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The Last Time We Say Goodbye

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There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

386 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2015

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About the author

Cynthia Hand

26 books9,518 followers
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, MY CALAMITY JANE, MY CONTRARY MARY, and MY IMAGINARY MARY (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, THE HOW AND THE WHY, WITH YOU ALL THE WAY, and the upcoming TIMELESS and MY SALTY MARY (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,404 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,573 reviews33.9k followers
May 1, 2015
One of the most beautiful parts of the Unearthly trilogy was seeing how Cynthia Hand wrote about grief. Reading this novel is an incredibly painful experience, particularly if suicide has touched your life in a significant way, but I wouldn't trade this book, with all its blurry, unfinished truths and messy, gut-wrenching feeling, for a thousand more showy, "clever" stories on the same topic.

A simple, emotional tribute to those who leave us all too soon. And a small reassurance to the rest of us that we're not alone in our sorrow. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,036 followers
June 11, 2015


Let me tell you whahahappen. Whahahappen wuz, I was on a public transport on the way back home from outta town when I finished this book. When I tell you I was bawling my eyes out in that minibus, I was bawling my fucking eyes out in that goddamn minibus, gurl. I swear to god.

Okay, so, here's the thing. I've kinda been avoiding contemporary YA because, even though I haven't read many of the new stuff, there seems to be a common thing going on where authors are exploring death in a kinda quirky, lyrical type of way, mixing it in with surrealism and wit and charm and whatnot. You could argue that that's been a part of contemporary YA for a long while, but I feel like The Fault in Our Stars really ignited it into what it is now. When I read contemporary YA, I want something real. That's kinda the whole point. I love fantasy YA, of course; it's all I've read in the past several months. But with contemporary I don't want anything that's all whymsical and shit. I want straight up raw realism. I know that once upon a time, I gave TFiOS five stars, but I don't doubt that my opinion would change if I reread it. Which I won't, cause I just don't feel like it. I only reread books when they're a series, and I need to catch up on what happened so I can finish said series.

Anyways, I digress. So yeah, I've been carefully avoiding contemporary YA because I didn't like the whole whymsical approach towards death type thing that's been going on nowadays. I also didn't like how it was too romance-centric. I'm going to tell you right now that this was exactly the YA contemp book I needed. Exactly.

I don't know what it is about Cynthia Hand, but I've felt it ever since I finished her wonderful Unearthly series. She has this uncanny ability to make me feel so much for the characters she creates. She's able to deal with dark topics like death in an emotional way while still adding a certain lighthearted charm to it. There's no way of me saying this without sounding cheesy as fuck but there's a certain quality to her writing that's just so goddamn lovable and warm, at least to me. The way she depicted grief in this book really struck me. Even though I've never experienced that deep of a loss myself--at least not yet--I still felt for Alexis. I still could relate to her because she saw the logic in everything, and she was strong but still vulnerable at the same time.

I just loved the direction this book went. It threw away the cliches, and the few cliches that are in it, the book knows these things are cliches, if that makes any sense. And what I loved the most was, hands down, that it didn't focus on the romance . I want to shout that from mountaintops everywhere. So many YA books about death have focused on how the main character finds a boy/girl who's enigmatic and helps them appreciate life or whatever the fuck else cliche thing you can think of, but this book genuinely focuses on Alexis's grief over losing her brother in such a way. The romance is just something on the side, but it still somehow plays a big part and it wraps up beautifully.

In my personal opinion, this will be going on my best reads of 2015 when the year wraps up. And I know that if I ever experience a devastating loss, I may reflect back on this book because of how it impacted me. Cynthia Hand has somehow made an even more emotional book than the Unearthly series put together, and for that, I give her tons of kudos.
Profile Image for Cynthia Hand.
Author 26 books9,518 followers
September 6, 2014
UPDATE 9-6-14
I have ARCs! Please don't email me asking for them (ask my publisher, instead), but stay tuned for a few contests where I will be giving them away.


UPDATE 6-25-14

It's here! The cover and the description were revealed today! Check it out!!!

UPDATE 6-2-14

Soon, very soon, people, there will be jacket copy, an official cover, and ARCs. The cover is amazing and I love it. Squee!

Also, a tentative release date of Feb 8, 2015, which makes sense because the book's first scene is in the first week of February.

Another update soon to come!


UPDATE 1-20-14

Okay people I can tell you a title. Woot. There's no official date yet (although I am guessing early winter 2015) and no official cover (although they are working on something SO COOL) but I will give you the title. You had it here first.

The title is:


Now I must go back to revising it.



(old news below)

Just signed the contract for this book this week! It will be out Winter 2015, and it's a YA contemporary stand-alone. I can't wait until I get to tell you the title and what it's about.

Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
June 9, 2017
I’m torn in two equal parts. I loved and hated it in equal measures. I’m enlightened but I’m still confused and now I don’t know what to do with myself let alone this review. So I’ll probably just rant away to my heart’s content and hopefully by the end of this review, I’ll be more stable.

