Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Goodbye Days

Rate this book
What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

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?

399 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jeff Zentner

10 books2,183 followers
Jeff Zentner is the author of two New York Times Notable Books: The Serpent King and In the Wild Light, as well as Goodbye Days and Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee. His next book, forthcoming from Grand Central in 2024, is entitled Colton Gentry's Third Act.

Among other honors, he has won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award twice, the International Literacy Association Award, the Whippoorwill Award, the Muriel Becker Award, and been longlisted twice for the Carnegie Medal. He’s a two-time Southern Book Prize finalist; and was a finalist for the Indies Choice Award. He was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an Indies Introduce pick. His books have been translated into fifteen languages.

Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
5,301 (39%)
4 stars
5,281 (39%)
3 stars
2,207 (16%)
2 stars
550 (4%)
1 star
188 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,712 reviews
Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 10 books2,183 followers
March 15, 2017
Here's where GOODBYE DAYS came from:

I think about death a lot. Not to an unhealthy degree, mind you. Or at least I don’t think so. I guess it’s hard to be objective about this sort of thing.

I know that I think about dying at least once a day.
Anyway, death fascinates me. And while I adhere to the maxim “write what you know,” I adhere much more to the idea “write what you struggle with.” I find the subject of teenagers dealing with death--particularly the death of other teenagers (and friends no less)--especially compelling.

Perhaps it’s because I believe that our essential intelligence and personalities, if not our life experience, are formed by young adulthood. I’m drawn to stories about young people contending with the enormity of death, leaning upon this intelligence to process it, before they’ve even had much experience with life.

In my first book, The Serpent King, I dealt some with dying.

But I still wanted to tangle more with questions that can attend death: culpability, accountability, survival, memory, loneliness, and how we say goodbye to those we love. GOODBYE DAYS is the result of that desire.

It's also the product of my desire to write a love letter to the city of Nashville and its creative population,
a love letter to talk therapy and the mental health treatment profession, a love letter to the healing power of stories, and a love letter to families of choice.

At one point, Carver, Goodbye Days’ protagonist, stands in a parking lot and looks around him
after the last of his three best friends’ funerals and thinks: “The spinning world and the burning sun don’t care much whether we stay or we go. It’s nothing personal.”

And I think he’s right.

But we mark each others’ passing. We write each other’s names on the walls of our hearts, where they join a great story.

Maybe an eternal story. Something that can never die. I hope.

Thank you, readers, for allowing me to share my hope with you.

I am so grateful to all of you who have read THE SERPENT KING and will give GOODBYE DAYS a shot as well.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
March 13, 2017
"Where are you guys? Text me back?"

Carver Briggs sent that text to his best friend Mars, who was driving home from a movie with their two other best friends, Eli and Blake. Such an innocuous text. Mars was replying to Carver when his car rear-ended a stopped truck. Mars, Eli, and Blake were all killed in the accident.

It is unbelievable to Carver that his three best friends are dead. He is devastated at the thought of spending his senior year in high school, and his whole life, without them. Even when they did nothing but play video games and make fun of each other, Carver felt like he was part of something.

"There's that feeling that you'll never be lonely again. That every time you speak, someone you love and who loves you back will be listening. Even then I knew what I had."

But as much misery as he feels, Carver's guilt outweighs everything. Eli's twin sister tells everyone she can that Carver murdered her brother, Blake, and Mars, so many people in their community look at him with disgust. And when word comes down that Mars' father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into the accident, and it's entirely possible Carver could be found negligent, it's more than he can bear. Convinced he will be going to jail for murdering his friends, he begins suffering panic attacks, which scare him.

"We assume that it's better to survive things, but the ones who don't survive don't have to miss anyone. So sometimes I don't know which is better."

No matter how alone he feels, Carver isn't left to deal with these issues by himself. In addition to his tremendously supportive older sister, Carver begins spending time with Jesmyn, Eli's girlfriend, and the two find themselves leaning on each other more and more as they try to make sense of their loss. He also confides in his therapist, who has an interesting tactic to try and help Carver cope, and Carver also finds both joy and sorrow in spending time with Nana Betsy, Blake's grandmother, who raised him.

One day Nana Betsy asks Carver if he'd be willing to spend a "goodbye day" with her—one last chance to do the things Blake liked to do, to share memories of him, and give the two of them the chance to say goodbye that they never had. As much as he believes this might bring him closure, he worries if his guilt will get the best of him. He just keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop, to discover that someone is trying to make him pay for what they believe is his role in the accident.

How can you process an overwhelming loss when you are consumed by guilt, even fear? How do you start forgiving yourself if you don't think you deserve forgiveness, but you're not sure you deserve to be punished either? How do you know whom to trust, and how can you distinguish feelings of security and companionship from something else? And how do you find the strength to carry on when one of the most integral and important pieces of your life is torn away?

"Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what'd happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together."

Well, as you might imagine, this book tore me apart emotionally. But as much as my eyes burned from all of the crying, and my heart hurt, I found this book beautifully hopeful as well. Even if I didn't necessarily agree with how all of the characters behaved, and even if some of the plot was more predictable than I would have liked, the momentous sense of loss, the poetry of the boys' friendship and how much joy they experienced, made this book much more than a sob-fest for me.

That's all because of the talent of Jeff Zentner. Zentner, whose first book, The Serpent King (see my original review) was one of my absolute favorite books last year. Even when his characters are a bit more erudite than your typical teenager, they quickly shift back into immaturity, thus further occupying your heart. I don't know what I'd like more from this book—a prequel, in which we could spend more time with the four boys, or a sequel, in which we could see how Carver is coping.

Goodbye Days is as much about the poetry of friendship, of belonging, as it is the geography of loss. The combination of both makes this an emotional yet resonant read, that I'll remember as much for all of the tears I shed as for the laughs and the smiles. But all that aside, DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE!! EVER!!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,909 followers
April 27, 2017
This author wrote one of my all time favorite books...The Serpent King. If you have not read that one just go now. I'll wait.

So my expectations for this one were pretty high.

And it made me feel like an old hateful woman. I'll get to why in a bit.

(This is not a spoiler either-so cool your drawers) Carver sent a text to his three best friends. Where are you guys? Text me back
That text is more than likely what caused his friends to be in a fatal accident. So Carver has the guilt. Then he finds out that he may actually face charges of negligent homicide for contributing to their deaths.

