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?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner when I received it. (This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.) I am normally a lot pickier with my contemporary reads than I am with my fantasy reads, so I was a little nervous to read this one. But I was pleasantly surprised, because I ended up loving it.
One of the things that I loved the most about this book was how real all of the emotions felt. Zentner did an amazing job of portraying the myriad of emotions that someone, especially a teenager, would feel when dealing with this kind of loss –especially in this type of situation. Everything about these characters emotions felt so real. I cried multiple times while reading this one, sometimes with sadness but also sometimes because of the hope that started to develop throughout the novel.
Carver, the main character, was very likeable and well rounded. My favourite character however was his sister, I loved how fierce she was and how much she loved her brother. But honestly I loved most of the characters! All of them were well written, and it was so easy to feel what each character was feeling.
The plot itself was solid. This isn’t a fast paced novel filled with action. Instead it is a very character driven book, with a solid, if slow, plot. Since this book deals with loss in a very real way, I thought that the slow moving (and by slow I mean not fast paced action) plot was perfect. There were several other things that I loved about this book, two of the main things being how well Zentner dealt with the subject of therapy and anxiety. He did such a good job, and I was very impressed with how both subjects were handled in the book.
I could go on but I’m going to end this here. This is a book with a beautiful message, and I definitely recommend it. This one was 5/5 stars for me!