I appreciate that an author for once decided to focus on a sister grieving over her brother who killed himself and I believe Ms. Cynthia Hand was able to realistically portray this. It works because the story is in Lexie’s POV as she narrates her grieving process and at the same time confesses her inner thoughts in her journal as a requirement of her therapist.

The matter of fact approach makes the story very genuine and I find Lexie very relatable. I love that she’s a math wizard, a really cool geek and I love that her humor is still very much intact in spite of grief. The mysterious elements throughout the novel also kept me intrigued and eager to finish the book.

In the end, I was able to fully grasp the intention of the novel and that is to emphasize that nobody can be blamed over a suicide except for the person who committed it and I’m very glad for Lexie when she finally comes to terms with her brother’s decision and ultimately reconnect with her family, her friends, her boyfriend and especially with herself through this unexpected plot twist.

You can simply stop reading here. I actually encourage you to do that.

Oh wow! You decided to read on. Thank you but good luck!

Why I hated the book (and I know I’m being unfair but well life is unfair, right?) is because it led me to the conclusion that there are no specific symptoms we could detect to determine a suicidal person. Suicide victims vary in their manifestations. Some show obvious signs. Some just don’t and I hated this information presented in the book especially on the increasing suicide rates among teens. I hated that all these things were just thrown out there and I hated that particular part of the plot where suicide seemed to become an easy alternative to solving any teenage problem. I hated that it appears to be something that can be contagious, something to be envied and “emulated”.

 Depression=Suicide
 Failed Exam=Suicide
 Victim of Bullying=Suicide
 Broken Family=Suicide
 Broken Heart=Suicide
 Dare/trend/whim=Suicide
 Needs attention=Suicide

And I know these are facts but what was I supposed to do with this information when seemingly, in the end, it’s still the person’s decision and there could have been nothing to be done to help him change his mind. This gloriously sucks! It makes me want to punch someone and I know the book focuses on the person’s grief but I couldn’t help it because the plot inevitably touched these matters.

Phew! That helped. I’m feeling a lot better now. Ultimately, the only thing we can do is to be the best person we could be every chance we get with people who matter to us. It may or may not change their decision but it’s all we could really do because after all, we never know when it’s the last time we say goodbye.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews294k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 30, 2015
I agree with Tatiana. This book is just so dull. It's hard to string together a few sentences of comments about it. The thing about The Last Time We Say Goodbye is that it's yet another teen issue book about suicide, but the characters are forgettable and the narrative feels flat and lifeless.

You might have more luck with it if you haven't already read a bunch of YA books about suicide/death.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
February 17, 2016
I enjoyed this book! The characters were very fleshed out and I especially liked Lex and the way her mind worked in the aftermath of this tragedy. It didn't linger on the pain, yet it was a reminder of how deeply death can affect a family. And despite how I generally liked how this book panned out, it was just a bit too generic for me. Every suicide book has turned into a "this person left clues behind when he/she died!" and it kind of glamorized the death a bit, which I find distasteful. Other than that, and other than how the evolution of the characters was pretty predictable, it was still an enjoyable read that had me shed a tear or two in the privacy of my darkened room at 1:30 AM.
Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,302 followers
September 22, 2018
Wonderfully written and absolutely touching!

Do you know the feeling you get while and after you hold your breath for long? How time seems to stop for a while, how your heart beats faster and faster, how sharp everything becomes after the fuzziness washes over?

This is how this book feels like.
And it is wonderful, and dangerously heartbreaking.

There is nothing in this world quite like the feeling of true happiness, or deep sadness, or shattering grief. There is nothing like the words that can really get to you, or the stories that you feel like wanting to take them into your arms, hugging them breathless and never wanting to let them go.

There is nothing quite like reading a book that makes you laugh - a true, deep laugh from the very center of your being.. Or the ones that can shatter you into thousands of pieces, leaving you with a mind full of what ifs.

“The Last Time We Say Goodbye” is a sad book. A beautiful, wonderful story about grief, about the pain of losing someone dear, about all the things you could have done to keep your loved ones safe. And I hate sad books. I really do. They can make my eyes leak this stupid warm, salty water, running down my face. And if not, they still make my heart ache.

But there’s beauty in them too, isn’t it?

In the fact that without being ‘hopeless’ you wouldn’t ever know what ‘hopeful’ feels like. In the fact that words have the power to create – to create emotions, to create new worlds and make you into new people. Words have the power to shut down the world around you or to make you really see it. Words can be as powerful as regrets.

So, you know.. Sad books are not for sad people.
But maybe they are, because there is so much beauty in this world, so much love, so much everything, that people should NEVER be this sad.

I knew Cynthia can write about grief with a passion, I loved Hallowed the best because of that, but I think I might not do grief that well these days. I hate death, I hate feeling scared of it, I hate the people that have died in my life and have left me with this hollow in my heart that I can’t seem to be able to fill even years later.

But the truth is that this story is wonderful, it is filled with sorrow but it also has moments of happiness, of cuteness. It is bitter-sweet in a way that breaks your heart and some times puts it back together.

