The Goodbye Year - Emily Gale

The Goodbye Year

By: Emily Gale

Paperback | 30 August 2022

At a Glance


RRP $16.99


In Stock and Aims to ship next day
Winner, Young People's History Prize, NSW Premier's History Awards, 2023
Shortlisted, Best Children's Fiction, Aurealis Awards, 2022
Shortlisted, Educational Chapter Book, Educational Publishing Awards, 2023
Longlisted, Children's Novel, Davitt Awards, 2023

A thoughtful and gentle middle-grade novel about the excitement and apprehension of life on the cusp of change at the end of primary school

It's the start of 2020 and Harper is filled with anticipation about being in the final year of Riverlark Primary. She wants a leadership role, the comfort of her friendship group, and to fly under the radar of Riverlark's mean-boy.

But one by one things go wrong. When Harper's best friends are made school captains they are consumed by their roles, while her own role-library captain-is considered second-rate. Then something major throws life off course- her parents take overseas jobs as nurses in a war zone. Harper moves in with Lolly, a grandmother she barely knows-and her five pets, vast collection of old trinkets and very different expectations.

Just as Harper's getting used to Lolly, the pandemic arrives. She has always been pretty level but is now consumed by worry. Her goodbye year is nothing like she'd hoped it would be. Strange things are happening- she wakes in the night in odd places, fixates on an old army badge that seems to have a mind of its own, and on a visit to the school library during lockdown she's convinced she's seen a ghost.

Who is haunting her?

Can she get through the anxiety of the pandemic without her mum and dad? And will Harper find a way to be happy with her goodbye year?

The Goodbye Year explores all the trickiness and confusion of the end of primary school and a new stage of life that looms with all its uncertainties and possibilities.

About the Author

Emily Gale's books include The Other Side of Summer and its companion novel I Am Out with Lanterns, the Eliza Boom Diaries, Steal My Sunshine and Girl, Aloud, as well as her recent middle-grade collaboration with friend and fellow author Nova Weetman, Elsewhere Girls.
Industry Reviews
‘Timely and vivid, this brilliant book is a warm hug, a rustle of autumn leaves and the last day of term all rolled into one. I loved every minute spent with Harper, her friends, her sometimes-prickly gran, Lolly, her persistent ghost and her dear little trench dog, Hector.’
Fiona Wood, author of How to Spell Catastrophe

‘A time capsule with a dash of mystery, The Goodbye Year encourages kids to be hopeful and brave.I loved it.’
Karys McEwen, author of All the Little Tricky Things

‘A sweet, gentle story about friendship, family…making sense of your world when everything is changing…discovering the past and noticing its connection to your present.’

The Goodbye Year is a beautifully written story that deftly weaves the challenges that Harper is faced with in 2020, into the historical challenges that confronted young people in the past…and shows that no matter what happens we can always rise to the difficulties that face us. A fantastic read for those in upper primary, especially those embarking on their own “goodbye year”.’

The Goodbye Year is a great coming-of-age tale that explores themes of resilience and friendship. Gale has really nailed that feeling of being on the cusp of growing up.’
Better Reading

‘A moving story of change and the lives of children as they leave primary school.’

More in School Stories for Children & Teenagers

Hello Twigs, Puddle Party : Hello Twigs - Andrew McDonald

RRP $10.99


Hello Twigs, Look Who's Grumpy : Hello Twigs - Andrew McDonald
Weird Holiday : Weirdo - Anh Do

RRP $15.99


Cora Seen and Heard - Zanni Louise


The Missing Piece : Ella at Eden : Book 11 - Laura Sieveking
The Majorly Awkward BFF Dramas of Lottie Brooks - Katie Kirby
Guess What We Are Doing Today? : Mr Luke's First Book - Luke Springer
Fledgling: Starminster : Starminster - Megan Hopkins

RRP $17.99


Frank is a Big Help : School of Monsters - Sally Rippin

RRP $10.99


The Peak : Spy Academy - Jack Heath

RRP $17.99


Bug's First Day : School of Monsters - Sally Rippin

RRP $10.99