This is What Goodbye Looks Like (Olivia Rivers)


Lea Holder watched a boy die in the same DUI accident that ruined Lea’s legs and threw her little sister into a coma. As the only eye-witness to the accident, if she tells the truth in court, the drunk driver will go to prison and the dead boy’s family will have justice. 

But Lea lies.

If she had told the truth, Lea would have put her own mom in prison for causing the accident. With the trial over and her mom set free, Lea attempts to rebuild her shattered life as she waits for her little sister to wake from her coma.

When Lea transfers schools, she finds herself in the same senior class as Seth Ashbury, the brother of the boy her mom killed. As Lea gets to know the person buried underneath Seth’s grief, she quickly falls for his quick wit and passionate soul. But Seth remains completely oblivious that Lea is the same girl who robbed his family of justice.

As their relationship deepens, Lea finally gets a taste of the love that’s been missing from her life since the accident. But soon she’s faced with a choice: she can continue her lies and accept the comfort it gives them both. Or she can tell Seth the truth about everything, and risk destroying both her family and her newfound love.

I read this book as a buddy read with  Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much and Kat @Life and Other Disasters, a.k.a., Three Bloagteers (Kat totally named us!). Check out Kat’s review HERE.

This was my second book by Olivia Rivers, I previously read (and loved) Tone Deaf, so I knew I would probably like her writing, and I was really hoping to love the story. And to be honest, I kind of did, until around 75% of the book, and then it crumbled in my opinion and I just couldn’t love it or rate it above 3 stars.

But I DID love the writing, though I still found some words repeated a lot. I mostly liked the characters, and I say mostly because even though I wanted to love Lea, I couldn’t for the most part, because I couldn’t truly ignore how sick I thought her actions were. I did like Seth though, and I liked his relationship with each of his friends, and how much they actually felt like a family, who protected each other fiercely.

I really liked Seth and Lea’s journey with their grief, and in Lea’s case, with her guilt, though I ultimately felt that none of those things were completely dealt with. While I do love the importance given to family and, particularly, to siblings, I thought that Lea’s sister, Camille, was given a weight that I didn’t particularly liked.

I did struggled with some of Lea’s decisions throughout the story, but most of all, with her reasoning behind some of those decisions. When she finally decided to do the right thing, I felt she did it for the wrong reasons, and failed (at a lot of points) to consider the impact of her decisions on not only her family, but Seth’s as well. I also thought she failed to see how her parents were dealing with some things, and she belittled their feelings about her sister, and I didn’t think it was ok.

I didn’t like the ending, at all. Not only did I not agree with a lot of things, but then it wrapped up neatly and so well (while not at all at the same time), that it felt unrealistic, and I honestly felt that it wasn’t the way that served the story better. I thought the goal of the book was their journey to being able to say goodbye to the people they loved and lost, but that turned out not to be quite like that. Some smaller things also bothered me, but they wouldn’t have made such an impact if I wasn’t already mad at something else.

In the end, this had a huge potential, but the last 1/4 ruined it a bit for me. It was still an emotional read, but it made me mad more than anything else. The book as a whole it’s still worth it, and I think most of you won’t have the same issues as me, not at all.

20 thoughts on “This is What Goodbye Looks Like (Olivia Rivers)

  1. Cátia says:

    You know I didn’t get mad at the end like you did (even if I think some things could have been done way better) but I still think you’re right in most of the things. There were a few things that should have be done differently especially in the last 20%. I still think it would have been so much better if it was about letting go and say goodbye instead of being mostly about Camille

  2. Kat Impossible says:

    I was more like Cátia and didn’t get as mad as you, but I totally understand where you are coming from in the end. Those last couple of chapters just switched the focus away from what it should have been 😕
    I am kind of in love with my creation of the Blogateers though. I like it hahaha

  3. Booklighting says:

    The plot looks really, really good – shame it didn’t end the way you would have liked, but I think I’d definitely still give this a go! Putting it in my TBR for sure

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