This is not a story about death, as much as one about forgiveness – Alexis (or Lex) needs to forgive her father for walking away, her mother for being so weak, her ex-boyfriend for giving her everything, her friends for feeling her despair, her brother for being so selfishly depressed, herself for not being there to save him. And she feels like she needs forgiveness to… For all the words left unspoken, for all the things that she could have done, for all the life her brother could have lived, for all the tears that have dried up.

The cover-art is perfect, the tagline hits a soft spot, the title is spot on, the story inside is beautiful. I think that every detail is perfect. Even perfectly sad. All in one this book here is absolutely great, not only for fans of Cynthia Hand, but for everyone who likes to read emotional stories.

* ARC received from the publisher for review.
** Full review can be found at: Reading After Midnight.


Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin' | Blog (RO)
Profile Image for Victor.
255 reviews4,553 followers
July 16, 2016
Tem um caroço na minha garganta. Quero deitar no chão abraçado com esse livro e ficar ali.

Amei essa leitura, acho que ficou claro, né? Me surpreendi com a rapidez e o dinamismo do livro, mas o que mais me deixou preso e encantando foi a percepção e a vulnerabilidade da autora. O domínio das palavras. A sinceridade e a sua verdade crua. Eu estou apaixonado pelos personagens, eu estive de luto com eles, eu cresci junto a eles ao longo da jornada, eu vivi cada palavra. É um livro lindo.

A temática de suicídio e todo processo de luto e cura foi abordado aqui de uma forma muito real, emocionante e valorosa. Não foi escrito pra te entreter e emocionar, foi escrito pra gritar essas palavras na sua cara. É uma leitura indispensável.

Sendo um pouco técnico, só tenho a dizer que amei a narrativa, a sucessão dos acontecimentos, a relação dos personagens, a ambientação... tudo. É um livro muito gostoso de ler, apesar de te deixar com uma dor no coração ao acabar. Alguns chamam de sensibilidade, eu chamo de arte.
Profile Image for Ai Haibara.
46 reviews37 followers
March 29, 2015
The Last Time We Say Goodbye



2015? REALLY?!




OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG Cynthia Hand has a new book coming out!


[image error]




But it'll be released in 2014!!




Give me a title...a cover...a blurb...ANYTHING!

Profile Image for  ⊱ Sonja ⊰ ❤️.
2,280 reviews408 followers
May 25, 2023
Lexie ist 19 Jahre alt und steht kurz vor ihrem ersten Studienjahr. Seit sechs Monaten ist sie mit Steven zusammen, und eigentlich könnte es nicht schöner sein. Doch dann passiert das Unfassbare: Lexies 17 Jahre alter Bruder Tyler begeht Selbstmord! Lexies Welt bricht auseinander. Nun muss sie zusehen, wie sie diesen großen Verlust verarbeiten kann und die Trauer bewältigt...
Mein Leseeindruck:
Ich muss gestehen, dass ich ein wenig gebraucht habe, mich einzulesen bzw. mich auf die Geschichte von Lexie einzulassen. Vielleicht liegt es am Schreibstil. Der ist durchaus gut und angenehm, aber doch - für mich - gewöhnungsbedürftig.
Die Geschichte wird aus Lexies Sicht erzählt. Dabei gibt es auch immer wieder Rückblicke - meist in Tagebuchform. So erfährt der Leser nach und nach, was für ein Mensch Tyler war und wie es letztendlich zum Selbstmord gekommen ist.
Obwohl das Thema sehr traurig ist, konnte mich die Geschichte zunächst noch nicht wirklich berühren. Das hat sich dann aber geändert, und auf den letzten Seiten hat es mich wirklich gepackt und mein Herz berührt.
Ich habe das Buch sehr gerne gelesen. Es hat mir Freude gemacht und mir schöne Lesestunden geschenkt. Auch denke ich, dass die Geschichte von Lexie und Tyler mir noch lange im Kopf bleiben wird. Sie hat mich sehr nachdenklich gemacht. Auf jeden Fall werde ich das Buch gerne weiterempfehlen!
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
February 15, 2015
Brilliant and heartbreaking!

All of us know Cynthia Hand because of her brilliant Unearthly trilogy - my favorite paranormal young adult series about angels. It came as a surprise when I saw that her new novel will be more on realistic side.Truth to be told, I was worried because I ended up disappointed with several authors who took turn from paranormal to realistic fiction. But this is Cynthia Hand, so shouldn't have any doubts from the start. The Last Time We Say Goodbye deserves more than five stars.

Not the easiest book to read. I finished The Last Time We Say Goodbye at three in the morning and I just sat there in my bed, completely wrecked, fighting with the urge to go into the next room, wake up my sister and tell her how much I love her and how happy I am that I have her and that I'm sorry for every time I hurt her feelings. I don't remember the last time a book made me cry - this was such an emotional and heartbreaking story about love and loss. Letting go and forgiving are two hardest things to do, especially if the person we need to forgive is ourselves.

Told from the perspective of a girl whose brother committed a suicide, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is at the same time story about those who were left behind and a boy who took his own life. Don't expect some magical romance that will make everything better for Lex and help her to move on. Lex has to find way to deal with things on her own and that is exactly what she does, everything is focused on her inner struggles and interaction with her friends who don't know how to get to her.

