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He Forgot to Say Goodbye

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  540 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
On the surface, Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove couldn’t live more different lives. Ram is Mexican-American, lives in the poor section of town, and is doing his best to keep his mother sane while his brother fights off a drug-induced coma. Jake is a WASP who drives a nice car, lives in a mansion, and has a mother who drinks a bit too much and a step-father who cheats on h ...more
Paperback, 321 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published June 17th 1998)
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Mar 16, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it
He Forgot to Say Goodbye is a contemporary novel about friendship, relationships and self-discovery.

Ramiro Lopez lives in El Paso, Texas. He goes to a pre-med magnet high school. But it’s not the sort of school where nice white rich kids go. They go to the school next door. Jake Upthegrove is one of the nice rich kids but he’s anything but happy.

I read this book because I really enjoyed another book by the author - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. They share many similar
Benjamin Alire Saenz is quickly becoming my favorite YA contemporary author. Easily my Top 3. Ever since discovering "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" a year or two ago, all I could ever think about is how true his writing is to the real world.

I cannot really say which one of his books made a deeper impact: "Aristotle and Dante" did because it focuses on sexuality and bullying, whereas "He Forgot to Say Goodbye" focuses more on the family dynamic, but at a much deeper le
Aug 03, 2008 mia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
i snagged this book before we put it out on our new ya shelf. i loved Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood. it was a beautiful book. and this is right up there with it. his writing is so real and doesn't really hide from anything. he's very stylistic. he is "a cool cat." i also love reading bits of culture that aren't my own. kids could identify with this book, with the feelings of loneliness and perseverance they have to eventually come to. it was an amazing book. really "effen" beautiful, it "comp ...more
Hawraa Naqi
Aug 29, 2015 Hawraa Naqi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Jake Upthegrove.
May 31, 2015 Ebba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up from my local library because I adored Benjamin Alire Sáenz' other novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, so much. I had high expectations going into this book and oh my, I wasn't dissapointed.

This is about two boys from very different backgrounds that both have grown up without their father. The characters where the absolute best part of this book for me. We meet Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegroove, which are probably two of the most relatable teenage ch
He Forgot to Say Goodbye is a story of Jake and Ram, two teenagers with seemingly different lives who have one thing in common- their fathers left them. The story is told through monologues that,at times, get repetitive when Saenz would recall describe the same scene twice through each characters' point of view. I thought the characters were too contrived, especially Jake. The language the characters used was forced- "effen", "cool cat", "dig it", and worst of all "destroy." Unfortunately, the o ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenfiction
Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove are the same age and attend school in adjacent buildings, but other than that, they don’t have much in common. So why do the two become cautious friends? Well, they both think almost everything that goes wrong in their lives has to do with their absent fathers.

This was an amazing and moving book. It definitely reads more on the “adult” end of “young adult” and it would take a dedicated reader. There isn’t a lot of action to the story, but it’s beautifully told. T
Justine Collard
Mar 04, 2016 Justine Collard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Alire Sáenz did it again! After I finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a while back, I decided I need to read more of Saenz's books. This second read did not disappointed.

"He Forgot to Say Goodbye" is about two teenage boys: Ramiro Lopez, a lower-class Mexican American who struggles to fit in, with a little brother that's slowly spiraling into the world of addiction and Jake Upthegrove, a so-called rich kid with anger management issues and a shallow mother h
Aug 17, 2008 Karlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author of Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood tells the story of Ram, a Mexican American teen, and Jake, a student in an honors school, who meet and form a surprising friendship. Both boys are fatherless and feel incomplete.
May 11, 2015 Katelynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
i special ordered this in because i love this author so much but it was a swing and a miss on every level. it pains me to give this one star, but there was nothing about it that worked. characters, relationships, dialogue, prose, plot, pace, resolution - nothing. it felt like it was written by a twelve year old. it was filled with lines like this:

When the cell phone rang, it scared me. I flinched. You know, like when you're startled. Like when you think someone's going to hit you. It's not your
Oct 30, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing
This story was very interesting for me. It depicted the lives of two boys, Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove, who learn how to grow up without a father. At first, it seems that neither no how to cope with this situation. They feel that their lives are horrible because their father's never wanted them. They felt that being abandoned was the worst thing possible. With the help of their friends and each other, they learn that life goes on. It's not always easy to keep on living, but they understand ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

He Forgot To Say Goodbye is the story of Jake Upthegrove and Ramiro Lopez, two boys from different sides of El Paso who have one thing in common: both of their fathers walked out on them early in life.

I “effen” loved this novel. It is one of my favorite novels that has been required so far for my Young Adult Materials class. The novel alternates between Ram and Jake’s points of view, something which I usually don’t like novels to do, but I thought that Saenz was able to do this very skillfully.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by hoopsielv for

This a novel about two young men. They seem to be opposites in many ways, yet they have in common the fact that they have never known their fathers.

Jake has had a very privileged upbringing. He really couldn't ask for more. Well, except for a father. His mom is remarried and her job is to make sure that she knows everything that's going on with Jake. It's to the point where it drives him crazy and they are constantly battling each other.

