Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lex’s world is shattered when her brother takes his own life. As she navigates the aftermath, her world crumbling around her, she must come to terms with the new life she has, without Tyler. Even when his ghost seems to haunt the house. Even when her own guilt is clawing at her.
Touching and sad, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is an emotional ride for all of the characters involved and the reader. It’s front and center, tugging at your gut, blurring your vision.
Lex is super smart, waiting on news if she got into MIT. She has a caring and true boyfriend. She has a loving mother but a troubled brother. And an absent father. But everything wonderful about Lex’s life comes crashing down when Ty kills himself. The result is a family completely torn and broken, each trying to grieve in their own way. Lex doesn’t even know what to do with herself at first, let alone how to grieve for her brother. A brother she loved.
And then she smells his cologne. She sees his shadow. Ty is still around, she thinks. Roaming around the house with unfinished business. She thinks that what begins is a journey for help to help Ty rest. But really it’s the beginning of her path towards forgiveness.
I don’t want to say too much about the book because I don’t want to give anything away. The writing is solid and immediately, the reader is plunged into this sad world where Lex’s formerly happy life is a distant memory. It’s told in flashbacks as she writes in her journal, remembering who she was and best about her brother. It’s so deeply sad and moving, I’m sure many will need tissues. It’s a very raw and emotional look at how grief touches a family as well as guilt and loss.
And how we come to terms with the new life presented to us, whether we wanted it or not.
In the notes, Hand confesses that her brother committed suicide when he was in high school. Which is why this book is so moving and authentic, because while it might not be based on her own experience, she obviously has raw experience to understand these characters like no one else.
Rating 8 Cookie Worthy