This is not autobiographic novel. That is something that Cynthia Hand points out in the note at end of the book, but it probably wasn't easy for her to write about something like this. I just want to say thank you for writing it.

Final judgement? Heartfelt, deep and beautiful young adult novel that will make you appreciate your siblings more and feel pain for those who lost them. Absolute must-read!

Happy reading,
Profile Image for Celine.
240 reviews127 followers
January 21, 2015
Years ago, I walked into school and something was different. I was, as usual, a bit early for my classes (I like being on time) and slowly walked to the stairwell, my thoughts already with today’s lessons and my friends and the ridiculous amount of homework I still had to do. But the moment I left the lockers and walked into the hall, I knew something was different. There were only a few fellow students in that hall, and some teachers, wearing grave faces. The atmosphere was different, as though the entire school was holding its breath. The teachers escorted us to the auditorium, still with that grave expression. I saw a picture in someone’s hand.

My first thought was: oh no. Who died? My entire body felt numb, all my thoughts focused on that one question. Who died? I looked at a teacher, who was clutching the photograph tightly. I still remember that moment, like a snapshot, even though it’s years ago. I have no idea who that teacher was, but I remember that picture clearly. It felt strange to me, getting that call and then having to deal with the logistics like printing out photographs, figuring out how to break the news to the students, when those things are probably the last things on your mind.

The person that died was a boy, in his last year of high school. He had a little sister. She was in the same year as I was. All the students sat down in the auditorium, and it was the quietest I’d ever heard a room full of people. We were then told that this boy had flung himself in front of a train the day before.

My best friend’s father has a job at the railways. This is something that occurs almost daily.

The father of a boy I knew hung himself in his own home.

I remember trying to hold back my tears when I heard that, and I remember people asking me if I was okay. I told them that this was not about me. I couldn’t imagine what it must have felt like for them. The boy, his little brother.

The sister, her parents.

I still can’t fully imagine, and I hope to never experience it.

But Cynthia Hand has shared that experience with us, and it hurt. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is not about the phone call, not about the terrible shock, not about the funeral. It’s about the months after, when everyone else seems to move on with their lives but you can’t. It’s about the little things that remind you of that person, about the gaping hole in your chest that starts to unravel more every day. It’s not about “moving on”, but it is about learning to live with it.

I knew next to nothing about The Last Time We Say Goodbye going in, except that it was written by Cynthia Hand and therefore I had to read it. She is the author of the Unearthly series after all, which I loved. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say The Last Time We Say Goodbye is most alike Hallowed, because both books are essentially about grief.

Alexis’ brother Tyler shot himself. In The Last Time We Say Goodbye we see her try to move on, try to make sense of it all, go through all the emotions that accompany loss. Hurt, confusion, self-doubt, guilt, terrible sadness, anger. She slowly grows throughout the novel, slowly starts to accept that this is her reality now, and very, very slowly begins the healing process. She’s seeing a therapist, and gets the assignment to write about her brother. Not his death, but his life. The book is told in alternatively Alexis’ point of view and the things she writes down, which read almost like a diary entry and contains a whole story of its own. We get to experience her memories of Tyler: the happy ones, the sad ones.

There are a lot of things in The Last Time We Say Goodbye that I love and wholeheartedly approve of: the strong family relationships, for one. Alexis’ parents are definitely not absent during the novel. Her parents are divorced and Alexis lives with her mom, and we get to see two grieving processes at the same time: one from a mother, the other from a sister. But even though the relationship between Alexis and her dad isn’t very good, he is still present in the novel. We get to see flashes of his grief and his love for Alexis, even when she feels very hateful toward him. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is not just about grief, but also about family.

Normally I would write extensively about the characters, the positive way Alexis’ therapist is portrayed, and Hand’s beautiful writing style, which really allows the reader to connect with and feel for Alexis. But the truth is, I’m pretty much out of words. I think this is a very important book for both readers who haven’t experienced anything like this and those who have. I have a feeling it may be very easy to connect with and to show that you aren’t alone in your experiences. In the end, I simply love this emotional and heartfelt story and I’ll be eagerly awaiting Hand’s next novel.

~Thank you, HarperTeen, for the review copy~
589 reviews1,031 followers
February 3, 2015
A lot of crying was involved.

That actually might be an understatement.

You know what else made me want to cry an ocean? Celine's review. And you all should check it out because it's wonderful and she summarises the beauty of this book so perfectly: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

It may only be January but I'm so incredibly sure that this is making my Top 10 books of 2015. It tore me apart, this book, with it's perfect blend of numbing words and tangible pain. I know I'm buying myself a hardback of this when it finally releases just so I can cuddle with it and bookmark all my favourite bits. (Though let's be honest, that would just be bookmarking every page.)
Profile Image for Masooma.
69 reviews131 followers
December 27, 2015
2.5 stars

My first reaction when I turned the final page:


This book is a bag of cliches, has a down-in-the-doldrums heroine and the mainstream story dealing with death and depression.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is the story of Alexis Riggs who has lost her younger brother to suicide, the plot is set around her struggle against the darkness that diffuses all around her after her brother pops his clogs and her idea that she is somewhat blameworthy in Tyler's suicide. Side by side, Alexis's love story also spills with a record of her childhood memories. Twin themes of forgiveness and acceptance also tag along.