I hope no one reading this is still texting and driving. Because it gets me ragey.
 photo 62e117802edcfe39f0a0aadcfb5bcbba078fcbea11defaa08be3cb97cc4d04fb_1_zpszdwunf7x.gif

BUT the book is done well in telling the young adult world the dangers of that stuff. It hurts. Jeff Zentner brings hurt to the table like no other young adult author that I've ever read.
He writes the feelings that Carver and the remaining family members go through very much in a way that made even my hateful heart break.

Then I kinda got to the point where I felt like my feelings were being deliberately manipulated and I felt like the line got crossed.
 photo yaxo7_zpsjqhkkqky.jpg

Another thing that really bothered me in this book was the fact that these boys were supposed to be seventeen. Then we get flashbacks (yes, I do know that some of them were years old)..where I felt like they were twelve. I have a teenage boy and have raised two others. I know what dumb-butts they can be..but then they tell the fart jokes and then you have a passage where the main character sounds like an educated adult? I reflect on the mundane rituals, laid end to end, that form a life. We work to make money and then hopefully use that money to buy ourselves memories with the people we love. Simple things that bring us joy.

There was good in this book though, no insta-love and no common tropes. Zentner is way better than that. I'm torn on how to rate this so I'm just going with the middle ground and giving it three stars. I'll still read anything he writes.
Don't milk me for tears next go round though.
 photo tumblr_lzjro2Tv011r4gei2o4_400_zps9yoeovxj.gif

Booksource: Netgalley and Crown books in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,467 reviews9,625 followers
June 17, 2017
Where are you guys? Text me back.

It all began with a text. Three friends were killed. But, let me tell you. The people in this book are major •ssholes! They tried to charge Carver for the death of his friends because the driver was in the process of texting him back. Here's the thing. If you're stupid enough to text while driving it's no one's fault but your own. You can wait until you can pull over or stop at a red light. If something is that important then a person would call you with an emergency message! You don't blame the pesron that sent it. I don't care one way or the other. That is stupid!

I was really excited to read this book because I loved the authors other book The Serpent King!

Serpent King Review

I felt bad for Carver, not only for losing his best friends, but when he started having panic attacks. I have those and they suck!

I love that this book was set in Nashville too. I have been there a few times but I'm from TN either way =)

Side Note:

Carver freaking talks about working part-time at McKay's! That is our used bookstore that pretty much takes anything these days. I go there to get money and trade credit. We have one in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville. The one in Chattanooga is 5 minutes from my house and I have been to the one in Knoxville years ago when we went up to visit relatives. Here let me show you a sticker from one of my horror books I got from there.

I know, I know, what does this have to do with the book review? I love when I find little tidbits of information that make my day so I just add it in =)

End Side Note

I loved Carver's sister, Georgia. She was a force to be reckoned with when it came to her brother. She was a rock for him as well. But she had to leave soon to go back to UT in Knoxville. Luckily she talked Carver into seeing someone for his issues and he made a good friend with one of his friends girlfriend, Jesmyn. They were really good together trying to get over the pain of what happened.

So much of the town was against him though and I still don't get it. They were cruel and even pressed charges against him. I won't tell you that outcome. I will say some people need some sense smacked into them.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a sad book but not one that made me cry.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,244 followers
April 17, 2017
Isn’t it terrible... What a loss... He was so young... He was so funny... He was... He was... He was. People take shelter under clichés. Language is powerless enough in the face of death. I guess it’s asking too much for people to veer from the tried-and-true under such circumstances.

It legit was my mistake thinking this would be more cathartic than torturous to read after suffering a loss myself last Monday. We constantly have to tell ourselves things like "he is in a better place".. "he's not in pain anymore" (after only seeing him truly in pain the last weeks of his life. Because why should he have even been in pain in the first place?!) Or the tried and true "it was his time." But it's not fucking fair for it to have been, so how does that make it better? He should have had more time. HE didn't deserve to go out like that. My favorite, which consoles me the most, is knowing that one day I will be with him again for the rest of eternity. And it's funny because I am by no means a religious person. But maybe this pushed me to need to have that faith. I don't know. I'm clearly rambling. The point is...death is awful, cruel, and horrible. I can't come up with an adjective that could truly describe the feeling of losing someone that should still be there, that you fully expected to still be there.

So here is the thing: the book has some very beautifully written passages that I found myself nodding my head like "yes, yep...THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING." 100%. And a few evoke very powerful emotions. Of course, I'm a bit on the ultra sensitive side at the moment. So I'm not sure it will bring everyone to tears on a whim, but if you've been experiencing the grieving/mourning process yourself..welcome to the club. You'll cry.
“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what’d happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”

My problem is: I may have connected to certain emotions the characters were experiencing, but I had a hard time connecting to protagonist Carver who isn't particularly the most likable of characters to begin with. The flashback scenes between Carver and his friends felt pointless. I understand it was to illustrate their friendship for what it was, but I found myself starting to skim these scenes. Maybe I needed more of a distraction for a book because the story struggled to keep my interest. I've seen mostly high ratings with this one, so I wonder if this is truly a case of: it's me. I'd have to give fair warning to anyone in the same boat as me to maybe steer clear for now. And read when the dust settles a bit more. (I can't even tell you how stupid I feel giving metaphors right now).

The story certainly has it's poignant moments, but I found they came far and few between. Goodbye Days is essentially about Carver who feels responsible when he loses his three best friends, Blake, Eli and Mars, in a car wreck because he texted the driver "Where are you guys? Text me back." Mars's father wants a criminal investigation opened regarding the accident. And Blake's grandma asks Carver to have a goodbye day with her so they can share the sides of Blake they each knew and do what they each would've done with him for his last day together. Eventually the other families ask Carver for goodbye days of their own. It is a sweet idea, but they felt pretty awkward. I still am baffled by how to feel about Carver's friendship with Jesmyn. I get that they were connecting over their shared loss, but the way things were developing feels out of place.

I wish I had enjoyed this one more. Maybe I have too much going on in my life to have been able to enjoy it like others have. It was less of an escape into another world. Maybe it is not the best idea to read about characters going through a similar thing because they are fictional and you are a real person, so they aren't REALLY going through what you're going through. You are the one really and truly living through it right now. Man, I just don't know. Sometimes reading about characters going through similar things can be helpful or interesting. But it is what it is. This time, that wasn't a good idea. This book dragged a bit too much for any of the positive I found to pull up the rating. Maybe you'll have a better reading experience. I think I gave a good enough disclaimer explaining my headspace to show that I may have a skewed POV at the moment.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
September 23, 2019
Just beautiful!


