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?
Author: Jeff Zentner
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
No. of Pages: 405 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Depression, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction
Massive thanks to my friends at Penguin Random House International for sending a review copy of this book my way, and to Jasmine of Jasmine Pearl Reads for letting me in on this blog tour. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
Last year when I read Jeff Zentner’s debut, The Serpent King, I didn’t just relate to it. I wasn’t just moved in the simplest of ways. I was also left broken, fending for my shattered heart only with the help of my clouded thoughts.
On a more positive note, however, when I turned the last page of said book, I was also left wanting more. I found another favorite author in the form of a songwriting Tennessean. Jeff, through The Serpent King, made his mark in Young Adult Literature, and with his sophomore novel, Goodbye Days, he is further proving just how much he deserves to be known in the community, with his stories that deserve to be read and loved by all.
In Goodbye Days, the story was heavier, the feels a lot more intense. Seeing that this is Jeff’s second novel, I can’t help but compare this to The Serpent King, just like with Nicola Yoon when I read and reviewed The Sun Is Also A Star. Everything felt a bit more real, especially the grief and loss aspect of Carver Briggs’ story.
The way he was left to fend for himself amidst all of those who blame him for the death of his 3 best friends wasn’t just heartbreaking. It also gave the story a different tone of pain and suffering. This, however, might solicit mixed feelings from readers, especially with quite a depressing turn of scenes, but this certainly delighted me. It made my attachment to Carver a lot more genuine and sincere, even if he’s just a fictional character.
I, however, have negative feelings about Carver’s relationship with Eli’s Filipino ex-girlfriend, Jesmyn. I completely disapprove of this relationship because of obvious inappropriate reasons, and I can’t help but feel betrayed in behalf of Eli. I don’t know, though. It might just be me.
“All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. Carver’s voice shed light into a very depressing and sensitive YA clique, and I certainly hope to read more stories like this one that’s not just centered on how it is to suffer from depression, but it also highlights what it means to live despite our problems, and personal vendetta towards anyone.”
Characters – 4.00
Plot – 5.00
Writing Style – 5.00
Pacing – 4.00
Ending – 4.50
TOTAL – 4.55 / 5★
About the Author:
Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.
Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.