Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Although I’ve read numerous books where the main plot involves a character dealing with the death of a loved one, I’ve yet to read a book where the loved one is a teen that died by committing suicide. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand helps to fill that void in the YA genre.

While I would liked Lex regardless, due to her love for math and science and the fact that she embraced her nerdiness, Hand also made Lex easy to sympathize with. What really struck me though while reading The Last Time We Say Goodbye was how incredibly real Lex’s emotions felt - from feeling guilty about not having responded to her brother’s text the night he committed suicide, to being angry at her brother for leaving her family even more broken than it originally was, to distancing herself from her friends in order to avoid feeling any type of emotion - and how evident it was that she loved her brother.*

Given how common suicide is as a cause of death, I would have liked the back of The Last Time We Say Goodbye to have contained a list of resources for teens thinking about committing suicide or trying to deal with the death of someone who has committed suicide. As well, since Alexis was beginning to look forward to moving away for college and starting over somewhere where she wouldn’t be known for the tragedy her family experienced, it would have been nice to have an epilogue to see how she was doing after some time had passed.

A moving novel that explores the what-ifs that can never be answered when a loved one commits suicide and the accompanying guilt and grief that comes with their death, The Last Time We Say Goodbye was released by HarperTeen on February 10, 2015. 

Comments About the Cover: I like how the title is written on a Post-it and stuck on a mirror because that was how Tyler left his suicide note.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.

*Hand mentions at the end that her own brother committed suicide when he was a junior in high school, and I think the emotions that she personally must have experienced in the aftermath of her brother’s death were conveyed extremely well into the pages of her novel.

4 comments:

  1. Glad this was a winner for you Z, even with the few minor qualms about the need for a list of resources and an epilogue. I've heard that from a couple people, so maybe there will be a short novella or something that catches everyone up with Lex! That would be nice:)

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  2. I really, really hope there is a list of resources at the end of the printed book. This is such an important topic that needs to be discussed and read by teens. I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one.

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  3. Wow, I didn't know that about Cynthia Hand's brother. It really is such an unfortunately prevalent problem with teens that this sounds like a very hard, but necessary story to tell. I hope it helps some people.

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  4. I agree, that list of resources would have been a great idea, incredibly helpful. I'm glad you liked this one overall, the main character sounds like she adds a lot of depth to the novel.

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