The protagonist is pretty cliché. She follows the tradition of such novels having heroines who have their interests embedded in a particular subject, have parents with nil interest in their children's mental health, have a therapist; who they slowly realize is right and one way or the other crawl out of the black hole of their black-out.


In Alexis's case, she's a math maniac, her therapist is Dave who recommends she writes in a journal to vent out her feelings and her mother just washes down her pain with the aid of valium and alcohol and her father's role is mostly useless.

The writing style is light, slightly peppered with humor and served with mathematical facts.

Having said all this, there is one factor that needs attention viz; the emotions are described pretty strongly in a few scenes which earns a badge of credit to the novel.

To sum up, in a mathematical equation:

bog-standard story + hackneyed character = average read.
Profile Image for Cara.
267 reviews191 followers
August 8, 2022
WOW JUST WOW!!!! I don't even know what to say, this book was so beautiful. My heart has officially been shredded to pieces again. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand was one of those heart tugging stories that I just couldn't put down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. If you do decide to read this amazing story, which I highly recommend you do, please check for TW's because there is suicide, blood, and grief. Even though these characters weren't real, this story truly resonates with mental health in today's world. I appreciate the author's note at the end and how she talked about that she lost her own brother. I had a lump in my throat the entire time. Even people who always seem like their always happy, with smiles on their faces may also be the ones who are struggling, please, please, please check in on your friends and family from time to time, you never know what someone else is going through.

"I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers".

Lexie lost her brother, Tyler to suicide. Lexie always had a happy family, friends that she adored that didn't look at her like she might breakdown at any given moment, a boyfriend she loved, but that was before everything went downhill. Lexie always thought her brother, Ty was a happy person, until one day he decided he had to end his life because he wasn't happy anymore. Ty had three best friends, a family he loved, a girlfriend that he never wanted to hurt. When Lexie and Ty were in their preteen years, they learned that their father was having an affair and that he was moving out. After that, Ty felt like maybe he should pay his father back for destroying his life. Even though this story wasn't real, the characters weren't real it still broke my heart. Lexie and Tyler were always glued to the hip ever since Tyler was brought into this world. I can't exactly remember, but I think Ty and Lex were only two years apart.

Now Lexie is just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's she will ever be. Lex has drifted away from all her friends, she broke up with her boyfriend on the night her brother killed himself, but Steven, Lex's boyfriend never knew the reason why she actually broke up with him. Ever since their parents divorce, Lex stepped up and was the other parent that Ty needed, she taught him how to drive, they basically did everything together. Lex's mom puts her with a therapist and he orders Lex to write everything down in a journal. As Lexie starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But, there's a secret she hasn't told anyone yet, a text Tyler sent her that could have changed everything. Lexie isn't the only one whose grieving, their parents, Tyler's best friends, his ex-girlfriend. Basically the whole school.

Please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book, but read at your own caution because it does get heavy at times. I wish this book had a playlist filled with sad songs because that would just make you feel the pain even more. I can't believe I waited so long to pick up this book, but i'm glad I finally did because it was just phenomenal. I apologize in advance if this review seems messy, i'm just trying to get my thoughts together without having a full blown breakdown again. Do you ever feel like you are holding your breath for a really long time, trying to hold back the tears? Well, this is what it felt like reading this book. It was so beautiful, but yet so heart breaking. I'm going to end this review right here because I don't want to spoil the story. I need some time to gather my thoughts before I read yet another devastating book.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,459 reviews8,559 followers
April 23, 2015
As someone who went through a series of losses this year, I could not have read this book at a better time. One close friend hurt me in particular, and I spent so much time thinking that maybe if I had been a little better, he would have stayed. Maybe if I had said one more kind word, or if I had changed something about myself, he would not have abused me the way he did. But Cynthia Hand's story reminded me that instead of blaming ourselves for things outside of our control, we should strive to treat ourselves and those around us with kindness and compassion, no matter how much we hurt.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye revolves around Lex, a high school senior whose brother died by suicide. Before Ty killed himself, Lex felt happy: she had a goofy boyfriend, dreams of attending MIT, and a good group of friends. But Ty's death changes everything - Lex breaks up with Steven, her mother takes up drinking, and her already dysfunctional relationship with her father takes even more of a nosedive. When she starts to see Ty's ghost, Lex realizes that she needs to put all the pieces of her grief together, or she might drown in her sorrow otherwise.

Lex's intelligent and honest voice sucked me into The Last Time We Say Goodbye right away. On the outside, she still has some aspects of her life together, but on the inside, she feels relentless pain. Lex's descriptions of the gaping hole in her chest, the anger she possesses toward her family, and her regrets over what could have been, all pierced me and lodged themselves into my heart. Her renewed friendships with Sadie, her relationships with Damian and Steven, and her family situation all received a sophisticated amount of development. By the end of the book, I had splayed myself across a public couch at my college, mesmerized by Hand's prose and torn apart by its ability to evoke emotion.

