Cover image for Goodbye, Amanda the good
Goodbye, Amanda the good
Shreve, Susan.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2000]

Physical Description:
135 pages ; 22 cm
After three months as a nobody in junior high, Amanda finds her world changing when members of the popular and exclusive clique The Club set their sights on her for membership.
Reading Level:
720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 4.0 44708.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.2 8 Quiz: 21731 Guided reading level: S.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Amanda Bates, older sister of Joshua T. Bates, has always been a "good girl," gotten good grades, and played by the rules. But now that she's in junior high, Amanda is discovering that those rules have changed. Her friends have all gone to other schools, her body's changing, her moods are up and down . . . she doesn't even recognize herself! Amanda decides that her only chance to fit in is to join "the Club," so she dyes her hair purple, changes her name to Cheetah, cuts school, and starts dating an older boy with a shady past. It's as if she's two different people: the one doing all these things she knows are wrong and the one watching them happen--and before long, she's going to have to choose between them.

Author Notes

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of twelve novels and a number of books for children.

She is a professor at George Mason University and the president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

She lives in Washington, D. C.

(Publisher Provided) Susan Richards Shreve, born 1939, is a professor and author of more than twelve novels and children's books, including the children's series Joshua T. Bates. Shreve graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at George Washington University, Bennington College, and Princeton University.

Shreve became a writer while raising four children and working as a schoolteacher. One of her grown children, Porter Shreve, is now a published author.

Shreve's works often focus on the integrity of her characters and parent-child relationships. She has won several awards for her writing including the Guggenheim award in fiction in 1980 and the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Mystery Writers of America, in 1988. Shreve served as the PEN/Faulkner Foundation presdient from 1985- 1990.

Shreve lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. Amanda Bates has always been the perfect child, so perfect her mother calls her "Mary Sunshine," and everyone at school thinks she's a brain. But sometime between sixth and seventh grade, Amanda rebels. Hating her body, her family, and especially her persona, Amanda reinvents herself. She dyes her hair black, takes up with a group of unsavory friends whose initiation into their club involves shoplifting and skipping school, and even cultivates a boyfriend with a bad reputation. Shreve does a nice job of returning us to the Bates family, last seen in Joshua T. Bates, in Trouble Again (1998). The book is at its best as Shreve chronicles the trials of early adolescence amid the structure and good humor of this somewhat unrealistic traditional family. Preteens will recognize the dilemmas and themselves in Amanda as well as her less-loved and nonnurtured new friends. And when Amanda takes steps to become "Amanda the Good," once more, they'll rejoice. --Frances Bradburn

