Cynthia Hand’s The Last Time We Say Goodbye is one book I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, and when I saw it was on sale on Amazon for $1.99, I grabbed it up. It tackles a tough topic, teen suicide, but I found it wasn’t as depressing as I expected. This is really a book about healing and forgiveness, and I think there is a message for everyone who takes the time to read it. Fans of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places will be particularly interested.
There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.
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.
From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.
I liked this book a lot. Lex’s narrative voice is honest and easy to connect with, even if you’ve never experienced tragedy on the scale she has. When she talks about the distance she has created from her friends and the concern she has about moving on but leaving her mother behind, it is easy to see the universal appeal in this work. I was intrigued by the addition of her brother’s ghost into the story – it’s pretty hard to incorporate a spirit into an otherwise straight read, and I thought it was done exceptionally well here. Real or delusion, he wasn’t a static character, either, and that made a huge difference. I liked the fact that the story moved between the present and Lex’s childhood memories, which is really what allowed him to become something more than just a concept. I was relieved that the bulk of the book was about Lex finding her way out of her mire. I kept waiting for the inevitable romance, but this book really didn’t cheapen either Lex’s experience or her emotions by trying to give her heart a distraction when she needed it the least. In the end, this was a cathartic read – I cried and laughed and felt at peace when I finished. Language and situations are appropriate from grades 14+.
This book is in our classroom library.