Hand treats mental illness with the care it deserves. Instead of fetishizing a sensitive topic, she centers the story on Lex's grief and her recovery process. Ty remains a shadowy yet fitting part of the book, and Hand humanizes him alongside the rest of the characters. Lex and the people she interacts with come across as three-dimensional and unified in the pain they share over Ty's death.

Overall, a stellar book about the loss of a loved one. Hand delivers her story in a simple and quiet way, and the strength of her prose shines. Recommended to fans of YA realistic fiction, or to those interested in a bittersweet story with themes of grief and hope. And remember: if you need help, please reach out. People care about you. I care about you.
Profile Image for Paulo Ratz.
185 reviews4,933 followers
June 25, 2016
Termino esse livro de uma forma que eu não imaginava estar. Chorando.

Assim, eu já sabia que era um YA contemporâneo sobre uma menina que teve um irmão que acabou de se suicidar, então eu já sabia que seria triste. No início eu estava até um pouco impaciente, porque a grande maioria de livros YA contemporâneo giram sempre em torno de uma tragédia e de como o personagem principal tira grandes conclusões sobre a vida.

Isso acontece nesse livro? Sim.

A cada página que ia se passando a autora descrevia a história de uma forma TÃO realista. Tão relacionavel. E realmente, quando terminei o livro não foi surpresa ler que a autora passou por essa mesma situação que ela escreveu.

O livro é de uma delicadeza absurda. E foi me conquistando aos poucos. Ao ponto de eu terminar pensando que esse é um dos melhores YAs que eu li na vida. Que escrita incrível.

100% recomendado, gente. Não pensem 2 vezes e leiam.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
July 19, 2015

Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.

I am a pretty sad person, I cry over books, even when they are not  that  sad and even more so, when they are depressing. And The Last Time We Say Goodbye made me cried from the very start until the end. FYI, more like gross sobbing.

Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy is one of my favorite YA series, but the conclusion failed to impress me, so it’s safe to say I had my doubts. My fear did not lessen when I noticed the premise is quite similar to Love Letters to Dead and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. They all revolved into writing a journal and diary, while I have nothing against those titles, they unsuccessful left me unsatisfied and detached. Thanks all the saints, I was so wrong because this book is so different. And that felt so naturally good.

It tells a heartbreaking story of a teenager girl slowly navigating her life after the suicide of her brother. That is something someone cannot just get over in one snap. It takes a lot of time. And I believe that is what makes this book feel so mundane and simply touching. The protagonist, Lex struggle with that guilt and the blame.

No flowery words would ever be enough to describe how raw and grounded The Last Time We Say Goodbye is. And from writing paranormal to contemporary books that dealt with mental illness, Hand’s transition was very smooth. She perfectly captured the grief and angst. The emotion would hit every reader right into the gut.

This is the kind of book, every reader would like to read. It would leave a very lasting mark somewhere within you.
Profile Image for Jeanne .
303 reviews
June 25, 2015

Raw, honest, realistic, and heart wrenching are words that come to my mind when trying to describe this book. I've read other books with the same subject matter, but none of them felt as real or as authentic as this one. This novel isn't watered down, and that's what makes it special. My friend Maida said in her review that Ms. Hand's writing is flawless, not a compliment she hands out every day, but I agree. ( I will always read your 5 star picks Maida, even if they make me cry and eat a pound of chocolate.) I don't know how to express into words how perfectly she conveyed the emotions and grief process a family goes through in the weeks and months following a loved one's suicide, but trust me, she did. I was especially touched by the message of forgiveness throughout the story, and it ended on a hopeful note even though it wasn't an easy read. The author's note at the end broke my heart even more, but I'm glad I read it, and I'm thankful to her for sharing her personal story.

This was actually my first book by Cynthia Hand, but it won't be the last. I'm looking forward to reading her Unearthly series soon.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,796 followers
September 12, 2018
it's almost 1am and im literally a sobbing disaster. idk if im just an emotional wreck but there's this one line in the book that figuratively ripped me apart

wow, i was not expecting it to hurt this much. :)

so this book deals with A WHOLE LOT of grief. it switches between present day events and the main character's journal entry. it deals with suicide but not about just dying and leaving but also the journey and emotions and grief that the people left behind face on a daily basis.

and that was just, wow.

the insight was so deep and profound, you feel that sadness follow you around, like when i was reading the acknowledgements, i was thoroughly crying bc for the author to have gone through this and then write about it

damn, that must have been rough.

anyways this book was so much more than i expected and i dont wanna say anymore bc the waterworks might start again but just,,,,,if you want to read some hard hitting book on sadness and grief and loss, then here's some pain for you.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
January 26, 2015
The Last Time We Say Goodbye is the story of a girl who's been left behind. Her family is broken, her heart is broken, and her life will now never be the same. After her brother dies, Lex is now defined as this tragic girl with a dead brother; someone to pity, or to avoid completely which is not uncommon in these scenarios - people are simply uncomfortable towards death. If this wasn't enough for Lex to deal with, there's these nightmares that make her relive it all nightly…

