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Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering
Contemporary fiction

Bye, Baby

by Carola Lovering

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Quick take

Told in gripping alternating perspectives this tense tale follows the dissolution of a friendship when a baby vanishes.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MamaDrama

    Mama drama

Synopsis

Every friendship has its shadow…

On a brisk fall night in a New York apartment, 35-year-old Billie West hears terrified screams. It’s her lifelong best friend Cassie Barnwell, one floor above, and she’s just realized her infant daughter has gone missing. Billie is shaken as she looks down into her own arms to see the baby, remembering—with a jolt of fear—that she is responsible for the kidnapping that has instantly shattered Cassie’s world.

Once fiercely bonded by their secrets, Cassie and Billie have drifted apart in adulthood, no longer the inseparable pair they used to be in their small Hudson Valley hometown. Cassie is married to a wealthy man, has recently become a mother, and is building a following as a lifestyle influencer. She is desperate to leave her past behind—including Billie, who is single and childless, and no longer fits into her world. But Billie knows the worst thing Cassie has ever done, and she will do whatever it takes to restore their friendship…

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Content warning

This book contains scenes that depict sexual assault.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Bye, Baby.
Bye, Baby

Prologue

October 13, 2023

The baby stops fussing, settling into my arms like a sleepy puppy. The soft weight of her. Her lips pucker, then relax, her little chest rising and falling almost to the rhythm of my own. She is back to sleep, her face peaceful as a porcelain doll’s. That wasn’t hard.

The living room window is open; fevered voices carry in from the terrace of the apartment above. Commotion. Mania. I shouldn’t be surprised.

I recognize the sound of Cassie’s screaming, obviously—I’ve heard her scream dozens of times. Horror movies (she love-hates them); the afternoon we picnicked upstate and she got stung by a whole swarm of bees; the time in high school when she walked in on her ex-boyfriend Kyle and our semi-friend Ashton, manically fucking in her basement during a party. Manically fucking was the way Cassie described it afterward, so that’s how I remember it.

Anyway, Cassie is screaming now the way she did then—except even more psychotically this time, and who can blame her? Her baby is gone.

I picture her one story up, her blue eyes swimming with tears, already swollen even though it’s only been fifteen minutes since Ella went missing. Five since anyone noticed.

In the midst of Cassie’s wailing, I hear her friends banding together. I recognize Ava’s voice, McKay’s. I don’t know the others’ voices by heart, but some of them sound familiar, probably from Cassie’s Instagram stories. Evelyn, maybe Blake? The one who speaks with an upward inflection.

“I just called the cops,” someone says.

“Hold on, where’s Grant?” It’s McKay, panicked. “Someone get him. Someone get Grant!”

“No,” says Cassie, and I hear her sniffle. Eight stories below, there’s a series of violent honking. A siren blares, a high-pitched wailing that climbs into windows and bounces off buildings. Part of the soundtrack of the city.

“Billie,” she says, and I freeze. “I need Billie.”

“Billie? Why?” McKay is the one challenging this statement. Of course. Dumb bitch.

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Why I love it

I recently had dinner with my best friend from college, who I hadn’t seen in years. After our first glass of wine, we were laughing as we reminisced about sneaking out of her parents’ house to smoke cigarettes. By our second, we were in tears; her mother had recently passed away. When we finished our third, we were planning our next date. As we hugged goodbye, I inhaled her familiar spicy scent and wondered why we’d drifted apart. It seems too simple to say that I’d married and had children earlier, while she continued to date cute guys and rise through the ranks at work. And yet looking back, as with many friendships, I suppose there was jealousy and loneliness on both sides.

Enter Bye, Baby. Here Carola Lovering takes an unflinching look at the fragility and dangers of female friendships.

Billie and Cassie were once BFFs, fiercely bound by childhood secrets. However, now in their mid-30s, Cassie—a married new mother and lifestyle influencer—is eager to leave everything in her past behind, including Billie. But Billie, a single, childless travel consultant, still believes they have a special connection and will do anything to restore it.

Told in alternating perspectives, Bye, Baby travels back in time to unspool the complicated dynamics between these two women, and then forward again to explore the aftershocks of a split-second decision that threatens to destroy them both. I found it all totally riveting!

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Member ratings (816)

  • Melissa G.

    Jackson, NJ

    I love the way that lovering does relationships! Reminded me of tell me lies but about a toxic friendship!Finished this book in under 24 hours, and was hooked from the very first page! Def recommend!

  • Jamie N.

    Red Oak, IA

    I went into reading this book thinking that it was a thriller which it is not and that's okay cuz there were moments where my heart was pumping and it kept me intrigued and I enjoyed the relationships

  • Annie P.

    Louisville, KY

    A very toxic friendship story told in dual POV. I enjoyed the social media obsessions, past timeline, and understanding these woman’s complicated web. Anxiety inducing for sure- but great story!

  • Linda M.

    Huntsville, AL

    This author writes books to keep you turning the pages. This one is no exception. Best friends become estranged. One wants that friendship back. The other thinks she’s too good. Grab this one.

  • Brittany L.

    West Babylon, NY

    both women grow to live completely different lives and it had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the balance in this friendship to finally tip over the edge. and baby the fallout was worth it.

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