbreaking story about family, loss, and the joys and disappointments of first love.

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when star basketball player Brady Cullen convinces her strict father to let them date. That summer, Bettina falls in love with Brady and the freedom that comes along with him. But when school starts up again, Brady unexpectedly changes for the worse. Unable to give up on her first love just yet, she finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship.

Then she meets "Cowboy," a smoldering older guy and the last guy her father would approve. Yet he is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina. When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

About the Author

Leslie Connor is the author of several award-winning books for children, including two ALA Schneider Family Book Award winners, Waiting for Normal and The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, which was also selected as a National Book Award finalist. Her other books include All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Crunch, and The Things You Kiss Goodbye. She lives in the Connecticut woods with her family and three rescue dogs. You can visit her online at

Praise For…

“Connor keeps her story completely realistic with fluid prose and convincing characters. Romance fans who happen upon this will find an absorbing portrait of abuse and recovery.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With compassion and respect, author Connor explores the ways in which loving relationships can get twisted into cycles of misery. Be ready with the hankies; this one is a real tearjerker.” — Booklist

“Connor lets the story play out slowly, a choice that adds multiple subplots but also deepens characterization and elevates the book above simple problem-novel territory. Bettina’s situation creates much food for thought. ” — Horn Book Magazine

“A girl who can’t find her way out of an abusive relationship finds herself longing for an impossible one. Unforgettable with moments I wanted to reach in and hug sweet Bettina. An unforgettable book every girl should read. ” — Jen Bigheart, Westbank Community Libraries

“A well told & intricate story with a refreshingly authentic teen voice.” — Jessica Wood, author of the Emma Stories series

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060890919
ISBN-10: 0060890916
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: June 24th, 2014
Pages: 368
Language: English