Summary and book reviews of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days

by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2017, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides

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About this Book

Book Summary

A novel about finding strength and hope after tragedy. Perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Looking for Alaska.

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. But now Carver can't stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation. 

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" together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.

Soon the other families are asking for their own 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?

Chapter One

Depending on who—­sorry, whom—­you ask, I may have killed my three best friends.

If you ask Blake Lloyd's grandma, Nana Betsy, I think she'd say no. That's because when she first saw me earlier today, she grabbed me in a huge, tearful hug and whispered in my ear: "You are not responsible for this, Carver Briggs. God knows it and so do I." And Nana Betsy tends to say what she thinks. So there's that.

If you ask Eli Bauer's parents, Dr. Pierce Bauer and Dr. Melissa Rubin-­Bauer, I expect they'd say maybe. When I saw them today, they each looked me in the eyes and shook my hand. In their faces, I saw more bereavement than anger. I sensed their desolation in the weakness of their handshakes. And I'm guessing part of their fatigue was over whether to hold me accountable in some way for their loss. So they go down as a maybe. Their daughter, Adair? Eli's twin? We used to be friends. Not like Eli and I were, but ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. Jeff Zentner's YA novel, Goodbye Days, explores this consuming emotion in an authentic and, ultimately, affecting way.   (Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Full Review (578 words).

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Media Reviews

School Library Journal

Hand this to readers looking to explore the somber and complex realities of life, especially responsibility, fractured relationships, and the butterfly effect of consequences.

Kirkus Reviews

A fine cautionary tale and journey toward wisdom, poignant and realistic.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events.

Booklist

Starred Review. Zentner does an excellent job in creating empathetic characters, especially his protagonist Carver, a budding writer whose first-person account of his plight is artful evidence of his talent.

Author Blurb Becky Albertalli, author of Morris Award winner Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
One of the most stunningly heartfelt, lump-in-your-throat novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you.

Author Blurb Benjamin Alire Sáenz, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and Printz Honor winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Tender, honest, moving, and lyrical. His characters live and breathe. Ahh, lucky me. Lucky us. Zentner is the real thing.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Texting and Driving

Text and Drive SignOver the years, technology has provided many wonderful enhancements to our lives. However, with these perks, we've also found problems. Perhaps we are too consumed by our helpful gadgets. It's nearly impossible to have down time anymore. We've forgotten the meaning of patience. Do we even still appreciate the peace that silence provides?

Cell phones are among the most popular sources of technology. Texting, specifically, is a major activity, especially among teenagers. According to Livestrong, "the average teenager sends and receives about 4,000 messages per month."

Many of us simultaneously love and hate cell phones. They are useful at times, such as when we are in emergency situations, but they also force us to be ...

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