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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days

by Jeff Zentner

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Originally posted on Between-the-Shelves.

Carver Briggs believes that he is the cause of the death of his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. He was the one who sent Mars the text that he was responding to when they got into a car accident, after all. And now Mars' father, a judge, is trying to pursue a criminal investigation against him.

Through it all, Carver does have some allies: his sister, Eli's girlfriend, and even Blake's grandma, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her, honoring Blake's memory. Soon, the other families are asking to do the same, all in the hope of finding some peace within the tragedy of loss.

This is Jeff Zentner's second novel, and I am yet again blown away by his ability to write emotions. The Serpent King (which I read last fall, but apparently didn't write a review for) slowly sunk its claws into you and grabbed hold, one of those books where you keep thinking about it for days after. Goodbye Days was no different. You start in the middle of Carver's tragedy, attending the last of the three funerals for his best friends, and are taken along with Carver as he experiences his grief throughout the novel.

Zentner's writing also realistically encapsulates anxiety and mental illness, especially with his descriptions of panic attacks. The way he introduces Carver to therapy is also a positive experience: Carver is hesitant at first, not believing that therapy will help. As they continue sessions, Carver realizes how helpful therapy can be, perhaps helping readers who might also be hesitant to see how helpful it can be as well.

Overall, I know that anytime Zentner publishes anything new, I will read it ASAP. He's definitely one to watch. ( )
  Amanda7 | Oct 12, 2018 |
Goodbye Days spent a lot of time on my tbr list before I finally picked it up. And I'm glad I did.

Goodbye Days was so beautiful I'm unable to phrase just how much I loved it. If I were Jesmyn, I'd describe this book as pinkish golden with dashes of midnight blue, but I'm not, and so I have to hunt for words to describe just how beautiful this book is.

The storyline itself it so amazing and thought-provoking. Being an avid social media user, I've never given much thought about texting someone. I mean, it's just texting right? But this book made me realize just how wrong I was. It made me realize just how many lives a single text message could ruin.

I laughed with Blade at all of the crazy things he'd done with his 'Sauce Crew' and I cried with him as he remembered his dead friends, and blamed himself for his death.

One of the things that makes this book so beautiful is how it makes you feel every emotion so completely. When it makes you laugh, you laugh so hard that your stomach starts cramping. And when it makes you sad, it does it so completely that you can't stop sobbing—and I did that at 12 AM, trying and failing to stay quiet as everyone slept. Thankfully, I live in a house full of deep sleepers.

Anyway, back to the book. I loved how all of the Goodbye Days affected Blade differently. How one made him admit what he felt about his friends' death, and another made him realize his own feelings and how another helped him finally put his demons to rest.

I loved Jesmyn's unique character and the important role she played in Blade's life, as his sole support and friend. I loved, how despite everything, they managed to help each other get through the tough times.

I loved Dr. Mendez for his skills, for the way he made Blade realize everything. I loved how, in the end, Blade's experience helped him too.

Goodbye Days was a book full of so many characters who each learnt something, developed some, grew some, because of one fateful day.

Goodbye Days was raw, honest and guileless. It was the story of a teenager, but not his alone.

This book was just—wow. I've written so much and I'm still nowhere close to explaining just how profoundly this book has affected me. This was supposed to be a fun read. A read to take a break from all the ARCs I'd been reading.

Instead, it turned into a midnight readathon, which ended with teary eyes, snotty nose and a huge jumble of emotions.

This review is way different from my usual 'style' and I suppose it is because unlike the others, this one comes straight from my heart.

Goodbye Days has definitely become a favourite, and as soon as I get my paperback copy, it'll be a prized possession, shelves between my favourites. ( )
  Swibells | Jul 18, 2018 |
When his three best friends die in a car accident, Carver blames himself. He was the one the driver was texting when it happened. Other people blame him as well, and the district attorney opens an investigation to see if he can be charged with a crime relating to their deaths. ( )
  lilibrarian | Jul 18, 2018 |
Carver (aka Blade) is reeling after the death of his 3 best friends.The boys are all students at Nashville Academy of Arts. They were all in a car together, he had just texted them, and the accident they had took all their lives. As he deals with his grief, his guilt, and his worry about prosecution.
When Blake's grandma asks Blade to have a "last day" celebrating and saying goodbye, he agrees and soon he is having a day with all three families.
Blade starts having panic attacks and begins to see a therapist. Telling stories is cathartic, as is his relationship with Jessmyn.
A touching story about living with loss and healing from grief. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 5, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Teenager Carver Briggs is mourning the death of his three best friends in a car accident. Unfortunately, he may have played a big part in their death. An innocently sent text is at the centre of the debate of whether or not he was to blame. It's complicated by the fact that the parent of one of the dead friends is a highly respected judge, looking for someone to blame. Further complications ensue when he starts falling for the girlfriend of another of the friends.

This was an interesting and enjoyable read. The characters were well-developed and the story move along well. At times it's easy to understand why some of the characters needed to find someone to blame, but mainly most of the sympathy falls upon Carver, who is going through hell, as he deals with not only his great loss, but the pressures coming at him from all sides.

The title refers to Carver spending a day with people who were significant in the lives of his dead friends, doing something with each of them that had meaning one last time, sharing things about them that perhaps the others didn't know. These are bittersweet days for Carver and each day brings its own particular challenges and complications.

The story is definitely an emotional roller-coaster of a read. I'm sure it would be helpful for young people who may be experiencing loss in their lives. In spite of a lot of the focus being on the dead teens, it is a life-affirming story. Those left behind still have to get on with their lives and find ways of moving forward, while trying to make sense of it all.

It is a page-turner, that as hard to put down in the end, and was a worthwhile read. ( )
  wcs53 | Jun 8, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553524062, Hardcover)

Fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Looking for Alaska will love this heartbreaking and at times humorous look into one teen’s life after the death of his best friends.
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. But now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.
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” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.
Soon the other families are asking for their own 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 16 Jul 2016 23:19:31 -0400)

"Looks at a teen's life after the death of his best friend and how he navigates through the guilt and pain by celebrating their lives--and ultimately learning to forgive himself"--

» see all 3 descriptions

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