Kicking September off with this book and these two softies: Karima & Fares. 🌻

We’ll be virtually sobbing together. Can’t wait!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
December 18, 2017
I don’t remember reading a book that had me laughing and crying literally at the same time from start until the very end until Goodbye Days. When you decide to read the book, the most helpful tip I could give you is to take good care of your heart because after reading, mine felt like it cart wheeled out of my mouth not being able to withstand the overwhelming emotions and then feeling stunned, it was as if I forgot the poor organ still lying on the ground so I accidentally stepped on it and smashed it to death. I almost couldn’t believe I managed to survive the book. It made me cry like a baby and laugh like a maniac. So another tip, lock yourself in your house when you read the book if you want to keep your dignity intact. But screw dignity because as Blake once said,

“Dignity is overrated. People can live without it. I know because I did. But people can’t live without laughter. I’ll gladly trade dignity for laughter because dignity is cheap and laughing is worth everything.”

Of the YA contemporaries I’ve read and I’ve read a lot, Goodbye Days possibly has the most unique and intriguing premise as the story follows Carver as he suffers a great deal of personal, romantic (as he is possibly falling for one of his best friends’ ex-girlfriend), social (as he accepts the chances of being a pariah), ethical (as he openly considers the possibility of being imprisoned), psychological (as he endures the panic attacks) and emotional (as he goes through pain and grief) issues after the car accident that took the life of his three best friends, Mars, Eli and Blake, the Sauce Crew, as they called themselves who was supposed to be a solid, tight unit, they were even planning their future lives around each other like spending college breaks together. *Gawd, I cry*

To sort of atone for Carver’s “part” in the accident, he agrees to participate in this little project called “Goodbye Days” with the bereaved family of his best friends. These Goodbye Days alone just about tore my heart to little pieces as I learned about each of the boys deeply, their background, their family and the kind of life they led.

Every time Carver relates a hilarious memory of all four together, I helplessly crack up at their silliness and banter but then I remember that the Sauce Crew is gone except for Carver and a searing pain would strike my heart instantly as if I was personally close to these boys and I would end up tearing up then later laughing again as the story continues. It’s a literal emotional roller coaster.

Hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s an equally hilarious and heartbreaking story of friendship, family relationships (Georgias the best sister), death, grief (Dr. Krantz’s the best psychiatrist), life and love that effortlessly stirred and touched my heart and soul.

“In the most part, you don’t hold people you love to your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,556 followers
August 16, 2016
Oh boy. What can I even say? I'm exhausted and emotionally drained from this book, but in a good way?

I was sad the entire time I was reading this. It's a hard story to get through, because it's devastating. As it should be. Because the subject matter of accidents caused by texting while driving is heartbreaking. I knew going into this that it would be a hard read, and it was. But it was beautiful in its own way as well.

The characters that Jeff Zentner has created in this novel are incredibly real. They reminded me of the friends I had in highschool. They reminded of what it felt like to be young and invincible. And the main character, Carver, reminded me of the pain and guilt I felt when one of my close friends died when I was 14 years old. When someone close to you dies, especially suddenly, you can't help but think there must've been something you could have done. This book felt like I was going through the motions with Carver, every step of the way. But even if you haven't lost someone the way Carver did, I think anyone will be able to relate to this book.

This is a book that will make you think twice about the things and people you may take for granted. A book that will hopefully allow you to move on from painful things in your past. A book that will make you hold your friends and your family a little bit tighter. A book that will remind you that even during the worst imaginable times in your life, there are always reasons to hold on a little longer.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,799 followers
August 21, 2017
Full review posted:

past tense: conflicted; past participle: conflicted
having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent feelings.
adjective: conflicted

aka ~*~me~*~

Honestly, my rating for this book really does a terrible job of expressing how comprehensive the book was. I really feel like this was a more its-me-not-you case with this book since it had such amazing aspects about it and yet I wasn’t satisfied.

- Jeff Zentner did an INCREDIBLE job in balancing out grief and humour
- Good job, I laughed out loud a few times
- The grief was palatable, like it felt sossososoososo real
- Like you can feel the pain and regret carver feels man
- Carver is a character you can really relate to
- His sister, Georgia, was big sister goals. I want to be her when I grow up
- Panic attacks and anxiety written so well damn boi
- The therapist was a good guy, v much approve
- I really loved Blake’s grandmother shes such a cupcake
- The book is depressing like it makes you appreciate your friends and family and ish wow emotions how do I handle this

- All these pros and I still felt HELLA detached while I was reading
- Idk I felt like the writing was kinda ?? immature ??
- It’s a long book
- Especially for a contemporary, its quite long and like dragggggsssss on and on and on
- Uh yeah that’s it for the most part, I just really wasn’t invested even though I had SO MANY GREAT ASPECTS and I found it hard to keep coming back to read
- Sowwy y’all

I guess we'd try to give life to his story for one more day. Pay tribute. Say goodbye.

2.5 stars!!
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,010 reviews1,328 followers
February 22, 2023
You can find the full non-spoilery review and other reviews @ The book prescription

Actual Rating: 4.25 stars

This was the first book that I read by Jeff Zentner, not that there are many books by this author!
And the first thing that stood out to me was the writing style, I was captivated and immersed in the story, finishing it in 2 days only, and although it deals with heavy and multiple topics, it does so in a very good way!

The main topic which is loss/ grief is not a new subject in novels and I saw it many times before, but this may be my favorite book discussing the subject.

So this is rather a slow-paced but deep story, if you want something meaningful, then I recommend this book :D
Profile Image for Erik Fazekas.
479 reviews195 followers
August 12, 2020
Kniha dočítaná, svetlá zhasli, a tak tu sedím a píšem recenziu. Teda… skôr nepíšem, len pozerám na bielu obrazovku a v hlave tornádo myšlienok.

Aj ja som prišiel o kamarátku. Neodišla… zomrela. Utopila sa. Jednu chvíľu sme spolu kecali a ďalšiu…
Američania by napísali, že som rozbitý na milión kúskov, ale po slovensky to neznie tak pekne. Ale presne tak sa cítim. Oči vyplakané, v srdci úzkosť. Nečakajte odo mňa objektívne slová.

