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The Goodbye Season

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
A courageous young woman comes of age in the midst of an historical tragedy, from the author of Dark Water Rising.

Mercy Kaplan doesn't want to be like her mother, saddled with crying kids and failing crops for the rest of her life. Mercy longs to be on her own—until her wish comes true in the worst possible way. It is 1918 and a deadly flu epidemic ravages the country, lea
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published January 1st 2009)
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59th out of 77 books — 17 voters
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Community Reviews

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Tiffany Skinner
Feb 05, 2013 Tiffany Skinner rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
They were gone, every last one of them, never to be seen again. Now no matter how hard Mercy Kaplan looks she will never see another one of her beloved family members again.
In the book The Goodbye Season it is 1842 when the Spanish influenza just begins settling itself upon Canton Texas. The numbers of people that are affected by it are countless. Although the Kaplan family will be altered before they even know the epidemic has arrived. Mercy Kaplan a sixteen year old girl lives in the rural co
Jun 29, 2009 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
This is Hale’s third historical novel. Set during the 1918 epidemic, it follows young Mercy. The member of a sharecropper’s family, she is so poor that her family is forced to send her away to work for someone ten miles from them just to have her fed. Mercy works hard and soon bonds with the couple she serves and their two hired men. But after one trip to town, one hired man is dead and Mercy is sent away for her own safety. She returns home to her family, finding the house empty and her mother ...more
Feb 20, 2016 OwlBeReading rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was perfect. A fantastic coming of age tale that was so heart breaking but made me smile. I loved Mercy and how she didn't take no for an answer. She made her own life which I love. My only problem was that she kept resisting Daniel when they were meant to be! I think they got married in the end. A truly great read that I recommend to all historical fiction lovers.
Rebecca McNutt
Living in the Edwardian Era wasn't what people today are used to at all, but for the main character of The Goodbye Season, she's about to find herself and her family caught up in an influenza epidemic. The Goodbye Season is a very well-written and intriguing novel for the most part, full of creativity.
Brayden Beaubier
May 13, 2015 Brayden Beaubier rated it it was amazing
Mercy Kaplan has a lot to figure out in her life but she knows something for sure- she doesn't want to grow up to be like her mother: taking care of five kids and watching crops fail every year. Mercy has bigger dreams. The year is 1918 and times are tough for the Kaplan family. Their crops are failing and they have little food, a lot of mouths to feed and a long winter ahead. Things change for Mercy as she leaves her home and goes to live with an older couple to work on their farm doing house ...more
Jul 12, 2009 Martha rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: middle/high schoolers
Shelves: middle-school, 2009
Timeless story.
Suzzy Jims
Nov 16, 2016 Suzzy Jims rated it it was amazing
Wow this is a bitter sweet book full of dreams, loss , and new beginnings. I found this book to be a little depressing but magical all the same
Erin Azmir
Aug 25, 2014 Erin Azmir rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own

Okay. It's a historical novel set in the year 1918 during Spanish influenza (mind you that this pandemic is what killed Edward Cullen of The Twilight Saga mehehe). This was not my kind of genre. I am more into romance novels and young adult and anything that goes before the existence of smartphones is not my cup of tea. So you would know that never in a million years would I buy this type of book. I got it in the Big Bad Wolf sale a few months back and I was in a hurry so I just picked
Jan 16, 2013 Kaitlyn rated it it was amazing
The Goodbye Season
By Marian Hale
Review by Kaitlyn

Could you believe what it would be like to live in the past instead of now? I often wonder that same question. In the novel The Goodbye Season by Marian Hale I felt like it would be simpler to live the life back in 1918. But I couldn’t say much until I read a little further. In history this was the time when the great depression was nearing and a flu epidemic came. And that is where my whole vision of the “simpler life” changed while I read this
Jan 10, 2016 Marie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Courtnee J
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl A
Aug 08, 2012 Cheryl A rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-historical
Having read and loved Hale's previous work, Dark Water Rising, I was hoping for another historical coming of age tale where the setting and time period came to life. Unfortunately, this novel did not strike me the way the previous one did.

Seventeen year old Mercy Kaplan, the oldest daughter of a sharecropper family, finds herself farmed out to another family when the cotton crop fails and the family is on the verge of ruin. Mercy's father and Mercy take off down the road, each in opposite direct
Jenni Frencham
One of the most common story lines in teen literature involves a child with special powers, especially if that child is an orphan or a "practical orphan." Another popular theme involves trying to be different from ones parents, especially a daughter trying to be different from her mother.

Mercy Kaplan dreams of having a different life, a better life, than her mother has. She does not want to be trapped at home, cooking, cleaning, and raising babies her whole life. There aren't many other options
Mikayla Lynn
Oct 16, 2012 Mikayla Lynn rated it it was amazing
In the beginning I rated this book 4 stars but when I finished I wish I could have rated it 10 stars! This is probably the best book I have ever read. This book changes your life. I'm not even exaggerating. You feel that you are Mercy! Parts of the story tears welled up in my eyes. Parts of the story I smiled or laughed and yet other parts I felt the tender caring feeling that Mercy felt towards Danial.

