Spoiler-Free Review: “Wave Me Goodbye” by Jacqueline Wilson

If you’re British and you like books, it’s likely you’ve heard of Jacqueline Wilson. This much-loved children’s writer has written over 100 books now and is famous for characters like Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather.

I was one of the kids who had some of the book sets when I was little. I had books like The Lottie Project, Double Act, The Suitcase Kid, Vicky Angel, Girls in Love, The Story of Tracy Beaker, and The Bed and Breakfast Star. She often writes books about girls around ten years old who are going through some kind of drama or tragedy, such as their parents’ divorce, poverty, bullying, and the like.

I actually hadn’t read any of Wilson’s books since the 2000s, unless you count re-reading The Illustrated Mum on Kindle a few months back.

It was cool to see that Wilson is still writing, and my dad bought me her 2017 novel Wave Me Goodbye, about a girl who is sent to the countryside right before World War II breaks out in 1939.


“September, 1939. As the Second World War begins, ten-year-old Shirley is sent away on a train with her schoolmates. She doesn’t know where she’s going, or what’s going to happen to her when she gets there. All she has been told is that she’s going on ‘a little holiday’.

Shirley is billeted in the country, with two boys from East End London, Kevin and Archie – and their experiences living in the strange, half-empty Red House, with the mysterious and reclusive Mrs Waverley, will change their lives for ever.”

A lot of Jacqueline Wilson’s characters are very similar: around ten years old, female, timid, introverted, and often don’t have many friends due to moving around a lot or being considered “weird.” They’re usually creative and good at imagining things. Shirley Louise Smith wasn’t much different. I was more interested in the time in which the story was told; we hear a lot about soldiers’ experiences in World War II, but I hadn’t come across anything from a London child’s perspective before (I’m not saying that this book is the first of its kind, but that it was an interesting change written by one of my favourite authors).

Shirley is sent away on “a little holiday” to the countryside. I found her mother to be an interesting character; strict, strong-minded, and at first, slightly narcissistic, and unwilling to tell Shirley at first that she (the mother) won’t be travelling with her. She gets exasperated with Shirley’s love for reading and wishes to be more “posh.”

I often felt very sorry for Shirley. She considers herself ugly and hates her short hair. She loves to read and often pretends the girls from her favourite book, Ballet Shoes, are around her. She has trouble making friends and is bullied by others. On top of that, she misses her parents terribly when she is billeted. It makes us appreciate how tough it was for the children during the war as well as everyone else.

I loved the characters Kevin and Archie; in my opinion, they made the book’s story stronger. I enjoyed following Shirley on her adventure and was interested in the background of the family they were staying with.

Wilson did a great job of making Shirley relatable. Shirley loves books which are appropriate for 1939 but are also understandable by today’s children, such as old fairy tales like Cinderella, Mary Poppins, and Alice in Wonderland. The language seemed fairly appropriate for the time “cor blimey”/”bally” but I wasn’t completely convinced with Archie; he was supposed to be around three or four years old but he often spoke in longer sentences that I imagine a toddler would usually struggle with. Nevertheless, he was an incredibly cute character.

All in all, I was impressed with Wave Me Goodbye. The ending was nice, although it left a lot of questions open such as the fate of her father. That being said, it was a story about Shirley, not about the war itself.

Overall I give Wave Me Goodbye four stars out of five, although I would rather give it 4.5 as I remained entertained the whole way through and will probably read it again sometime in the future. Nice job, Wilson!


Get Wave Me Goodbye on Amazon UK
Get Wave Me Goodbye on Amazon US


6 Video Games That Changed My Life

For a lot of people, video games were a big part of our childhood and our adult lives, too. Games are fairly inexpensive, fun, and provide hours and hours of entertainment. We got a Nintendo 64 in around 1998, and my brother and I would spend our afternoons and weekends killing monsters, going on adventures, and making amazing memories.

If you’re like me, you have a few games that are not only rooted in your memory forever, but sorted of shaped who you are. Connections to places and characters can alter your perspective and make you see the world differently. It doesn’t matter that they’re fictional!

Let me share with you six video games that seriously changed my life.

1. Pokémon Fire Red

I never had one of the original Game Boys, but my cousin did, and he sometimes let me play the original Pokémon Yellow on his device. It seemed awesome, and when I got a bit older I finally got a Game Boy Advance and Pokémon Fire Red.