Carverovi zomrú traja najlepší kamoši. Zabijú sa v aute a ten, ktorý šoféruje, má v ruke mobil a rozpísanú esemesku. Lebo Carver im písal, že kde sú a nech mu odpíšu. John Green a jemu podobní, by nás pekne citovo vyžmýkali. Lenže toto nie je kniha o smrti, ale o vyrovnávaní sa so sebaobviňovaním.

Kniha začína tam, kde by väčšina autorov skončila prvý diel (long live the sequels!!!) — na pohrebe. Emócie, čo sa dali vyžmýkať z predchádzajúcich dní nie sú témou tejto knihy. Je to strach a hnev. Strach preživšieho kamaráta a hnev pozostalých príbuzných. Lebo Carver môže za to, že havarovali, lebo im písal a vedel, že sú v aute a že bude šoférovať. Teraz akože vážne! Podľa najnovších zákonov o kyberšikane, je možné Carvera obviniť z nejakej formy neúmyselneho zabitia. Vitajte v Amerike, krajine neobmedzených možností.

No a pýtate sa, čo sú Goodbye Days? Babka jedného z mŕtvych poprosí Carvera, aby s ňou strávil jeden deň, kedy budú robiť také veci, aké by robila so svojím mŕtvym vnukom. Aby obaja spoznali tú druhú stránku svojho kamoša/vnuka. No a potom oslovia Carvera aj rodičia ďalších dvoch zosnulých. A na týchto rozlúčkových dňoch vypláva na povrch všeličo. Niečo je zaujímavé, niečo šokantné, niečo srdcervúce.

Goodbye Days boli pre mňa emočná jazda. Polovicu knihy som preplakal, druhú mi stískalo srdce. A pomedzito som sa smial, Jeff Zentner je totiž celkom vtipný.
Ak ste niekedy prišli o blízkeho, bude to pre vás ťažká kniha, nájdete sa takmer na každej stránke. Nie je to ľahké čítanie. Po psychickej stránke.

Ak patríte k tým, ktorí ešte nikoho nestratili, dúfam, že kniha osloví aj vás. Lebo keby kĺzala po povrchu, asi by vo mne nevyvolala toľko emócií, skôr by som sa smial nad jej prihlúplosťou. A to sa nestalo. Asi by sa mi každé slovo nezarývalo do srdca, ako ostne ktoré si z neho už rok vyťahujem. Smial by som sa nad nabubralými mudrlantskými vzletnými americkými frázami. Ale ani to sa nestalo.

Neviem, či mám vôbec túto knihu niekomu odporúčať. Je to hnusná kniha, dostane sa vám pod kožu, nedovolí vám spať, keď ju otvoríte, hneď na druhej strane vám bude fakt strašne smutno. Ale aj o tom je táto kniha. O smútku, o žiali, o bolesti. O rozlúčkach a o odchodoch. O nových začiatkoch. O nádeji. O lepších zajtrajškoch… ktorých príchod je tak strašne ďaleko.

Pre mňa jeden z najsilnejších príbehov tohto aj minulého roka. Teda určite najsilnejšia YA.
Profile Image for maria.
563 reviews354 followers
April 23, 2017

*Disclaimer: A copy of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner was provided to me by Crown Books For Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.


Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what’d happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”

This book broke me. I don’t know what I was expecting from the guy that wrote The Serpent King (another book that broke me.) It’s just so good and important and heartbreaking yet uplifting. Does that make any sense at all? Let me try and break down my thoughts with this review.


What I Liked

The importance. First things first, Goodbye Days delivers a very important message. Texting and driving is something that I absolutely despise. It bothers me so much when I see people doing it and it bothers me even more when they do it with me in the car. I don’t know why people think they’re invincible, as if there’s no possible way something bad could ever happen to them despite the catastrophic number of incidents we hear about daily. If people could take one thing away from Goodbye Days and keep it engraved in their minds until the end of time, I would hope that it would be to never even touch your phone while you are driving. It’s about time we got a book, especially directed toward the young adult audience, that depicts the horrors of what texting and driving can lead to. Goodbye Days is important in more ways than one, but this specific message needs to be out there. It’s sad that we still have to hit people over the head with it, but I’m so glad that this book exists.

The friendships. One of the best parts about Goodbye Days is the friendships. I loved the flashbacks that show the relationship between Carver and his best friends. I loved all of the little stories and memories that Carver would talk about that related to his friends. I loved that it showed deep friendships between a group of boys, which is something I sadly don’t see too often. Not only was the friendship between the boys a highlight, but the relationships between Carver and his family as well as select family members of his friends was a beautiful touch. I just love seeing, and reading about, solid friendships within a story.

The reality. This book is realistic and that alone makes me appreciate it. It doesn’t hold back and it doesn’t sugarcoat. This book deals with the death of three characters which is a tough concept all on it’s own, but it also deals with other heavy subject matter. It deals with the aftermath. The anxiety, depression and self-blaming that Carver is dealing with. The relationships between Carver and the family members of his best friends, whether it’s Blake’s loving grandmother, Eli’s unforgiving twin sister or Mars’ harsh father. And of course, it also deals with Carver’s growing attraction to the girlfriend of one of his now deceased best friends. As mentioned, Goodbye Days does not sugarcoat anything. This book is far from light and fluffy and I truly appreciate that. It’s real and relatable and fantastic.

The writing. I pre-ordered this book before even requesting an ARC solely based on my love for The Serpent King. Jeff Zentner’s writing is beautiful. It grabs you instantly and makes you crave the rest of the story. I could not put this book down.

The representation. The diversity between each of the characters was amazing. The topic of anxiety being explored was amazing. This book managed to touch on so many stories, so many people and so many topics and yet it never felt too busy or overcrowded with information. Jeff Zentner managed to intertwine every aspect of this story perfectly.


What I Didn’t Like

It’s obvious isn’t it? I loved this book so much. There was nothing I didn’t like.


As you can see, Goodbye Days definitely hit me hard. It’s a book I will never forget and will probably be thinking about for many years to come. Jeff Zentner has done it again folks.

“For the most part, you don’t hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”


Initial post reading thoughts:

Jeff Zentner has done it again. This book made me feel so many things. It was completely relatable while heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time.
Profile Image for Andie .
261 reviews372 followers
March 12, 2017
Initial thoughts:
I finished this book last night and I'm still trying to process all of my feelings for this incredible story. Jeff's writing is exquisite and I definitely foresee him becoming a favorite of mine. Full review to come.

