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61 pages 2 hours read

Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2015

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Part 1, Prologue-Chapter 19Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1, Prologue Summary

Bridget “Bridge” Barsamian was involved in a roller-skating accident when she was eight years old that changed her life. She was skating with her friend Tabitha when she saw a parked yellow Volkswagen Beetle. As she started the Punch Buggy Game, she skated through a red light, colliding with an oncoming car. The accident caused her to miss a year of school and left residual physical and emotional trauma. After she left the hospital, Bridget changed her name to Bridge and is still trying to understand why she survived the accident.

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “The Cat Ears”

In September of her seventh-grade year, Bridge decides to wear cat ears to school because they feel good on her head. Her mother, a cellist, is at a string quartet performance; her father is opening the coffee shop he owns called the Bean Bar; and her brother, Jamie, has already left for high school. With the house empty, Bridge tries to complete her homework assignment to define love. Bridge’s mother, a musician, once said love is like music, but Bridge is not certain the comparison fits. Bridge thinks love is when a person likes someone so much that it requires a stronger word. At school, Tabitha worries Bridge’s French teacher, Madame Lawrence, will take issue with the cat ears, but when Bridge enters class, Madame Lawrence points and says, “Un chat!” (9) meaning “A cat!” in French.

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