I have a tendency to get really, really into games, just like some people get really into books, movies, and TV shows. Fire Red sucked me right in. I fought Team Rocket, explored the exciting Kanto region, developed close bonds with my Pokémon buddies and became World Champion. I was completely in love with Fire Red and its story. This was around 2005, so I was about twelve years old.

I cared so much for my Charizard, Dragonair, and other Pokémon I had. Like a lot of ’90s kids, I remember watching the anime on TV and always remained biased that the first generation of Pokémon were the best. My little avatar was eventually so strong and I got super emotional when I finally managed to win the Pokemon league.

Because I didn’t have the wires or stuff to trade Pokémon, the last part of the game was inaccessible to me. If I can’t 100% a game for whatever reason, it always seems even more mysterious and exciting.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

I know I’m not alone on this one. Ocarina of Time is still the best Zelda game in my opinion. With a great story, an explorable world, really cool temples, this was another game I spent hours and hours of my childhood on this game, really cared about Epona, Saria, Malon, Zelda, Ruto and, of course, Link himself.

This was the first ever game I played and I still love love love it to this day.

3. Dragon Age: Origins

I have my brother to thank for introducing me to what was probably the best roleplaying fantasy game of the 2010s (though Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion comes a close second). As a teenager who loved fantasy (still do), I lost myself from the very beginning in the rich land of Fereldan and its story.

I love games where you create your own character (2000s-2010s Sims games, anyone?) and immediately chose to be a Dalish Elf. I, like many other girls around the world, fell in actual real love with Alistair, one of the characters, and changed my own character halfway through so that I could be a human noble and marry him at the end.

Though there are some quests that are a pain, the game is truly gorgeous with a rich story and unforgettable characters. I cared about Alistair more than I cared about a lot of real people and even now he makes me give a dreamy sigh. Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third of the DA series, is also absolutely fantastic, but Origins has that special place in my heart.

4. Fallout 3

I didn’t think Fallout 3 would really be my kind of game. I wasn’t keen on post-apocalyptic style games since I found them to be depressing. However, I gave it a try.

I could make my own character again! Similarly to Dragon Age, I could choose dialogue options and either be nice or cruel. I explored the world, completed missions, and saw a glimpse of what the world (or Washington DC, at least) could be like after a nuclear war. It was sobering as it was thrilling.

This game got me more interested in the united states and although I’m not American, I felt a sort of patriotic rush of sadness at the sight of the ruined city.

5. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

Another Pokémon game makes this list with Mystery Dungeon, which was released in 2005. I probably played it in around 2006 or 2007 on Game Boy Advance.

This game is unlike the usual “become a trainer, capture Pokémon, and become Champion” playthrough. In Mystery Dungeon you’re transformed into a Pokémon (which one you become depends on your answers to the quiz at the beginning) and you help out other Pokémon with problems like getting lost in caves or getting separated from their friends. The game has no human people in it at all and provides insight into a completely different side of the Pokémon world.

I got really attached to your best friend in the game, whom you are always with. He even stays by your side when you are blamed for something you didn’t do and you go through a lot together. I cried my eyes out at the end and thoroughly enjoyed the game and all the adventures you go through. I was 14 years old when I played it and it touched my heart.

6. Final Fantasy X-2

(Still one of the cooliest openings to any game, ever).

I had never played any Final Fantasy games before. We always had Nintendo consoles and didn’t get a PlayStation until what felt like way after everyone else. I remember my brother’s friend came over and played Final Fantasy X-2 and I was just besotted.

As an eleven-year-old, I thought the pretty, crazy-dressed fighter girls were the coolest I had ever seen. I particularly loved Paine, with her gothic-style look and giant sword. I hadn’t played X, so I didn’t know who Yuna was talking about when she mentioned Tidas from the first game. To me, he was mysterious and I wanted to know so much more about him. Yuna’s song 1000 Words still makes me cry.

This was before the time when I could just pull my phone out my pocket and search. I didn’t know who this man was or if Yuna would ever see him again. I was just the right age where I thought the three female characters were the coolest girls ever. It was something of a unique experience.

The game itself has horrible gameplay and awkward as hell animation but I think there are many people out there like me who think of FFX-2 as a guilty pleasure.

We all have memories we hold dear from our days of being kids. Whether it’s a memory of a place or person, TV show, movie, or game, we love to hold onto the unique feeling we got from the experience. Have you ever played a video game that changed your life?