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Goodbye Days

Review

Goodbye Days

Jeff Zentner, author of THE SERPENT KING, delivers another impeccable novel about loss and grief. GOODBYE DAYS follows teenager Carver Briggs after his three best friends are killed in a car crash. To make matters worse, Carver blames himself for the accident since he texted Mars, who was driving, right before Mars, Blake and Eli died. Now, it seems like everyone accuses Carver --- including Eli’s twin sister who constantly glares at Carver and Mars’ father, Judge Edwards, who is pressuring the District Attorney to open a criminal investigation against Carver.

"Zentner manages to display one of the hardest things in the world, grief, with enough hope for the readers to keep turning the pages. This book is worth the journey."

Carver has never felt so alone. Fortunately, he has found new friends in Eli’s girlfriend Jesmyn, his therapist Dr. Mendez and Blake’s grandmother. Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to spend a goodbye day with her to reminisce and have a final goodbye with Blake. Soon, Carver is being asked by the other families to have goodbye days as well. Carver needs to decide if these days are going to lead him to peace or cause more heartbreak.

Jeff Zentner knows how to write amazing characters. Carver is so relatable, and the reader can really understand and feel his thoughts and emotions. All of the high school students felt incredibly real. This group of friends will remind one of all their friends in high school. Even the characters who blame Carver, like Eli’s sister and Mars’ father, are never shown as malicious. These characters ooze off their grief and pain in every scene that they are in. This fact makes it extremely hard to not understand where everyone is coming from, a place of heartbreak. This novel has one of the best ensembles of characters because they are all centered around the one thing they lost, love.

GOODBYE DAYS deals with a magnitude of loss and grief. Due to this, the novel is occasionally hard to get through emotionally. However, Zentner manages to display one of the hardest things in the world, grief, with enough hope for the readers to keep turning the pages. This book is worth the journey. I found myself crying with sadness on one page to crying due to the beauty of this story on the next. Zentner created a knockout with GOODBYE DAYS.

GOODBYE DAYS is a must-read contemporary. This novel will make you reconsider your loved ones who you take for granted. Zentner gives insight to those looking to move on from a painful past. GOODBYE DAYS reminds one that even in the worst times in life, there are always reasons to hold on to hope.

Reviewed by Mackenzie P., Teen Board Member on March 27, 2018

Goodbye Days
by Jeff Zentner