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.Hardcover, 400 pages
Five stars: A beautiful, emotional and haunting story about losing a loved one to suicide.
Lex feels like she is stumbling through her days. Nothing has been right since that fateful night when her brother, Ty, shot himself in the garage. Ty left behind a small sticky note, an endless ocean of grief, accompanied by guilt and so many unanswered questions. Lex is haunted by his last text message, the one she was too busy to answer, the one she ignored, the one that might have changed everything. Can Lex find a way to move forward?
What I Loved:
- I am not a reader who picks up sad, heartbreaking issue books. In fact, I usually avoid them at all costs because I don't like getting my heart torn out. When I found out that Cynthia Hand's latest book was about suicide, my instinct was to run far away, but I know what a brilliant author Ms. Hand is so I took a chance. In the end, I am truly am grateful that I went on this journey. The Last Time We Same Goodbye is a moving, poignant and heartbreaking story about grief, loss and guilt. It is a must read for anyone who has experienced the abrupt loss of a loved one. This is a book that nails the emotions and you can tell that the author has first hand experience with grief. This is a remarkable and moving book that I highly recommend.
- There were many things I loved about Lex. I loved that she wasn't your typical teenage girl. Lex is a senior in high school and a brilliant mathematician. She thrives on equations, classical music and scientific evidence. I admired her intelligence, and I loved that she didn't seem to struggle too hard with fitting in, she was comfortable in her skin, that is until the death of her brother. As Lex struggles with her grief, it is frustrating to see her shove away her friends and everything she used to love, but her reactions and emotions are true to life. Her journey is heartbreaking and sad, but in the end, I was pleased to see that she was once again starting to see a sliver of sunshine.
- Suicide is a tough topic, and it isn't one that is easy to read about. I appreciated that Ms. Hand took us through all the emotions of a family trying to pick up the pieces after suicide. It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but then to have it be by their own hand, is even worse. Imagine knowing that you might have been able to stop it but didn't? That is what Lex must live with for the rest of her life. The hardest part though, is never understanding why. I kept reading hoping that there would be this big revelation that explained why Ty took his life, but it never really comes, and that is okay, because it is realistic. So many families are devastated by a suicide and they struggle to understand the why and how, and in the end, they may never fully get why their love one chose to die. I thought Ms. Hand handled this topic beautifully and the more I read, the more I was convinced that she had first hand knowledge. Her author's note at the end explains it all. I applaud her for writing this novel.
- This book was all about relationships. It explores the tough aftermath of a family torn apart by divorce. I appreciated that once again, Ms. Hand kept it real when dealing with the relationships, especially with Lex and her father. I liked the movement that it took, but I also appreciated that it didn't turn out all rosy and happy. It will take a long time for the family to put back the pieces.
- Even though the ending was rather abrupt, and I was left wanting more, I appreciated that Lex was making positive strides. Her life will never be easy, and she will always have that hole in her chest, but I was happy to see her coming to terms with her brother's death, and that she was trying to find a way to live again.
And The Not So Much:
- I read a digital advanced reading copy so this may not apply to the final copy, I was hoping that there would be a section at the end with a list of resources for anyone who might be contemplating suicide or for those dealing with the aftermath of losing a love one. I truly hope that the publishers will include this information in the final copies.
- As I mentioned, the ending is rather abrupt. The book ends just as Lex is starting to make strides forward. I wished that there was an Epilogue so I could catch up with her down the road, I wanted to see how she was doing in college and find out what happened with her mother and father, and her friends. I wanted more!
The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a must read book. For those of you who are like me and avoid tough topic books, I urge you to take a chance and pick this one up. It is emotional, moving and beautiful. It is a strong reminder to never ever take for granted the time you have with your loved ones as you never know when the last time you say goodbye might be. I wish I could properly convey the range of emotions I felt while reading this, but I can't, just read the book.
"That's high school for you, though," he says. "Everybody's caught up in their own thing."
"The people we love are never truly gone."
"Teenage girls are at the height of pretty, like flowers just as they bloom."
"There's death all around us. Everywhere we look. 1.8 million kill themselves every second. We just don't pay attention. Until we do."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.