Posted on November 29, 2015
Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Author: Cynthia Hand
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars
“You never know when it’s going to be the last time. That you hug someone. That you kiss. That you say goodbye.”
These past few years there has been a “death trend” in YA. A lot of books about death, suicide, grieving have been released. I wasn’t tempted to read them. Partly it was because this type of books requires some emotional strength from reader; being busy and tired in real life I tend to read more light and fluffy books. But the main reason was that I have a feeling that some authors just use these serious topics to “spice up” their stories, skipping past important things.
But I made an exception for this book. Why? Was it this simple, but instantly grabbing my heart cover? Or was it this beautiful haunting title? I don’t know, but I’m so glad I’ve read it.
This story is about Lex, a girl who’s trying to come in terms with her brother Tyler’s suicide. This is one of those stories that sneak up on you. It is sad in a quiet way, it doesn’t make you emotional wreck at once, but drop after drop it fills your heart with sadness.
This book focuses more on the consequences of suicide for those left behind. While Tyler was present throughout the book in Lex’s memories and her thoughts about him, this was mostly her story.
I’m lucky, and I haven’t lost anyone I loved, but I feel like Lex’s grieving was portrayed very authentically. She misses her brother, they were very close, and she loved him so much. But at the same time she feels anger, resentment and guilt over what he had done. There’s also the fact that people treat her differently. She’s now “the girl whose brother killed himself”.
I appreciate that it was her own story, it wasn’t “a boy saved her” story (which I see a lot in YA). We become witnesses to how Lex is trying to come in terms with what happened, how it finally all come to forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is tricky, because in the end it’s more about you than it is about the person who’s being forgiven.”
I also want to mention Cyntia Hand’s writing style: beautiful, easy-flowing, not too flourish. It worked for me perfectly.
This book made me appreciate what I have in my life. It made me want to hug my loved ones and don’t let them go for a while. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a heartbreaking and beautiful story; it’s not easy to read but I highly recommend it.
Cynthia Hand lost a loved one. She wrote a heartbreaking author note. I’m very grateful that she was brave to raise this very sensitive for her topic and wrote this emotional and thought provoking book.
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