Final review:

Ever since I started hearing the buzz around Jeff Zentner's debut novel last year, The Serpent King, I have been eager to find out what all the fuss was about. I was so excited when Netgalley approved my request to review an ARC of Goodbye Days, and not knowing a thing about this book I dove in headfirst!

The story begins with Carver Briggs at the funerals of his three best friends, who were recently killed in a car accident. In the wake of his friends deaths Carver learns that texting was most likely the culprit - and not just any text, the driver was responding to Carver's message - Where are you guys? Text me back. On top of the guilt he already feels, Carver also faces the possibility of prosecution for negligent homicide.

Following the accident, Carver goes through many stages of grief, guilt, and fear - all of which are executed perfectly. He then goes on a series of "Goodbye Days" with the family members his friends have left behind as a form of closure.

Zentner does an excellent job of showing the pain involved when losing a son, a brother, a friend - It was heartbreaking to say the least and impossible not to feel their emotions as if they were my own. Jeff was able to make the characters and situation even more real through flashbacks by making me fall in love with already deceased characters, which is not an easy feat! This was both cruel and ingenious on his part. I loved every member of "Sauce Crew" and found myself wishing for the impossible.

This is the first of Jeff Zentner's books that I've read but I already know he has a fan for life. The writing is phenomenal and the story is emotional and moving - gripping you straight away and stays with you for days after finishing. By the end you'll be holding your loved ones closer and trying not to take the time you have together for granted, because you never know when anyone's last day is. I would recommend this book to everyone, not just YA readers. There is a great message here for all the ages.

*I received an ebook copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Paulo Ratz.
185 reviews4,932 followers
January 2, 2018
Atualizando e finalizando meu último livro lido de 2017. QUE LIVRO LINDO. Ai terminei o ano bem. Jeff escreve de uma forma tão envolvente que as páginas passavam voando. Quanto quote lindo dá pra tirar da escrita desse moço. Arrasou demais. Já comprei The Serpent King, o outro livro dele, e vou ler imediatamente porque tô desesperado. Protagonista hétero, autor hétero, mas com TANTA representatividade... tem personagem gay, negro, asiático... sério. Favoritado.
Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews315 followers
September 5, 2019
You read books and you think you know what they can make you feel.
And then you don't.

You guys already know I have strong emotions, if my emotions were a person they would totally be superman 😌 such strong beautiful emotions they are, I love my emotions, and books like this are steroids, so superman on steroids, imagine that!
Yup this is how the review starts, superman on steroids 😂

But honestly, I love Jeff Zentner's writing! It's so good in conveying sadness and grief, in my head the world his characters live in is always cloudy but no rain comes out and it's always early night in there. That might be bc the sun is always blazing here and I'm trying to dream myself somewhere different tho.
I love the inner monologues and I love the dialogues he writes. The guy is talented.

And I really loved the plot in this book. Even tho it missed a couple of things in my opinion to be perfect, and by perfect I mean more real.
Mostly is was good tho, I enjoyed witnessing how Carver dealt with grief and how things kept accumulating until it broke him. Without a doubt this is the best panic attack rep I read about (I haven't read many tho)

The characters are both good and bad and I can't make my mind about them. To be fair I'm only saying they are bad when I compare them to Zentner other book The Serpent King. They feel too juvenile and while I see why is that I still get sick of that typical teenage image that you see everywhere.
And even the grown-ups irritated me at points for being so petty. I sometimes catch myself and say that I haven't the faintest idea what's it is like to lose a child but again blaming a kid? Really? Your son's best friend, and ignoring the fact that your son holds responsibility too. I mean yes people do that but also people don't do that and that side wasn't there, except for Nana whom I really loved❤

Now I must say that this book did something that I've been wanting to read about for so long, and I can't say it bc it's a tiny spoiler, but also I didn't like how it's been done, so I'm quite confused!
The relationship between Carver and Jesmyn was really good and I really liked it, but I wanted them to be friends, I didn't think a romantic relationship is what either of them needs and while a tiny bit of me enjoyed seeing that prospect explored bc grief and feelings don't always make sense and most times they complicate things, I also think this has been explored in almost every book and I wasn't looking for more of it.

What annoyed me most tho were two things, in one of the flash backs Carver and his friends make fun of a teacher bc he answers every question no matter how stupid it is. As I said i understand why this was done but it's so hard to not see how stupid and juvenile those kids were. That scene honestly made me hate Carver and his friends.
And the other thing is What Carver said about Eli. I don't think it was real, it felt forced and unnecessary to me, I couldn't and can not believe he would say something like that, at least not if he was as good of a friend as I thought he was.

The one thing I wish was more explored is the relationship between Carver and his parents, and now that I think about it his sister too. The entire book people were asking him to talk to his parents and he likes them too, so I was really hoping he would. This happens eventually but it's insinuated at the end of the book and not really explored, I really wished we see a development on that side of his character.

Well friends this is it, I loved the book and I recommend it if any of you want those emotion steroids I mentioned, this book is one 😂

Hello Jeff Zentner, my old friend.
Did you guys sang that or was it just me? 😂

Anyway buddy read with She who punches people for me when I ask her to and She who agrees that they deserved it
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
851 reviews447 followers
March 3, 2017

Wow. I am so glad I got to read this fantastic book. So, the story goes like this – I’ve decided to begin reading Goodbye Days at about 10pm and I’ve planned on reading till 12pm as I had to get up early for my classes the next day. But oh boy, have I done something completely different. I have ended up reading till 2am and just COULD NOT STOP. I got so invested into these characters that I just couldn’t seem to let this book down. And so I read, and read and read until my eyes decided it was finally enough. The next day I had classes till about 6pm and all I could think of the whole day was this book. I ran back to my dorm and hungrily continued this story hoping I would make it out alive. And I did. Well, I did spend 2 packs of tissues but still, it was worth it. The writing is phenomenal, it sucks you into this tornado of feelings right away and just won’t let you go until you REALLY think about your whole life and things that you’ve done and that you’re still maybe regreting. At least that was the case with me.

It’s a difficult task to make readers love the characters who are not alive and who are a part of the main character’s past but Jeff did it astonishingly. I have loved every single member of the Sauce Crew and just kept wishing they were able to make even more memories together. Life sucks and we all get to know that truth at one point of our lives. But yet, we continue living and pushing forward even though we feel broken inside. Maybe we’ll never truly be fixed but I do admire us, humans, for even trying to move on and make the best out of the worst.

