Goodbye Days (Jeff Zentner)

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?

HEY!!! I read this book as a buddy read with  Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much and Kat @Life and Other Disasters. Check out Kat’s review HERE.

I’m not sure how to go about reviewing this book, so I’ll try to keep it simple and on point, ok? First of, this was my first Zentner book, I still haven’t read The Serpent King, but Kat had loved it so much, that I ended up requesting this book from Netgalley, and I’m not sorry at all. I really liked Goodbye Days.

I actually loved the writing and Carver’s voice throughout the book. Carver is an amazing character, I loved this guy and the way the story was told. Even throughout all his pain, grief, guilt and fear, Carver was still a very funny and relatable character. That’s not to say that he didn’t have his bad moments, but he read like a 17 yo boy, and I loved him. Still, this book felt super slow for me for some reason, maybe I was just in the right mood for it, …

Either way, I really liked the premise and the plot. Grief and guilt are such complicated emotions, and I thought it was dealt with super well here. It sure as hell made me cry several times during the book. But I have to say that the “goodbye days” were weird at some points, and some parts were definitly not fair. But the thing is, it would have been impossible not to feel guilty on Carver’s shoes, and it’s also not fair to say that he’s blameless on this situation, but still, a lot of people put the blame solely on him – and I get it, he’s alive and the other are not – but from an outside perspective, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

I highly recommend this one, but be warned that this is a sad read, with heavy subjects, though the way they were dealt with didn’t make for a heavy book. Also, this book has such great elements of friendship and family, and those are always amazing to find in YA.