Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
First published in March 2017
Tags: Young Adult. Contemporary
Source: E-arc (NetGalley)
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been a hot minute since I finished this book now, but I wanted to get the review up and oh lord, where to start. First off, this is just a downright tragic book. Don’t read this if you don’t want it raining on your face because I swear, you could cry through this entire book non-stop if you wanted.
I like sad things though, so I enjoyed this reading experience. I felt for Carver and I could truly feel and understand his guilt, even though he wasn’t at fault. And that’s where one of my main issues with this book lie. The premise of this story is that Carver’s three best friends die in a car accident because the driver, Mars, was replying to a text that Carver sent. This somehow spins into an entire case where Carver is being investigated for murdering these teens because he texted Mars even though he knew he was driving at the time. HOW IS CARVER AT FAULT WHEN MARS IS THE ONE WHO WAS TEXTING AND DRIVING. I refuse to believe this would happen in real life, but who knows, I don’t know.
Apart from me not being able to suspend my disbelief about that, I enjoyed the book. I liked getting to know these boys, who are now dead, through the “goodbye days”. My favorite goodbye days were definitely Blake’s (sob) and eventually Mars’ (sob again). At the time of finishing writing this review, Blake’s is the one I remember most vividly.
You get to know all of these people, and it hurts that they’re dead. I found the writing truly beautiful, the panic attacks super well done, and I’m looking forward to read Zentner’s The Serpent King, which is apparently set in the same universe as Goodbye Days. I heard a TSK character has a cameo in Goodbye Days, but since I haven’t read it I don’t know who it was. If you’ve read The Serpent King you might enjoy that.
All in all, a good read, even if I couldn’t bring myself to believe in the main premise. Let me know if this actually has happened in real life though and I’ll eat my words. There are some weird justice systems out there.