This novel will bring you tears, quiet laughs and characters that you can relate to. I have to mention the fantastic brother-sister relationship and parents who, unlike many other YA books, are a BIG part of this book and this story.



*E-copy provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

You can read this review on BookishFever.
Profile Image for Karima chermiti.
812 reviews153 followers
September 8, 2019

Trigger warning : Loss of a loved one, Grief, Panic attacks, Survival guilt , Talk of child abuse

The Serpent King was and still one of my favorite books of all time. I never could find the words to translate how much that book means to me and how much I love it. So picking up Goodbye Days by the same author has this double effect on me. I was so excited it because at this point I wanted to fall in love with another book by Jeff Zentner but I also was scared that I won’t like this book and it will somehow tarnish what I have with the serpent king.

So Now I’m just relieved to say that I absolutely adored this book as well. There is something about this author’s stories that digs deep into me and just stays there. I felt everything I could feel while reading this book and I felt the pain and the struggle of each character like it was my own.

I think Jeff Zentner is one of the best YA authors right now with how real and honest his writing feel and how realistic the characters he creates are and the heavy and important themes her portrays with care and sensitivity that I sometimes find missing in so many other books.

The book revolves around Carver as he deals with the aftermath of the death of his three best friends in an accident, an accident that people think he’s responsible for as he was texting his friend driving the car the moment of the crash.

Our memories of our loved ones are the pearl we form around the grain of grief that causes us pain

As carver learns how to live without his friends, he is also struggling with dealing with the guilt, the grief and the hate he feels by some of those who holds him responsible and to make things even worse he has to face the possibility of going to prison.

Grief is weird. It seems to come in these waves out of nowhere. One minute I'm standing in the ocean, fine. The next minute I'm drowning

To be Honest, I really thought this is a lot to tackle in one book but I think The author made a great choice alternating between the past where we get to see the friends together and happy and the now as we see Carver alone in facing his demons. The alternation served as a proof of the bond carver and his friends shared which make the grief and loss feel so much real and believable.

Also the author tackles the importance of surrounding ourselves with people who care and help us move past the darkness in our vulnerable moments. Craver finds that in Jesmin, one of his dead friends’ girlfriend, his family and also Dr. Mendez, his new therapist.

One of the things Dr Mendez helps Carver with is how to deal with his guilt over the crash and the panic attacks that he starts to get every time he feel cornered or pressured. I really this book have one of the best portrayals of panic attacks. I mean it was written so realistically that I felt it in my bones. So I really appreciate the including of Dr Mendez character in this book and how good it felt to real a positive portrayal of therapy and therapist.

For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone

I also loved the idea between The Goodbye Days idea as that gave us a chance to know the characters of his friends deeply and feel their loss in a more personal and intimate way. One f the things that I admired as well is how different the characters felt their pain, and they reacted to it. The characters are so different from each other and that was translated well within the story.

The only think I didn’t like is the romance storyline and how it destroyed a great friendship dynamic between Carver and Jesmyn. I find it unnecessary and I just didn’t like what it made of their relationship. I also find the reactions of some of the adults in this book too extreme considering the shit Craver is dealing with.

Contrary to The Serpent King who came at me like a wrecking ball right from the start, Goodbye Days snuck on me slowly till I was a sobbing mess by the end. Life-affirming, intimate and hard-hitting, this is a must YA read.


This book is going to break my heart but these two awesome friends Fares and Warda will make the journey worth it.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
March 23, 2017
There's something about books with grandmas in them that just slay me. This book had me crying and laughing and loving. Jeff Zentner has done it again. He's officially a favorite author with two 5-star books for me. So damn good.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews677 followers
August 2, 2019
“I hope someday it feels right again to pick up a girl and get ice cream and eat it at the park.

I hope there are new beginnings in my future.

Exact same problem I had with his debut novel: the too-cringe-worthy-and-totally-unrealistic dialogues. So much so that every time someone opened their mouth, my mood got ruined: just so stilted and unnatural.

Too bad since it opened soooo well.
Profile Image for Lara (Bookish_turtle).
247 reviews192 followers
March 20, 2018
My heart has broken into a million pieces. Authors can be so cruel! I was not ready to deal with that emotional trauma. It was such an incredible book!

It deals with the topic of grief, and also shows the power of true friendship. This is the story of a boy called Carver (Blade) who sends his three best friends a text that changes everything. The next thing he learns, there car has crashed and they are all dead. (That's not a spoiler, it's in the synopsis.)

When I started off knowing that the three boys were dead, I didn't expect to connect to them. Why would I intentionally put myself through that trauma? But alas, when the author presented me with three diverse, unique, funny, brilliant and perfect characters, I couldn't help myself.

Blake is hilarious and has so much unique spunk. Eli is wonderful, I love the way he expressed himself through music. I wish Mars was developed a little bit more, but he's also incredible and he's not afraid to stand out from the crowd. I think the way that the characters were managed and described through flashbacks were so well done, and I was definitely not expecting to fall in love with them the way I did.

Blade's perspective was such an interesting one to read from. Watching his journey unfold was such a unique reading experience, and the entire thing was so well written. I also liked how it showed how multifaceted his character was. There were periods of immense grief which seemed to overtake everything else, but you also got to know him as a character, and understand his personality as well as the depth of his emotions.

"I sometimes look at my bookshelf now and think about how someday I'm going to die without ever reading a lot of the books there. And one might be life-changingly good and I'll never know."

The friendships in this book are powerful. I think it really shows the impact you can have on somebody else's life just by being there for them. It also shows how the small moments that you have with your friends can add up to mean something big, and even the small moments matter.

This book was beautiful, but make sure that you have a big box of tissues at the ready when you read it! I would definitely recommend to anyone and everyone.

Here's one of my favourite excerpts from the book:

" "Our minds seek causality because it suggests an order to the universe that may not actually exist, even if you believe in some higher power. Many people would prefer to accept an undue share of blame for a tragic event than claim there's no order to things. Chaos is frightening. A capricious existence where bad things happen to good people for no discernible reason is frightening."
It certainly is that.
"Pareidolia," I say.
"Come again?"
"Pareidolia. One of my favourite words. It's when your mind sees a pattern you recognise where there isn't one. Like seeing a face in the moon. Or a shape in the clouds."
Dr. Mendez smiles and says, mostly to himself, "Pareidolia. What a beautiful word."
"For something that isn't always beautiful."
"For something that isn't always beautiful."
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,236 reviews26.6k followers
May 29, 2017
3.5 stars
This book is really sad, but also very beautiful. It follows a boy named Carver, who's three best friends die in a car accident after he sends them a text (one of his friends was texting and driving, and that's what caused them to crash). Obviously, Carver thinks he is to blame for their deaths, and it starts to take a toll on him and it's incredibly heartbreaking. One of his friends Fathers convinces the police to go against Carver and blame him for the murder of his three friends and they start an investigation and it's insane.

