Author: Jeff Zentner
Publication Date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Blogging for Books program
Synopsis: What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?
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?
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I’m sure most of you already know how much I aboslutely loved Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King, which I reviewed last year when it came out, and gave the book nothing but high praise. It was not only one of the best books that I read last year, but probably one of the best books that I have read, ever.
So when I heard that the author was coming out with another book, which promised to be just as emotional (if not more) than The Serpent King, I was super excited to have the chance to read it. After all, when an author comes out with a debut novel that amazing, the second book is bound to be another perfect book.
And trust me, this one was just as amazing as The Serpent King. And, by the way? Tons more emotional. I’m pretty sure I had to go through half a box of tissues finishing this one, it was so good.
Goodbye Days tells the story of Carver – a teenager with pretty much everything he could ask for – good grades, best friends, and a family who loved him. With one bad choice – sending a simple text message to his best friend while driving – the car crashes, and his best friends are taken from him forever.
If that isn’t bad enough, even members of his family are blaming him for the accident – including his twin sister, who is trying to make him have a horrible year of school. Not to mention his best friend’s dad, who is looking into opening a criminal investigation against Carver, because he is completely devastated and believes that Carver should pay for his actions.
Meanwhile, Carver is trying to live with himself after the accident, waking up every day knowing that if not for that simple choice he made, that his best friends would still be alive.
This book brings a really heavy point home – texting while driving. We all know that we shouldn’t do it, yet it’s still a common occurrence with teens and adults, as well. It can cause heartbreaking consequences, and this entire book is one big heartache after another because of the result of the decision that was made by Carver.
If you’ve read The Serpent King, you know how deep and well developed the characters in that book were, so I can assure that you should expect the same thing with the characters in Goodbye Days. The characters here are beautifully written and I felt like I knew them personally. Jeff Zentner definitely has a way with words that make his novels and characters stand out so well and be heartfelt and memorable.