As you can expect, this novel is full of emotional turmoil. It's dark and depressing, yet very powerful. Important, even. We're dealing with death, grief, depression, denial, and everything in between, and these emotions are all very real and unflinching. Lex was given a journal to help with her grief, so we get to feel through her own words exactly what she's going through - the anger, the sorrow, the borderline overwhelming hurt - as well as exactly how much she loved her brother with her stories of their past together. Even knowing the eventual outcome, I loved getting a glimpse at these simpler times when she was carefree and happy. It allowed us to understand the bond she had with her brother, and it made us see who she was before this tragedy. The topic of suicide is heavy throughout the novel, and incredibly well-handled. I found it to be a very realistic portrayal of depression - in both herself and her brother. Especially when it comes to the guilt that comes hand in hand with tragic events like these. You always blame yourself for not being there, for not helping, for not seeing what is now so clear. If only… Except it's never that simple. Seeing Lex go through the blaming and the guilt and all the other stages of grief made this all the more authentic. It's heartbreaking, but it's a tunnel she's slowly climbing out of.

Through her journal entries, we start to unravel the events that happened on the night of. So we can finally see why she feels so guilty - why she blames herself so much. These "past" entries are bittersweet because it's full of love and romance and sweet moments, but you know it's leading up to something terrible. For this reason, it makes you want to keep at arm's length to save your own heart. Like, you should know better than to get too attached to the way things were, you know, especially in the romance department. But there's still a lot of room for hope. Hope that she will eventually stop blaming herself, that she will give herself a chance to try and be happy again, no matter how impossible that seems right now.

Dark books like these do tend to be a hit or miss for some. It requires you to become emotionally invested, which is not always easy knowing from the start that it will bring tears and heartache. If this is your thing, however - if you like to inflict pain upon yourself like I do - this one is very well-written with some deep characterization. It's a raw look at a family coping with death.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
282 reviews418 followers
November 24, 2019
“This is going to sound trite, I suppose, but you never know when it’s going to be the last time. That you hug someone. That you kiss. That you say goodbye"

This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It made me feel all these emotions and I realized so much when I was reading this book. I usually just read books for pleasure but this book has changed me and it's going to take me a while to forget. The best books are the ones that you think about days after you've finished reading it. This book phenomenal and has completely destroyed me. It will haunt me for a long time. I don’t think I can get over it.

I knew what to expect when reading this book. Well, maybe not how amazing it would be but that I was going to cry but not to this extent. I don't think I've cried more in my life while reading a book. Around 30% through I started crying nonstop and then in the last 50 pages or less I started sobbing. Like actually sobbing but I had to keep my voice down because everyone was sleeping. I’m a crier when it comes to books but I never sob. Then at the end in the Acknowledgements section, I found out that the Cynthia Hand’s brother committed suicide too (The story wasn’t based off it, though. This didn’t happen to her). I don’t think my crying could have been worse.

I read nonstop but then I had to stop to go eat dinner. I was sitting at the dinner table and still, couldn't get my mind off the book. I didn't want to face my family because whenever someone who doesn’t cry a lot when reading or watching a movie they always say “Why are you crying? It's not like they're real”. And they're right. These fictional characters aren't real but we still feel all these emotions and it feels like this character is real and we've known them all our lives. Okay so maybe all the character’s in fantasy or dystopian books aren't real and what's happening to them isn't happening to people in real life but in books like The Last Time We Say Goodbye. Ty wasn't real but doesn't mean what happened in this doesn't happen in the world. This book made me realize a lot and has changed the way I think. This book is extraordinary and although I cry all the time in books I'm crying for a different reason.

I’m not even going to do a proper review of what happened in this book because what I wrote above was all I have to say. Everyone needs to read this book and to whoever does, this book will ruin you like it ruined me.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,254 followers
January 21, 2015
So heartbreaking. Be prepared to cry. And cry. And then cry some more.

Lexie's brother, Ty, committed suicide at age 16. A popular, basketball star, with tons of friends and yet decided to end it in only his junior year of high school. And she feels horrible guilt. Why did he do it? And why didn't she see the signs? Why didn't she talk to him? Why couldn't she help him? Should she blame her dad for leaving them? His ex-girlfriend? Life doesn't have simple answers though.

Lexie pushes her friends away. Like you would expect she is having a really hard time dealing with her grief. Her therapist told her to write a journal so there is a mixture of journal entries and her recalling her past with her brother. Lexie also tries to figure out if there was a specific reason why he decided to end his life that day. She connects with his old friends and girlfriend.

Dealing with a death in the family affects everyone differently. There is no right way to help a friend or daughter or girlfriend out of it. Some of her thoughts and reactions are definitely ones I was familiar with and other ones were not. Lexie reconnected with a neighbor that helped her through it but then it was sad because her best friend was trying so hard to help. But sometimes you just need the unexpected.

I loved Lexie's boyfriend Steven. He was the cutest, sweetest, math nerd. Such a good guy! Lexie needed time though and pushed him away too. I loved that he really never gave up on her though. And as mean to him as she was he would come when she needed him. The flashbacks to their past were so sweet, adorable, and romantic! I really wanted them to find their way back to each other.