"The universe—fate—is cruel and random. Things happen for many reasons. Things happen for no reason. To shoulder the burden of the universe's caprice is too much for anyone."

This is my first time reading a book from Jeff Zentner and it certainly won't be my last. He has a really beautiful writing style and I love how he describes really simplistic things in such a beautiful way. I thought Carver was a great main character, but I actually would've loved to see this story told form Blake's perspective. Blake is easily my favorite side character in this story and even though he's one of Carver's friends to die in the car accident, I think he has the most interesting back story out of all of the characters and I just really would've loved to see how this book would be if it was told from Blake's POV.

“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what’d happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”

I really loved Carver's "goodbye day" that he had with Blake's Grandma. It was so sweet and adorable and it made me tear up. I thought the book was okay up to that point and that's where I really started to enjoy it. But overall, this book is written very well and it beautiful and heartbreaking and it's a great coming-of-age story for Carver.
Profile Image for Courtney.
126 reviews60 followers
March 16, 2017
If you were given a chance to create a "Goodbye day" for someone you lost, by doing things they loved to do and piecing that person together with others by remembering them, what would it look like?

We follow the story of 17yr old Carver Briggs, who is the sole survivor of 'Sauce Crew', on his journey through loss, guilt and his desperate attempts of helping others heal, as well as trying to heal himself. He goes through all of this, while also facing the very real possibility of being criminally charged for the deaths of his three best friends.

This novel begins after the tragic loss of three teenaged boys: Eli Bauer, Thurgood Marshall (Mars) Edwards and Blake Lloyd. The four boys befriended each other at Nashville Arts Academy, in Tennessee, and remained best friends until right before their senior year, when the accident occurred. Eli, Mars and Blake had just left the movie theater, and were on their way to pick up Carver from work, when Mars (the driver) tried to reply to a text message sent from Carver - setting in motion the chain of events resulting in the three boys' deaths.

"Where are you guys? Text me back."

There is such character and emotional depth in this story, you almost forget that it isn't real. I really love how this author "Quietly" includes character diversity in his book too. What I mean by that is: he has characters who are gay, adopted, have parents with drug addictions and characters who deal with psychological conditions such as synesthesia and anxiety. He involves these diverse qualities with out calling attention to them. They're just apart of the story because they are, and that makes this story feel so much more realistic.

Admittedly, I enjoyed his first novel a bit more, but only a little bit. Even though both novels have similar topics and settings, they are completely different. What turned me off from this story was Carver's love interest in Jesmyn. I enjoyed their friendship and I think the fact that they remained friends made me forgive the fact that our MC fell for her so quickly after the accident, even though I could understand why.

Also, this book gets bonus points for including a character from his first book! I thought that was super awesome.

This story both broke my heart and repaired it- it really took me on such an emotional rollercoaster! Having experienced loss at different stages of my life, I was able to relate to Carver, and even other characters, in a lot of ways. If you have never experienced loss similar to our MC, and I hope you haven't, Goodbye days will surely show you how important it is to treasure every moment you have with the people you love.

Jeff Zetner's writing is lyrical and his story telling is both beautiful and memorable. When I first read his debut novel, The Serpent King, I was pretty sure I had just discovered a new favorite author. Goodbye Days has confirmed that.

**** I received an eBook copy of this title from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. ****
Profile Image for Stefani Sloma.
399 reviews117 followers
September 6, 2016
Just realized I never marked this incredible/amazing/SO GOOD OMG book as read on Goodreads.

This book needs to be on your TBRs. I'll wait while you add it.

Okay, so GOODBYE DAYS is a beautiful celebration of life, passions, hopes, dreams. It thoughtfully and honestly discusses grief, guilt, and the power of one's actions. It will wreck you and heal you at the same time, and you'll love every gorgeous word. Seriously, you want to read this one.
Profile Image for Inge.
347 reviews886 followers
April 2, 2017
4.5 stars

There are no words in the history of ever to describe how I felt when reading Goodbye Days. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by it, but I found it to be such a true and beautiful portrayal of grief and anxiety and friendship. I can’t imagine ever doing this justice.
“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

As I’ve said – before picking up this book, I had no real idea of what I was about to read. But it was clear from the very beginning that I had picked up something special, something that was really going to click with me. And it’s a brilliant feeling.

My heart swelled about three sizes every time I read about the Sauce Crew. The way I see it, there is something infinitely pure about a friendship between guys. There is no inhibition on being your true (disgusting) self. Sure, they talk less about their feelings, but there’s also a kind of un-restriction to completely be yourself. And I really found that to be true in their story, and I loved every single minute of it. These are my kind of guys, and at times I honestly forgot that this story involves three out of four guys dying, and when I remembered, it broke my heart all over again. Aside from these flashback scenes, their goodbye days and tributes were my favourite parts.

Zentner has a beautiful way of writing – this is my first book of his, but I was really impressed. It also really fit in with the narrator, Carver, who wants to be a writer. He used such beautiful words in a way that I never could.

I could probably gush about this for a while, but I think you’ll understand me better if you just pick up the book and read it.

Instant favourite.

Thank you NetGalley / Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy
Profile Image for TL .
1,823 reviews35 followers
March 12, 2017
“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what'd happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”

"Our minds seek casualty because it suggests an order to the universe that may not actually exist, even if you believe in some higher power. Many people would prefer to accept an undue share of blame fora tragic event than concede that there's no order to things. Chaos is frightening. A capricious existence where bad things happen to good people for no discernible reason is frightening. "

"Sometimes, though, you want to remember every minute you spent with someone. You want to remember even the most mundane moments. You wish you had inhabited them more completely and marked yourself with them more indelibly--not in spite of their ordinariness, but because of it. Because you're not ready for the story to end. But you only discover this when it's too late. "

"I dream about them again. In my dream we're together and we're doing something happy--I'm not sure exactly what; my dreams aren't always so specific--and I'm relieved that they're not gone. When I wake up, I beg them to linger with me awhile longer, but they don't.

