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Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days

by Jeff Zentner

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Carver Briggs is a high school student at Nashville Academy for the Arts. He makes up one fourth of the Sauce Crew along with his best friends Blake, Eli and Mars. Carver's talent is writing. The cruel irony is that he just killed his three best friends with a simple text that said "Where are you guys? Text me back." He blames himself but he's not the only one - Mars's father, who is also a judge, is pushing for a criminal investigation into Carver's actions. But Carver's not alone. He has supportive parents and a supportive older sister. He's become close with Eli's girlfriend Jesmyn. And Nana Betsy, Blake's grandma, is on his side. Nana Betsy suggests they spend a day together sharing their memories of Blake and to say a proper goodbye. The other families want Carver to spend a day with them as well, sharing a side of their son they never knew, but he's not sure it's a good idea especially when Mars's father tells him he wants to have a Goodbye Day.

I knew I was going to love this book before I finished the first page. The writing was good and made the pages fly by. I enjoyed getting a glimpse here and there of the Sauce Crew - just regular teenage boys getting together and laughing at stupid stuff and enjoying life and peanut butter and banana milkshakes. I liked the idea of getting together with the families and sharing memories. I think this book is very important in this day and age where most people's cell phones are glued to their hand and their eyes glued to their cell phone. I felt bad for Carver. I felt bad for everyone involved. What a tragedy - one that could have been avoided.

Thank you to LibraryThing and to Crown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a hardcover copy. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Wow. While I realize that isn't particularly articulate, it pretty much sums up my thoughts on 'Goodbye Days'. This book should go on everyone's must read list.

The book opens with the statement, "I may have killed my three best friends.", and as a reader you are pretty much hooked from that moment on. 'Goodbye Days' follows the life of seventeen-year old Carver Briggs following the death of his three best friends in a car accident. The deaths were linked to texting and driving, and they had been texting Carver around the time of the accident. Jeff Zentner paints a horrible, but perfect picture, of Carver's grief, guilt, and terror that he might be charged with his friends deaths. The book examines how the death of three teens affects Carver, the high school population, and the family of the three teens who were killed.
'Goodbye Days' contains a lot of grief and sadness, but it also contains humour, redemption, and hope. While it is classified as a YA book, there is plenty between the covers to appeal to young adult, youth, and adults alike. 'Goodbye Days' is a definite must read. ( )
  calicok3 | Apr 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner is the first book I’ve ever received as an advanced reader copy to review. I was so excited to receive it in the mail! I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was an easy and engaging read but not typically the sort of book I like to read. I was impressed with the accuracy with which Zentner describes the process of grieving the death of close friends and what it’s like being at a funeral.

My favourite quotes:

“Tears streak Jesmyn’s face like an atlas of rivers. She holds a wadded-up tissue and dabs her eyes and nose, staring straight ahead. I don’t understand why I’m not crying. I should be. Maybe it’s like how it’s sometimes too cold to snow”

“A fly lands on the pew in front of me and rubs its back legs together. This fly is alive and Blake is dead. The world brims with pulsing, humming life. Except for in the wooden box at the front of the room. There everything lies still.”

The downside of this story for me was the obnoxious and crude jokes that were told between the friends during flashbacks. I get that the author is trying to get across that they were carefree teenage boys but I thought some of the dialogue was over the top and not how teenage boys actually talk to each other.
Overall, a decent story that I think might help some people confront grief or guilt in their own lives. ( )
  becomeless | Apr 13, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Mars, Eli and Blake die in a tragic accident involving texting and driver. To their living best friend Carver it doesn’t feel like an accident. Carver is the one who texted them. He struggles with grief while dealing with the rage others feel. He tries to let go by having “goodbye days” where each of his friends has a chance to be remembered.

Zentner has portrayed friendship with excellence. Each boy feels full and well realised, and their relationship to each other feels tangible. The grief shared by Carver and their families will be shared by readers as well. Carver himself is a little cold and sort of dull. There are thousands of aspiring writer boys in young adult fiction (write what you know etc.) and he’s just not as special as any of his friends or their relatives.

Unfortunately, there are some very unnecessary romantic undertones through the whole story. Jesmyn is a well-written character but from the second she meets Carver it’s obvious that romance is the end game. It’s not an interesting addition to the plot and at times overshadows the grief and friendship plotlines. Not every book needs to have a romance and someone close to you dying isn’t a great starting point for a relationship.

The flashbacks and the goodbye days were the highlights of the book with the plot of Carver being held criminally responsible coming in close second. Zentner divulges bits and pieces of each dead boy’s personality in a way that keeps you page turning to find out the next secret. It does feel like Blake was given more time with Eli and Mars having significantly less development, but you still want to know more.

The ending wasn’t particularly strong. I hated all the focus on Adair for her to be tossed aside. The ending should have focused more on Carver moving on (ex. applying to school, laying flowers on graves etc.) and not on a romantic scene between him and Jesmyn.

This was an enjoyable read, I wanted to know what was next. However, I couldn’t get over the romance forced into a story that had absolutely nothing to gain from it. It feels like a story that belongs in another book and adds exceptionally little to Carver’s plight dealing with grief and guilt aside from guilt boners for the girlfriend of a dead friend. It serves only to make Carver less sympathetic and fill pages.

The friendship is amazing, Zentner has a clear grasp of what makes friends and family special. Of how hard it is to know someone. I wish he had focused more on that. ( )
  Dani.St-Onge | Apr 10, 2017 |
I absolutely loved "The Serpent King" by this author, but his second book didn't have the same emotional appeal as his debut did. Even though I could sympathise with Carver's grief, guilt and despair at losing his three best friends in a car accident, I didn't like him as a protagonist.

I did love the concept of the goodbye days, a day to say goodbye and honour each friend one final time. I especially loved the goodbye day Carver spent with Grandma Betsy, who won me over the first time I met her. I did shed a few tears along with the two of them as they remembered Blake and said their last goodbye to him.

Carver's flashbacks gave the reader the opportunity to know the friends he had lost, share their escapades and see the close bond the four of them had. However, I thought they were rather immature and silly, even for boys. The relationship between Carver and his older sister, Georgia, was a highlight for me. She was such a wonderful character, in fact one of my favourites, and was so caring and protective of her brother.

Despite liking parts of this book, I found myself skimming large sections of it and was happy to finally reach the end. Overall, a disappointing read after such an incredible debut by Zentner. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Apr 4, 2017 |
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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)

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