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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publication Date: February 10, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 400
Genre: Contemporary

       buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Almost hits close to home. Though I have not lost anyone to suicide, I do come from a family torn by divorce and have a younger brother whom I love with all my heart and cannot see a world without him in it. So to read about Lex's story of the pain and trauma that rippled through her life after her younger brother committed suicide, my heart ached as if I lost my own brother. For those who have younger siblings, or any siblings, or have lost any loved ones, The Last Time We Say Goodbye grips your heart and tugs, and has you appreciate the time that we have with our family and the ones we love.

Powerful and painful that the journey through grief and coping is, there are lighter parts of this book that had me laughing and smiling into the pages. Lex's voice is magnetic. A math genius who packs a whole lot of snark. I'd love to have been her friend back in high school. She brings the story to life, keeping me turning the pages even when slow pockets came about. She brought more to the table than what constantly she stereotyped herself and her friends as: a nerd. It sort of balanced out the repetitiveness of the term being thrown around throughout the story. My only nitpick on this novel was the slowness in plot progression.

But where there is light and laughter in this book, there was also emotional turmoil, depression, and guilt that sifts around as the aftermath of loss. A family broken apart by divorce. A family broken apart by suicide. Feeling alone. Feeling responsible. The ache to change the past. The troubles and the grief that Lex goes through, I felt, was expressed realistically, seamlessly, and executed well. The raw reality that Lex struggles through is empowering and hopeful through the subject of suicide, the secondhand trauma that it causes to Lex and family, adapting to grief, overcoming it, and moving on. I also want to point out that reading the author's note at the end was eye-opening when looking at the story in retrospect, and understanding the story entirely. I went back after finishing and kept re-reading the text message Ty sent to Lex, and was a blubbering mess. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a wonderful, heart-aching, story of letting go of pain and sadness, but never forgetting the ones we love even when they're gone too soon from this world.

Final Summation: The Last Time We Say Goodbye crinkled my heart like paper and had me sobbing. One of many books with the focus on suicide, Cynthia Hand's novel still crosses my mind and brings my heart to ache. I don't think I will be able to forget this one anytime soon.

 Four targets slayed. An exceptional story that broke my heart.