Tuesday, 10 February 2015

ARC Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Pub. Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 400
Readership: Young adult
Genres: contemporary

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.

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Heartbreaking. Authentic. These worlds immediately sprung to mind the second I finished The Last Time We Say Goodbye. I absolutely loved Cynthia’s Unearthly series so I had a feeling that I would love this book too. And yeah, I did. More than I loved Unearthly, even.

Lex’s brother died. He committed suicide and it turned Lex’s world upside down as it would anyone. Before she had her family together, a boyfriend, and like the synopsis said, friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. 

First, let me start with the writing. It was beautiful, absolutely. I loved that we were able to see Lex’s present but also what lead up to Ty’s death. We got to know Ty - through Lex’s journal that her therapist told her to write in - to see him and what he went through and what led to his suicide. While I don’t personally know anyone who has committed suicide, I know people with mental health issues and who have attempted. I know what it’s like to have depression and I know how hard it is to get through it sometimes. Cynthia captured it perfectly: the turmoil of the person that committed suicide themselves and the lives of those left behind. 

Lex’s pain and grief jumped out of the page at me, it felt so raw and so real. She blamed herself. She couldn’t cry, she couldn’t let it out, because no one knew just how deep her pain and blame went. She feels like she’s going crazy because she keeps seeing Ty everywhere, what she thinks is his ghost, and she begins to fracture even more. That is such a real thing, such a normal thing, but she can’t believe that and thinks she’s losing it.

I loved seeing Lex’s friends. All of their reactions are so normal to a death by suicide. They see their friend fragile too, like at any moment Lex could break so they treat her with a tender touch but Lex doesn’t see it that way. This is so normal, for anyone who knows someone that died. They don’t know how to react and all of Lex’s friends reactions in the book are so normal.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a book that is going to stay with me. It’s one of those reads that I’ll carry around with me and think about from time to time. It’s as much haunting as it is beautiful. It is about grief and loss and learning to accept it. It is about moving on as much as it is about mental illness and suicide. It was so, so good. 

*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* 


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