Published on April 6th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Also by this author: The Serpent King
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?
I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Can you imagine my joy when I got an e-mail telling me I was approved for this book on Netgalley? I’M SURE YOU CAN. The Serpent King was my favorite book of 2016 so I had HIGH expectations for this one. Because obviously. Did this book meet those expectations? WHY YES IT DID. I cried my eyes out and am still in mourning for my heart that was ripped out and stomped on. Clearly this is how things will be every time I read a Jeff Zentner book, yes? But I will gladly suffer through it. Because it’s so very worth it.
Goodbye Days tells the story of Carver Briggs. His three best friends, Blake, Eli and Mars, died in a car accident. An accident which Carver believes is his fault. Because he texted his friends. And the driver was texting him back when a truck hit them. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident. There may even be a criminal investigation, as if working through the grief isn’t enough. Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to do a “goodbye day” with her for her grandson. One last day doing all the things Blake loved in his memory and saying goodbye to him. But with everything else going on, will it really help?
I guess guilt doesn’t sleep. It only eats.
Okay, so where do I even start? Maybe get my one itty bitty negative out of the way so I can proceed all the gushing? Yes, that’s a plan. So my only teeny tiny negative is that at one point something happens with Jesmyn and I thought it was a tad too dramatic and it wasn’t super necessary. But that’s it, really. It might be just me too so there’s a good chance it won’t bother anyone else and I’m just being weird about it.
NOW I CAN GUSH. By which I mean tape my heart back together because it is in shambles all over the floor. My poor heart couldn’t handle the feels. If you’re a crybaby like I am, do not read this book in public unless you don’t mind being a blubbering sobbing mess in front of strangers who will wonder whut in the hell is going on with you. Seriously. This book hit me hard, guys. Maybe because I’m very experienced with grief and depression. The way this book handles both is perfect and SO relatable and I cried lots.
I wish it would rain. Torrents. So hard it would cleanse me of worry and trouble; so hard it would lift the stain of death from me and carry it to the rivers and out to sea.
Though this book is kind of evil with it too, I must say. Because it does this thing where one chapter you’re in a supersad moment and it makes you all teary eyed, but then it shows a superhappy, hilarious memory so you’re all happy and laughing because friendship goals. AND THEN THE BOOK KINDLY REMINDS YOU THAT 3 OF THOSE 4 FRIENDS ARE DEAD. And then I died too. Every time. And Carver also kind of imagines conversations with his dead friends in certain situations and THEY ALSO MAKE ME DIE A LITTLE because dude, the friendship goals are so real with these 4. MY HEART. It’s gone. Who needs it anyway, right?
And yes, oh my god the writing is glorious again. It is so darn quotable that I want to just paste the whole book here. But you know, I can’t. So you’ll have to do with the few quotes I put here and then go read the rest for yourself. YOU MUST. Jeff, if you’re reading this, I adore your writing and aspire to one day be as amazing as you are. I bow down to you sir. 10/10 would let you crush my heart again. Anytime.
I also want to re-read The Serpent King now.
Now, silences feel like absences. Absences feel like loss. Loss feels like grief. Grief triggers guilt. Guilt is a scarlet anguish.
Oh god I feel like this review is miles long and I haven’t even talked about the characters yet. Okay so I’ll try to be brief. I basically ended up loving all of the characters. Even the ones I wasn’t really sure about at first. Except Adair. Still don’t like her. But I loved Jesmyn, Blake’s grandmother, Dr. Mendez and Georgia especially. All great characters. They have my heart. But Carver is the most precious. He is so relatable to me and I just want to hug him and wrap him in warm fluffy blankets. He’s a writer and kind of a crybaby and he’s funny and sweet and I love him. I really felt for him right from the start. He needs so many hugs guys. All of the hugs.
In the end Goodbye Days is definitely already a top favorite for this year for me. Written beautifully, as expected, Goodbye Days tells a heartbreaking and touching story about grief and guilt and friendship while also being an ode to Nashville. Most definitely a must read for 2017 for everyone. Put it on your lists people. You want this book.