Ramiro has been
Mar 25, 2009 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, book-eval-book
Two boys from different sides of El Paso, Texas are both growing up without their fathers, Ramiro Lopez from Dizzyland, the poor Latino part of town, and Jacob Upthegrove from the Oh Wow Westside, the wealthy side of town. In alternating, often very short chapters, Ram and Jake describe their lives and how they slowly become friends. Each boy is dealing with family issues although in comparison to Ram, Jake’s seem superficial. Ram’s brother is in the hospital after overdosing on drugs and is bra ...more
Jun 14, 2011 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jake Upthegrove and Ramiro Lopez grew up without their fathers. They come from different backgrounds, but bond over the same adolescent related angst. Jake’s life is characterized by Anglo middle class problems, while Ramiro faces tougher challenges that accompany poverty and being a minority.
Jake has issues with his mother, and he enjoys pushing her buttons. Jake’s mom, “Sally”, as he calls her, isn’t portrayed as a very strong individual. She turns back when her housekeeper approaches her abou
Nov 16, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults
This book is easily one of my favorite YA novels ever. I was shocked by how awesome it was because I could not get into Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood yet this was a really amazing read. The best thing about the writing was the voice. Benjamin Alire Saenz told a fantastic story through the eyes of two truly likable strangers whose lives come together in a strange way. The characters' honest but witty storytelling is what carries the whole plot and made this such a page-turner for me.

The charac
Lucero Fuentes
May 31, 2012 Lucero Fuentes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove don't appear to have much in common. Ram lives in the Mexican-American working-class barrio of El Paso called "Dizzy Land." His brother is sinking into a world of drugs.Jake is a rich West Side white boy who has developed a problem managing his anger. An only child, he is a misfit in his mother's shallow and materialistic world. But Ram and Jake do have one thing in common: They are lost boys who have never met their fathers. This sad fact has left both of them u ...more
Shelley Mastalerz
Ramiro Lopez lives with his hard working single mother and his younger brother, Tito, in Dizzy Land, the part of El Paso where working class Mexican Americans make their home. Ram is a quiet guy that keeps to himself; he doesn’t have a lot and life isn’t easy, but he lives it the best he knows how. However, life gets harder when Tito ends up in the hospital due to a drug overdose.

Jacob Upthegrove lives with his mother and stepfather on the “Oh Wow West Side” of El Paso in a house that contains
Shadia S.
Jul 08, 2013 Shadia S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Independent Reading Book:

I picked this book up at a Young Adult Literature conference last year, but I hadn’t taken the opportunity to read it until two weeks ago. Although the novel is realistic fiction, the intimate perspectives of the two main characters Ramiro and Jake are convincing as they express their struggles to live in a world without their fathers. Although the two boys come from ‘different worlds’, Benjamin Sáenz shows us the universal emotional struggles (and consequential repercus
Vamos a Leer
Aug 12, 2015 Vamos a Leer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve yet to read a Sáenz novel that doesn’t elicit strong emotions. I found myself laughing out loud at some parts and crying at others. On the surface it may sound very similar to Sáenz's most recent YA novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but the two novels actually share few similarities (other than the wonderful writing). It’s a contemporary coming-of-age novel about two very different young men who have one pivotal thing in common: fathers who left and never seem ...more
Adriana Espada leyton
it was amazing! i really love Jake, Ram, and Alejandra! i definitely want to reread it xD
Megan Perry
Mar 25, 2014 Megan Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sent me into a constant emotional turmoil. Everything Saenz said was so deep and philosophical, but he managed to write it in a way that was easy to understand and follow and love and believe is coming from a teenager's point of view. It's pure magic (in a tragic way).
Sep 24, 2014 Brianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this was probably the most epiliptic book i've ever read. Sad, but honestly, i think it would be hard to feel sad for some of the people in this book. A lot of people have divorced parents, so pointing out a few is kind of self-centered in reality.
Either way, it is very well written aside from the repetitive frases in the book. Old ones, at that.
I think it could have been better if the story had gripped to one character. Switching made it hard to keep up with. Though, i liked the plo
The book I've read is called "He forgot to say goodbye" by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It's about two different boys who is dealing with the same problem:fatherless. Ram is one of the boys. His younger brother is having a problem with violence and drugs and Jake, the other boy, must deal with his annoying mom and stepdad. What I like about this book is that it shows what happens when you do an overdose on drugs. Makes you really think about the consequence. Also, this book is really deep because both ...more
Jurri Saddler
Jan 23, 2015 Jurri Saddler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a book that delivers lines such as, "my achin elbow"-a line my niece and nephew loved- one can't helped be be "destroyed" by it. Unique slang aside, Benjamin Alire Saenz does it again by composing a book that really moves the reader. Although, this book did seem a little slow to me at first, I can't get over how well developed the three main characters were. It was like the reader truly got to know them which, in my opinion, is a characteristic of a truly great book. There is a line in the ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read He Forgot To Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Saenz because I’d read and loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. There’s not really any other reason why I’d be interested in a story about two teenage boys dealing with life in the absence of their fathers. But Aristotle and Dante is, to this day, one of the best books I have ever read and probably my favorite book, so I figured that another book by the same author would be at least good.

Spoiler alert: it was great.

He F
Elena Von
May 10, 2015 Isis rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-physical, 2015
Saenz is one of my favorite authors. He crafts his stories with heart. His words convey so much. I adore his writing. But I won't be biased in my review.

He Forgot To Say Goodbye follows two boys, Jake Upthegrove and Ramiro Lopez. They have one thing in common: they grew up without their fathers. This book deals with family issues, drugs, depression, and friendship. It's always emotionally draining to jump into one of Saenz's stories because they feel so real, and relatable.

In here, Saenz portr
If you know me at all, you know that Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my favorite books, if not my favorite book. With that in mind, I’ve slowly been reading the rest of his works, and He Forget to Say Goodbye was up first. While it definitely was not as strong as Aristotle and Dante, the writing was just as beautiful. Saenz is just great with word choice–it’s always simple, but there’s always something beautiful in the simplicity. I got sucked into the ...more
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when ramiro goes to school 1 11 Jun 24, 2009 02:56PM  
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Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humaniti
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“Some boys... Are perfect shits. & other boys are very, very beautiful.” 17 likes
“The problem with parents is that they're adults.” 9 likes
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