Time has come to claim another Book Club entry!! This weeks I’ll be reviewing Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner.
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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Style and Setting
Goodbye Days is a contemporary young adult book. It’s a realistic story, so it could happen to you (if you’re very unfortunate). The story itself is original in its own way. The lost of friends or loved ones is similar too many others, but the concept of the goodbye days was something I’ve never heard of before.
I did find that the book progressed very slowly. Like for example the chapters of the actual Goodbye Days were extremely long, some over 30 pages, while the next chapter are 3-5 pages long. Maybe It’s just me, but I like to read chapters that are generally around the same length. It gives me an easy to know how many chapter I can read in a certain time, without having to stop in the middle of a page. It didn’t give me the chance to connect to the story and it’s people.
Also, I found the characters rather flat. Their reactions were predictable, which made the events in the story foreseeable. To clarify, I don’t exactly mean ‘flat’ like in the literature definition, but the characters are not original, they are more standardized, there isn’t really something special about them, nothing that makes them stand out.
Although I initially liked the idea of the Goodbye Day, but while I read it, it didn’t feel real.
Events and Plot
The story is told from Carver’s point of view. You read his thoughts and interpretation of the thing said. It’s written in the present, with flashbacks of before The Accident. The flashback only reason are to get to know his friends. which on some points were great, and others were very unnecessary. Also the chapter didn’t tell you when it’s a flashback, So I often had to reread a part, because I was playing with the wrong characters in my head, oops.
I liked the dialogue, it’s not ‘he said, she said’-dialoge, but a ‘he said, I though *insert sarcastic comment*’. It made the book more realistic to read.
The plot, well, it’s was very predictable. You know the outcome from the moment it started. But there was a little plot twist in it that I liked and mostly did not anticipated, so bonus points for that. It all adds up in the end.
Did I enjoy it?
I liked the concept of the book, I found the scene settings very fitting and realistic to the story. I like writing style. But the fact that the character were rather predictable, made the story a bit of a bummer. But the ending was okay.
Just a major issue for me were the endless chapters, I couldn’t connect with the book.
I rated Goodbye Days only 2 stars on Goodreads. Even though the average is 4.25, it really didn’t speak to me as much. So in general I don’t recommend the story. But of course I’m no professional, and every one has his own opinion!
Have you read the book? What did you think of it? Or maybe you have recommendation for me. Let me know in the comments below!
interested in my previous book review? The Rosie Project! Maybe some music to get all cosy with my October Playlist!
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