While I normally don't read sad books I took a chance on this one because I loved the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand and I'm glad I did. It was really moving. At the end the author shares that her own brother committed suicide at age 17 while she was age 20. The book is fiction but I definitely think those real feelings of loss came through in her writing and made this a really touching, realistic, important, and worthy read.

"Happy six months. Which is precisely 183 days." You consulted your watch. "Which is 4,392 hours. Which is 263,520 minutes. Which have been some of the best minutes of my life. So far."
God, you were so sexy.

*I borrowed an ARC and this does not affect my review*
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
March 31, 2016
We start off with Lex who is dealing with the death of her brother Tyler who committed suicide. She's struggling to get her life back.. Before it happened. This is a journey that will test her and will reveal the truths to what happened on that fateful night. A story about loss, love and having the ability to move on from something that will forever change you.

Lex's struggles and heartache and even hallucinations of Tyler were heart wrenching to read. I could easily slip into her mindset and stay there throughout the whole book. Though she's different than others I have read because she loves mathematics. (I wished there were more characters with brainy girl characters TBH.) She's super responsible paying her way for school and how her brain sees patterns and unlocks puzzles, I was fascinated. The logical part of her brain explains away her Tyler hallucinations but I couldn't help but be a little freaked out myself because I could see everything so easily in my imagination. What really gutted me were the flashbacks of just her and Tyler. They're so close and to have that happen to him and her not being able to relate.. It really hurt my heart.

Cynthia Hand does a wonderful job of creating these characters with such vivid back-story and personalities. It wouldn't have been the same if we didn't know the history and how they were. Her writing flows so well and the emotions that will be running high when you read about it? We'll make sure to get a tissue handy. Last but not least, I'm never going to look at Post-Its the same way again.. This book ruined me for it.. *cries*
Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,137 reviews1,662 followers
February 10, 2017
New Year's Readathon 2.0 - Read a standalone

If you're going to read this book, you better grab a box of tissues. I shed some tears and my emotions are all over it. It's such a beautiful, captivating and heartbreaking story. I'm instantly hooked with it.

Lexie's younger brother, Tyler, took his own life. His untimely death hit her so hard and had a difficult time of moving on. She was depressed, shuts out everyone around her, and there are times she feels and sees Ty's presence. She starts seeing a therapist and encouraged her to write journal entries wherein she shared about Ty and all his moments. My heart breaks over it. Lexie's emotions and love for her brother felt so raw and real. Despite of committing a selfish act. She couldn't forget the night he died. If she could turned back the time, could it change his fate?

As the story progressed, she slowly opens up to those people who mattered to her. She copes after what happened and reconnects with her friends and family. I actually love her friends for their patience and understanding about Lexie. As well as her boyfriend, Steven. He's just adorable.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. What an emotional ride. Cynthia Hand's writing style is definitely a thumbs up.
Profile Image for cor.
256 reviews56 followers
July 26, 2022
listen to the “march 31st” chapter while playing funeral by phoebe bridgers if you wanna cry even more !!

this book was phenomenal. mental health is such an important topic to be discussed, and this shows the reality that sometimes someone can be screaming for help and the people who promise to help don’t notice. ty and lex aren’t real people but their stories continue to repeat in real life everyday. it’s heartbreaking but also an important reminder to be alert and that sometimes there are signs that we don’t catch when it comes to our loved ones.

i really appreciated the authors words at the end, how she reflected on her own experiences involving losing a brother.

anyways, all the characters were so good— from lex’s math friends to sadie to damien to STEVEN (the ending THE ENDING WAS HEART BREAKING), and i hope they all find peace in the future. steven and lex deserve so much love in their future.

wow. that was just— wow. but, before reading, i have to add to check triggers because there are heavy topics discussed.
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews87 followers
November 11, 2015
This. Book. *heart eyes*

This story is absolutely heartbreaking. As an older sister, I've always been overprotective of my little sister, because I feel responsible of her and it seems like I should be the one protecting her and making sure she's happy. Because of that, I could try to imagine what Lex must be feeling and it was already too much for me to bear. Her situation is awful, just like her mother's, and I started this book already saddened by its story.

This story focuses on Lex's grief and how she copes with her brother's death and I liked how honest and true she was about it. Her feelings are understandable and her distress made me feel really sad for her. I wish I could've helped her when she was at her worst, but I still thought she was doing well, given the circumstances. Her parents made me angry most of the time, because while she pushed her friends away, I don't think she would've pushed her mom away, had she made the move. Her relationship with her dad was trickier, because it deteriorated even before Tyler's suicide. Anyways, Lex's evolution as the story goes is amazing and gave me hope that there's always something better coming when you're having a hard time.

I was impressed by how realistic Lex's character is. Her dreams, her personality and her reactions were easy to understand for me and, by the time I finished this book, I felt like I knew her pretty well. While it killed me to admit it, I could see why she had tried to get away from her friends and her boyfriend after her brother's suicide, so I couldn't blame her at all. I'm glad they were so kind to her and they kept trying to get her back, because that's the most amazing proof of loyalty I've ever seen and I can only hope that my friends would react that way if something made me push them away like Lex did.

I really liked this book, as tragic as it is.
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