I actually received this book from a giveaway I won in the recent months and honestly, it took me a while to read. I kept picking it up and putting it down. It’s called “Goodbye Days” by Jeff Zentner and I went in blind. I never heard of the book so I didn’t know what to expect really. Even when I finally decided to actually sit down and read it, it took me about two weeks! I don’t know if I’m in a reading slump or not but it has taken me longer than I normally would have to read this book. I will say, this book is a lot in terms of grief and dealing with death so if it’s a trigger for you, maybe you don’t want to pick this book up. If you want to learn more about it and then decide whether or not you want to read it, keep on reading this post and decide for yourself!
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One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts. The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions. Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend. Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?
I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It’s def sad. The way the author described the grief and anxiety he felt really made me feel seen. It’s weird. Like I identified with it as someone who has Anxiety and Depression and as someone who has lost loved ones very often in life. One part that stood out was when he described the dread he felt day in and day out. He said “Gray, desolate dread descends on me – a cloud of ash blocking the sun. A complete absence of light or warmth. A tangible, mold-scented obscurity. A revelation: I will never again experience happiness.” Y’all Iegit I was like STORY OF MY LIFE! It feels like nothing will never be okay ever again. Maybe it is Delores lying to us but that’s how it feels for me personally sometimes. Of course we have to move past it.
The thing about grief is that it never fully goes away. Yes time moves on and it slowly eases up but it still lingers. When you start forgetting somethings however I start to feel guilt. Like I forgot what my grandpa sounds like. I forget some events or things that reminds me of them. Just like Carver who experienced it, he said he didn’t know what memory was real or what memory was a dream. It sometimes be like that and you want to hold on to the person (or people) so badly.
For example, when Carver told his sister “I want to go to sleep and wake up a decade from now”, I felt that. I still do. I’m not where I thought I would be in life and sometimes I’m just tired of it all. I just want better or I want the life I thought I’d have.
I really loved how therapy was normalized, especially since it involved a male lead. Going to therapy and being prescribed meds can seem like such a taboo topic but its necessary. Think of how many lives can be saved if we talked about getting help more and more open and not only when someone dies. Get the help now. It doesn’t make you crazy at all! I’m glad Carver’s sister Georgia made him go instead of listening to him when he said he was fine when he really wasn’t. Heck he even thought to himself “This is not right. I’m not fine” at one point. I appreciated that. Carver had crippling anxiety due to the circumstances of all of his friends dying and having to feel the guilt that went along with it. The way it was described really made me feel like I was experiencing all those things with him. It could be
I know others that I’ve told that I’ve read this book said that the adults were annoying but I didn’t see it that way. Most of the parents involved has lost a child. When it’s perceived as caused by someone else’s negligence, there’s anger. There’s anger in grief anyway so their reaction were normal. The therapist did an exercise with him that actually seemed to help him (small spoiler). Usually in therapy you try different things to see what works. That’s normal. The Lawyer seemed like an average lower to me as well as the journalist.
I don’t hate it. Would I read it again? No. The only thing that annoyed me was how the boys talked with each other. They were gross lol. Other than that it’s a solid book.
I give this 3.5/5 stars. It’s so hard to say if I will recommend it others just because it’s such a heavy topic but maybe it will help someone.
Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Content/Trigger Warning: Grief, Death
Buy it here: Bookshop.org