Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: No series
Published: February 10, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
The summary of The Last Time We Say Goodbye from Goodreads:
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.
This book was hard for me to read. It was difficult because it felt all too real. It deals with suicide and how people deal with loss in different ways. It’s about moving on when it feels wrong to keep living when there’s a huge missing piece. It’s about forgiveness.
The book begins after the suicide of Tyler, the younger brother of Lex. No one saw it coming, but everyone recognized the signs after he was gone. Lex’s mother doesn’t feel as though she can live when she’s missing half of her purpose in life. Lex doesn’t understand how her life and the lives of everyone else keep going after her bother died. Lex doesn’t understand how she’s supposed to keep moving forward with her life when her brother will never get to live to meet the future.
There’s so much about this book that is important, it’s hard for me to find the words. My grandmother died when I was in high school, and that’s the closest I’ve come to feeling that overwhelming grief. I remember hearing the phone ring, and just knowing what my mom was calling to say. I cried a lot and made it through school before leaving for Nebraska to attend her funeral. I always buy two bags of circus peanuts on her birthday because they were always the treat she bought me when I’d visit.
I have a younger sister. I don’t know what I’d do if she was gone from my life. She’s in every memory I have from growing up. She knows so many weird little stories that come from traveling together. She’s a bright star shining for everyone around her. If she was gone, I’d be devastated.
The Last Time We Say Goodbye deals with those raw emotions, as well as the feelings and thought associated with depression and suicide. I’ve experienced those thoughts before. It’s a scary place, but Hand masterfully wrote it.
This isn’t the type of book where a romance comes along and that love helps heal the hole left by the death of a loved one. There’s some romance in it, but that’s more about forgiveness than love. There’s friendship and finding out who you are once a piece of you is gone. It’s heartbreaking, but perfect.
This book will break your heart. I cried and couldn’t stop. I felt emotionally raw after finishing it. Because of that, I think this is a book everyone should read. Everyone. Whether you have dealt with loss or not. Read this book.
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Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.