The Last Time We Say Goodbye

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The Last Time We Say Goodbye

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.

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Goodreads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

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.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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