Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Inside cover blurb:

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

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 with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a 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?


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Goodbye Days was good, but a little underwhelming.

I didn’t even realize the whole concept of the book was the actual “Goodbye Days” until I was about 100 pages from the end….and it’s the title too. Oops.

My attention definitely waned midway through the book and it could probably stand to be shorter- it’s 400 pages. In the end, I’m glad I kept going with it. There’s no real resolution to the book, which is fitting because there’s never real resolution with grief.

The real hero here is definitely Carver’s therapist. Can he get his own story?

Plus: Zentner does a great job of setting a scene. I really felt the atmosphere of suspense and tension and I was anxious to know what punishment Carver would face.

Minus: Some YA books kind of feel like the author isn’t even trying to create realistic teen dialogue and this is one of those books. But once I ignored that, I really did enjoy the writing.

If you like this book, try:

Bang by Barry Lyga- Also about a boy dealing with extreme guilt from an accident that can’t be undone.

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