I write this review with so many feelings! I think part of the reason why this book means s
Jan 08, 2012 Stefanie rated it it was ok
As the eldest child of a poor Texas sharecropper’s family, sixteen year old Mercy knows how tough life can be. She never wants to live the life her mother lived, and dreams of being off on her own. But when she realizes how much she needs her loving family, they are taken away in the terrible influenza that ravaged the county in 1918. Utterly alone and on the verge of going hungry, Mercy finally finds work with Mrs. Wilder, a strange widower who seems to have a haunted past. Making the situation ...more
Camren Fletcher
Apr 10, 2013 Camren Fletcher rated it it was amazing
This was a VERY good book! It was cleverly written and it made me feel... sucked into the story! This is a very heart touching story of a young 13 year old girl who lives in Texas in 1918, who loses her family, her "second family", and close friends to the influenza epidemic during the time. in the beginning she wonders why her mother picked a life that she picked. I mean she was well educated and brought up right. She could have had any job she wanted but she was poor, with a husband and her 4 ...more
Jan 31, 2010 Deborah rated it liked it
Seventeen-year-old Mercy knows this much -- she does not want to be like her mother, saddled down taking care of babies and a husband, but beyond that, she does not know what she wants. There's not much that a woman can do in Texarkana in 1918. When influenza strikes her family, Mercy is left alone contemplating her future.

I usually turn to historical fiction when I'm feeling stressed out, since it can always help put modern problems in perspective, but wow, this was one depressing book. Traged
Jessica Jones
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2010 J.Elle rated it did not like it
First, what is going on with the girl's lip on the cover of this book? Click on the photo of the book jacket and keep clicking until it's big enough to see. Either the model they chose has a serious lip-curling talent, or she's started collagen injections WAY too early (and definitely wasn't the right model choice for this book set in the year 1918). The book was depressing and took far too long telling a story that really wasn't long enough for a complete book. I see from Amazon that it's aimed ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it

Mercy is the oldest child in a sharecropper's family. She is determined to be independent and nothing like her mother. She does not want to be poor, doing nothing but housework and having children. One year the crop totally fails forcing her father to leave home looking for work. Mercy seeks a position somewhere away from home as well so there is one less mouth to feed at home. She is lucky to find a job with a wealthy family in town caring for their young son. However it is 1918 and a deadly fl
Susan  Person
Nov 05, 2010 Susan Person rated it liked it
In 1918 rural Texas, Mercy's family struggles to get by. They are so short on money that her father has to leave home to find work, and Mercy, as the oldest, also must leave home to go hire on for another local family. They can't afford to pay her, but in exchange for housekeeping duties and cooking, she can get room and board. While she is away, influenza comes to the area. Mercy's employers are both stricken, but even worse - she arrives home, all of her siblings and her mother are dead too. ...more
Another good one.

Admittedly, I think this book was at its strongest in the first half, when Mercy was first working out of the house and missing her family, (view spoiler)

The rest of the book was still pretty good, but I feel like maybe it fell into the realm of the predictable when the whole mystery with Mrs. Wi
Sep 19, 2015 Sami rated it liked it
I liked the book overall, which was set in context around the 1920s, I think, when the fatal influenza (flu) epidemic hit.

(view spoiler)
May 07, 2012 Vicki rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
Mercy Kaplan is dealt a series of losses when crops fail, as the oldest she must leave her family so there is one less mouth to feed to help a farmer and his wife, Miss Beulah. After settling in there the flu epidemic of 1918 sweeps across the country and she is forced to leave the farm. She finds a "home" with Emma a restaurant owner, then a more permanent job taking care of Cora Wilder's children. But something is wrong with Cora. Mercy loves Gilly & Gabe, since her own younger siblings ...more
Zoey Gab
Oct 16, 2012 Zoey Gab rated it really liked it
The words I would use to describe this book is really sad and depressing. I did like things in this book like how she kept you hanging to the last chapter. What I didn't like about this book is that everybody died from influenza. I think Mrs. Wilder was the most interesting character because she had weird mood swings and acted really weird too. I learned that you can't take things for granted. Also,you shouldn't take back your promises and then do another thing. No, I wouldn't read other books ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing
Although I was reluctant to start this book, I quickly realized how good this book was. The Goodbye Season sucks you in and allows you to experience what Mercy was going through. You will cry, laugh, and be shocked side by side with Mercy. There is also a chapter or two where you will probably yell at Mercy because she is not willing to see the obvious. And although the ending could have been written better (it was abrupt and left you wanting more), this book should still be on everyone's ...more
Apr 26, 2010 Noëlibrarian rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2014 Kristen rated it liked it
This was a extremely quick read, but it as enjoyable. The main character is likable, and though she is whiny at the very beginning, she soon becomes hard-working and thankful as part of the plot/character growth, both of which were well done. It is realistic in portraying life in 1918, though I know absolutely nothing about the time period, there were no glaring atrocities. I recommend this to loves of historical fiction who want a fast, easy read.
Oct 18, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
I guess I can give this 3 stars because it affected me enough to make me cry. A friend suggested it as something to listen to. I don't think I can read/listen to young people books - they are too sad - everybody dies. At the end, I was getting very exasperated with the main character because she took chapters and chapters and chapters to make up her mind about something. I just wanted her to get it over with!
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MARIAN HALE lives with her husband, daughter, and grandbabies on the Texas Coast.
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