REVIEW: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him. But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina. Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else. 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. Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.
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I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher HarperCollins (Katherine Tegen Books) for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
  2.5 of 5 stars (Please read my rating system further below). 
My preconceived notions about my feelings on the plot/outcome of this book could not have turned out more different than what happened with The Things You Kiss Goodbye. I remember reading the synopsis of this book and thinking to myself that this book would be a great fluffy and easy read; I could not have been more wrong. When I started The Things You Kissed Goodbye I was in a little bit of a reading slump, and it was hard for me to engage myself into the story when I first started reading. I would read the first chapter over and over again because I just wasn't "feeling the story". After a few days of not reading, I finally continued on into the story, and found myself in this limbo zone where I was flying through pages and almost "enjoyed" the story, but it almost "too brutal" for me to continue reading. What I mean by this is that Bettina's boyfriend Brady was inhumanly abusive of her, and this was really hard for me to take in because of my belief in non abusive relationships. I would find myself literally looking away from the page while reading because it was too much for me. I'm really glad that this only lasted for a period of time because Bettina met Cowboy. What bothered me about Bettina and Cowboy's relationship was how naive Bettina was about him. I definitely liked Bettina and Cowboy's relationship much more than the one she had with Brady, but don't you think a girl should ask a guy what's his name before falling in love with him? Nonetheless I did end up loving their relationship and was really devastated by the ending of the book. I also really liked how Bettina was of Greek heritage; this made the book really unique and relatable to to because of the strong culture and tradition that Bettina grew up with. 

My rating system: (I do use half stars.) 
5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect. 
4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rating I've ever given a book.) 
3 - I enjoyed the book, but there we're flaws that made me enjoy it less. 
2 - I finished the book, but there were too many flaws for me to enjoy it. 
1 - I could not finish the book, and I probably did not finish it....