“Our memories of our loved ones are the pearl we form around the grain of grief that causes us pain.”
Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Anderson Press
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?
I think my rating for this is more of a 3.5.
Goodbye Days was a good book. There were loads of amazing aspects and parts of it: the supportive and emotional male friendships (which are a rarity in YA), the way that grief was explored and characterization was amazing.
It tells the story of a boy called Carver who (in a way) somewhat causes his friends death. This book is essentially Carver’s ‘journey’ through living with his grief, the impact it has on his mental health and how he has to learn to live in a world without his three best (and only) friends.
I think that the idea of a ‘Goodbye Day’ was what made this book. It could have fallen very flat, and although it did actually take a while to get to them when they did come, the Goodbye Days were intriguing if anything. They provided a way to both learn more about who had once been Carver’s best friends, while also seeing a wide spectrum of grief.
Carver as a character was slightly annoying if anything. I appreciated a lot of the things he said and did – and to me, he was a somewhat accurate representation of a teenager. However, at times, he did seem a bit pretentious and far fetched for me. I really liked his friendship with Jesmyn and what came later on – he really did grow as a character as the book went on.
I’d also just like to point out that I really don’t think there was any need for the extent that this book took suicide jokes. Of course, as a teenager myself, I know that loads of people do actually use them – it’s not uncommon. But there was literally no reason for them here to be completely honest.
Overall, I did quite enjoy this (it did make me tear up once or twice) but I think I just felt like there was something missing from the story. There could’ve been more but it just fell a little flat for me.