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61 pages 2 hours read

Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2015

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Important Quotes

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“She missed third grade, but her body repaired itself. After four surgeries and a year of physical therapy, she showed no sign of injury. But Bridget was different after […].”


(Part 1, Prologue, Page 2)

Bridge’s roller-skating accident indelibly changed her life. Though she has no physical scars, she carries the marks of trauma internally. She missed an entire year of her life while recovering, which left her feeling behind her peers socially and academically. This becomes important as she navigates her coming-of-age changes in the novel.

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“If you keep your own body out of sight, you could be nine years old again.”


(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 12)

The author establishes the motif of physical bodies as the characters witness the physical changes that take place during adolescence. The unnamed narrator still feels like a child though her body looks more like a teenager’s, and she is not yet ready to let go of her childhood and embrace all the complications that come with physical and emotional maturity.

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“Bridge heard her mother telling her father that Emily’s ‘growth spurt’ made her think of those silent four-year-olds who suddenly start speaking in full sentences.”


(Part 1, Chapter 3, Page 16)

Mrs. Barsamian’s comment, while humorous, draws attention to the changes in Em’s body that seem to happen overnight. Children grow at different rates, and some, like Em, appear to undergo drastic changes much more quickly than others. Em’s physical maturation draws attention from the boys at school, but it is noteworthy to see how females notice the changes as well.

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