Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand | Book Review

Reading Group: Sensitive Topic of Suicide; High School+

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Synopses: From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a gorgeous, heart-wrenching novel of love and loss, which ALA Booklist called "both shatteringly painful and bright with life and hope" in a starred review.

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn't told anyone—a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
In the tradition of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, Gayle Forman's If I Stay, and Lauren Oliver's Before I FallThe Last Time We Say Goodbye is a thoughtful and deeply affecting novel that will change the way you look at life and death.

Cover: The cover of this book pays tribute to Ty's suicide post-it note that he left on his mirror for this mother.  It's a powerful statement given that the cover of this book is reminding us that you very rarely know if when you say goodbye to someone, it is the last time.

My Review: I purchased this book a while ago, but then I kept buying more books, and so I have just gotten around to reading it.  This book was great, sad, but great.  I liked it because it felt very real, which is probably because the author lost her brother to suicide and even though she does say that the work is fiction and she is not Lex, I think certain things are just common to happen when someone you know has killed themselves, or just died in general.  
For one, Lex separates herself from her friends.  She's not the girl she used to be, and so she struggles to act the way she used to.  Her friends don't push her to be her old self, but there's a divide that wasn't there before and Lex uses it as an excuse to distance herself.
On the other side of that, Lex does reconnect with Sadie, whose dad died a few years earlier and therefore can relate to Lex in a way that her other friends can't.  It shows that it's never too late to try to reconnect with someone from your past, even if it takes a tragedy to get you to do so.  
And then there is Damian, who used to be one of Ty's best friends, the only one in their group who hasn't killed himself.  However, being that High School can be rough for the best of us, Lex is afraid that Damian may also be at risk of attempting suicide, but accidentally sends the wrong message when she tries to reach out to him.
Although I love a good love story, as many of you know, I really appreciated that this story wasn't one.  Lex broke up with her boyfriend after Ty died, and I was happy to see that she didn't need him to get through her pain.  She came to terms with it on her own, and when she was ready she reached back out, and at the end, it seemed like they would get back together (which I was excited for).  
This story is a little bit of a mystery.  Not the "Who stole the pirate's treasure" or "It was a murder, not a suicide"mystery, but the kind that I'm sure a lot of people in a situation like Lex would understand.  She kept finding things that her brother left behind - the letter to Ashley and the empty picture frames - and had to decipher what Ty would have wanted her to do with the information.  Although Lex could guess what he wanted and I think she made the right choices when it came to these things, Ty was gone and there was no way to know if the choices Lex made were the ones he actually wanted.
Obviously this book contains sensitive subject matter, but I would definitely recommend you pick it up this winter break. 

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