Publisher's Weekly Review

Perceptive and sympathetic, Shreve's savvy novel focuses on a seventh- grader suffering the first throes of adolescent angst. Amanda Bates, known to Shreve's readers as series hero's Joshua T. Bates's brilliant, popular older sister, has entered junior high, and finds that her good-girl identity fits her as badly as her suddenly too-tight jeans. When her father points out that certain behavior is "not like you," she snaps, "How do you know what's like me and what isn't? I'm a different person than I used to be." At school, Amanda is fascinated with an edgy fringe group called the Club and its leader, Fern (formerly Barbara). As Amanda flirts with a new persona by dyeing her hair, cutting class and considering renaming herself Cheetah, Shreve gradually introduces clues for Fern's sudden interest in Amanda and for Fern's manipulations. Ironically, it's the supposed bad-boy type, handsome Slade Spring, who helps Amanda see her parents and the Club clearly. Fans of Joshua T. Bates will be pleased that he remains a strong character and a voice of reason throughout Amanda's trials. Even if the resolution comes a shade easily, with Slade and Amanda agreeing to be best friends, the dialogue throughout is pitch-perfect--readers will recognize their feelings and problems on every page. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-8-Amanda Bates, older sister of Joshua from Shreve's earlier books (all Knopf), has turned 13, and overnight everything about her life seems wrong-clothes, hair, friends, and parents. She feels adrift in seventh grade, not part of any group, completely different from the girl she was in elementary school. When she attracts the notice of Slade, ninth-grade hunk with a reputation for bad behavior, classmates who belong to "The Club" suddenly become interested in her. These girls dress in black, change their names, disdain authority, smoke, and shoplift. They are fascinatingly different and Amanda longs to join them. As she becomes acquainted with Slade, she finds that most of the rumors about him are just that, and underneath it all is a pretty decent kid who wants to be her friend. And joining the Club quickly loses its attraction when Amanda participates in a shoplifting incident, cuts school, and has to lie to the principal. Shreve captures her protagonist's utter bewilderment and anxiety in this appealing novel. Amanda doesn't understand herself or her actions any better than her parents do, but like most girls her age, she resists their advice. Only Joshua can still communicate with her and their relationship is a sweet addition to the book. A thoughtful and realistic look at becoming a teenager.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Amanda Bates stood at the bathroom sink on the Monday after Thanksgiving, looking in the mirror at her hair, which was the color of purple grapes. On the floor were two of her mother's yellow terry cloth bath towels, now striped purple, and a box of hair dye labeled ink with a picture on it of a woman whose long, shiny hair was black. Not purple. Ink was the color Fern had dyed her hair two days before Thanksgiving. Fern was the most powerful member of the Club at Alice Deal Junior High, where Amanda was in the seventh grade. She and Amanda were not friends. In fact, until that morning in the girls' room, after social studies class, Fern had never even spoken to Amanda. But that day, while Amanda was washing her hands, glancing in the mirror to check her own hair, Fern had said, "Hi" and asked if Amanda had a spare cigarette. "Not right now," Amanda had replied, although she had never smoked a cigarette in her life. But it was exactly the right answer to give Fern, suggesting that at some other time she might have a cigarette. "I like your hair color," Amanda added, hoping to initiate a friendship, since there was no girl in all of Alice Deal Junior High that she would have liked to have as a friend more than Fern, formerly Barbara Adams, president of the Club. "Thanks." Fern examined herself in the mirror. "Ink is the name on the hair dye box." Now it was late afternoon, and Amanda's house was empty except for her younger brother, Joshua, who had just been promoted to the fourth grade in the middle of the year, after flunking third grade. When Amanda walked without knocking into his bedroom, he was lying faceup on his bed with Plutarch, the family cat, unhappily locked under his arm. Joshua's eyes widened. "Don't say anything," she said. "I know already. It's a disaster." She reached up and touched her purple bangs. "I dyed it, in case you wondered." She sat down on the end of Joshua's bed. "It was supposed to turn out black." "I think you better do something about it before Mom gets home from the grocery store with Georgie," Joshua said, making a face. "It looks pretty disgusting." "Like what should I do?" She checked herself in the full-length mirror on Joshua's closet door. "Shave it?" "Like dye it back to your own color." "Brown is boring. That's why I dyed it in the first place," Amanda said. "Then dye it a normal color like blond." "Maybe Sable. They had a color called Sable in the hair products department at CVS." "So let's go to CVS, pronto," Joshua said, putting on his coat. Amanda wrote Getting school supplies, A and J on the blackboard in the kitchen underneath her mother's message: At the grocery store with Georgianna. Back at six. Love, M She put on her ski jacket, pulled up the hood to cover her purple hair, and followed Joshua out the back door. "I hate Alice Deal," Amanda said as they headed up Lowell Street in the dark. "If you're not in a group, it's miserable." "I know," Joshua said sadly. "My first day in the fourth grade was miserable." "But at least you have friends," Amanda said. "I have none. Zero. Everyone in the whole seventh grade belongs to some group or another." The only group Amanda could imagine joining was the Club, even though she was sure they were not about to invite her. The Club was the fringe group at Alice Deal. They were known for their loyalty to one another and their contempt for authority figures, particularly teachers and parents and police. They were recognized by their manner of dress--tattoos, real ones that didn't wash off in the shower, and pierced ears or noses or lips or belly buttons. Amanda had seen the silver stud in Fern's belly button when they were dressing after phys ed. They dyed their hair and wore tight, tight skirts and tiny tops that left a strip of bare skin showing just above their waists, and clunky shoes. They smoked cigarettes and had a way of talking in whispers, which gave the impression they were telling secrets, excluding everyone who wasn't a member of their group. Amanda admired their nerve. She liked that they changed their names, as Fern had done, going from Barbara Adams to just Fern. They were brave and daring and rebellious, afraid of nothing, and Amanda Bates, who had been a good, obedient girl for all her life, wanted to be one of them. There were other groups at Alice Deal--the athletes, who included the sports teams as well as the ninth-grade cheerleaders and the gymnasts and the Montgomery County Soccer Team. There were the regulars--called that with disdain by members of the Club--who were well liked and good students, and who followed the rules of the school--the group to which Amanda would have belonged in elementary school. There were the visual artists, dancers and drama students, and members of the school chorus, who filled their free time with lessons and rehearsals. But the Club was different. Membership was by invitation and not by luck, with rules for joining and standards of behavior and a common demeanor, as if all of the members were from the same family, imitating one another's gestures and dress and way of speaking. Amanda believed the Club's opinions were valued and feared and admired by all the seventh-grade girls. Deep down, she herself was dying to be a member. Just months ago, Amanda had been living an ordinary, easy, predictable life. She'd get up in the morning, put on her jeans, a T-shirt, and a sweater, and go downstairs for breakfast with her parents, who glowed with pleasure in her company. She'd walk to Mirch Elementary, sometimes with Joshua, sometimes with her friends, and spend the day getting A's and "Excellent"s and commendations in all of her classes, invitations to everybody's birthday party. She even had a boyfriend, Bruce Griffith, a little nerdy according to Joshua, but almost as smart as Amanda. They talked at lunchtime and walked home together, since he lived a few blocks beyond Lowell Street. For graduation from sixth grade, he gave her an unopened bottle of CK1 cologne and a note on stationery that had a sailing ship at the top: Thank you for being the best girlfriend I ever had. Your friend, Bruce Griffith Her days had been simple. She did her homework quickly after dinner, went to bed, fell immediately asleep, and woke up cheerful in the morning. "Mary Sunshine," her father sometimes called her. Excerpted from Goodbye, Amanda the Good by Susan Richards Shreve All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.