As they have done so many times, they evaporate into the small hours' dark, leaving me alone with my wild grief. "

"I wonder if the actions we take and the words we speak are like throwing pebbles into a pond; they send ripples that extend farther out from the center until finally they break on the bank or disappear. "

"I'm a casual believer in God. My family goes to church at St. Henry's maybe four or five times a year. My dad says he believes in God enough to make himself suffer over it but not enough to make anyone else suffer over it. My belief has never been tested in this way. I've never had to examine myself to decide whether I truly believe that my friends are currently in the presence of some benevolent and loving God."


Once again Mr. Zentner pulls on my emotions and leaves me feeling drained... he hasn't outdone himself but he still does a dang great job with this one.

I have friends who I am as close with as Carver was with Eli, Blake, and Mars... if they were taken from me... I would feel so lost. And if it happened the way this one did, I'd probably be feeling the same way Carver did... wanting to blame myself while my friends would be telling they would smack me if I did.

This novel had me crying and laughing and seething in equal terms. Sometimes it was hard to see past what some people (Adair, Judge Edwards, Eli's parents, etc) were going through and into the hurt/pain underneath but as the story went one you get little peaks into it and sometimes others layers poked through.

Each Goodbye Day was beautiful in its own way and pulled different sets of emotion out. One in particular I couldn't see how it was cathartic/helpful until something else happened afterward.

I don't have the words to express what I wanted to but I would recommend reading this one.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,723 reviews464 followers
May 1, 2017
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this was a very moving book. As soon as I read the summary, I knew that this would be a book that I would need to read. Just imagine sending a text to a friend and then finding out that at the same time you were texting them they die in an automobile accident. Now imagine that that car was carrying not just one of your friends but all 3 of your best friends. Can you even imagine that level of grief and the guilt from knowing that your text may have been the cause of the crash? I don't think I could handle that know much less as a teenager. This was a book that I felt that I needed to read and I am glad that I did.

Carver is the teenager that sent that text. As the book opens, his friends are dead and he is at one of their funerals. His parents are out of the country and haven't been able to make it back to support him. He feels completely alone and responsible for everything that has happened. He does have a bit of support from, Jesmyn, the girlfriend of one of his friends that died in the accident.

This book not only deals with grief and overwhelming guilt but it also asks whether Carver should be held criminally responsible for his decision to text his friend. So while Carver is trying to deal with the death of 3 friends, he is worried that he may have to go to jail because of the accident. It is really not surprising when Carver has a panic attack when you think of how much he is going through. He eventually goes to therapy and I think that it is a really important part of the novel that is handled very well.

Carver and his friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake, called themselves the Sauce Crew. Carver and the family members of his friends get together to remember those that they love in what they call a Goodbye Day. It is a day to also get to know facets of that person that they didn't get to see. Each person shares different parts of themselves with different people and by coming together they can learn a little bit more about who the person was that they lost. These were my favorite parts of the book.

I loved the writing. I thought that Carver's memories of his friends really helped the reader get to know how important their friendship was and how big of a loss it really was for him. The pacing was very well done with some funny or light hearted moments showing up at just the right times. I think that this book really deals with some tough issues and does it remarkably well. This was the kind of book that I really didn't want to put down.

I would highly recommend this book to others. It was very emotional at times and I may have even shed a tear or two. I am very glad that I made the decision to read this book and look forward to reading more from this talented author soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Crown Books for Young Readers via Blogging for Books.

Initial Thoughts
Moving story that really made me think about a few things. A really good look at grief and guilt. I may have even shed a tear.
Profile Image for Jano.
644 reviews374 followers
March 28, 2018
Reseña completa: http://elcaosliterario.blogspot.com.e...

Lo primero que me llamó la atención fue la sinopsis que aparecía en la contraportada del libro y que en realidad no eran más que dos preguntas (la interior sí era mas larga). Fue esta sencillez y la temática lo que me atrajo para hacerme con un ejemplar y poder conocer esta historia.

Es un libro que se lee bastante rápido y está bien escrito. Hay varias citas y reflexiones muy buenas, se nota que el autor escribe canciones y tiende a una parte más poética y melancólica.

Está escrito en primera persona por Carver y esto ayuda a que el lector conozca de primera mano su miedo, sentimiento de culpabilidad y su bondad.

Me gustaron mucho las reflexiones que se hacen sobre la muerte y el duelo y la manera de vivir con ello por parte de todos los personajes de esta historia. Cada uno lo afronta de una manera muy diferente.

Algo que me pareció absurdo es que quisieran culpar al protagonista de la muerte de sus tres amigos por enviar un mensaje de texto al que conducía (no es spoiler, el libro empieza así y está en la sinopsis de la solapa). No soy especialista en temas legales pero la lógica me dice que el culpable es el irresponsable que lo lee mientras conduce.

Sinceramente no esperaba tanto de este libro y me ha sorprendido porque me he encontrado con una historia muy interesante y que se desarrolla muy bien. También es cierto que las últimas páginas se hacían un poco pesadas y en ocasiones poco creíbles, pero esto no ha empañado lo bueno que es el resto del libro.

En resumen, un libro para reflexionar sobre la muerte de un allegado y las diferentes formas de enfrentarse a ello. Terapia emocional, revivir recuerdos, despedidas a modo de homenaje y mucho más en esta historia poco común pero muy interesante.
Profile Image for joey (thoughts and afterthoughts).
139 reviews142 followers
February 20, 2017
This. Fucking. Book:

(i) began with a punch to the gut;
(ii) showcases a brotherhood with authentic [bro] shit talking;
(iii) is set in the same-ish community as The Serpent King, including a cameo from a character from Zentner's prior story (I lost my shit when this scene happened, okay?);
(iv) kept kicking me while I was already on the ground resuming the fetal position;
(v) commands the formulaic "rule of three" trope with bittersweet effusiveness with events that never felt convoluted;
(vi) does skimp on some narrative threads that read open-ended for my tastes;
(vii) features familial relationships = the unicorns in YA fiction;
(viii) offers an incredible teenage [boy] voice full of life;
(ix) for me, was better than The Serpent King;
(x) pulls this shit on you:
"For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.

Fucking Zentner has done it again.

Full review to come after I stew on my feels. Hype.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,712 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.