Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review of The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Title/Author: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Date published: Harper Teen, February 10th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

Guys, I don't read a lot of books primarily dealing with death, suicide or illness. I get a lot of that in the field I work in and when I read, I mostly just want to get lost in a world that is nothing like the things I see every day. But because Cynthia Hand is amazing and I absolutely loved her Unearthly series, I was intrigued and picked up The Last Time We Say Goodbye. And I remembered why I love Cynthia Hand's writing so much!

Yes, The Last Time We Say Goodbye deals with the aftermath of a suicide. Lex's brother Ty killed himself and we see her dealing and everyone around her dealing (or not dealing) with it. Suicide is a hard subject to write about in my opinion and I just want to give kudos to Cynthia Hand for letting me truly feel everything without it being only dark and angsty. Am I making sense? Obviously this is not a book full of bright and shiny things, and there's so much sadness, but it's not depressing. And in the end there's also a sense of hope for the future. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to write this book when you've actually lost a brother because he committed suicide and while this isn't autobiographical, I'm guessing it wasn't easy to relive that period in her life.

The way every person deals with Ty's suicide is different, but it felt so real to me. So Lex can't cry anymore, there's something blocking her and she has these moments when she feels a big gaping hole in her chest and I could imagine it being like this. But there's also guilt and blaming of other people and also anger towards Ty. And while anger towards a person who is deceased isn't the way society likes us to deal with things, it's just as valid an emotion as all the others. I mean, I get it, I get Lex at one point telling him he's selfish for killing himself.

I think Cynthia Hand showed the full extent of what a family member committing suicide does to you, it's not just family life, but relationships with friends and just the way people see you that changes cause Lex is suddenly 'the girl who's brother killed himself'. I would have loved for her to be able to rely on her parents while she was grieving, but her dad was barely there before it happened and she's actually more of a grown up at the moment than her mom, so there's not a lot of help from that department. I'm actually still really worried about Lex's mom and how she'll cope in the future.

So no, this is not one of my comfortable, fluffy reads, it's hard and sad and also really beautiful because Cynthia Hand knows how to write about this subject and make me feel all of it witout it getting that depressing feeling that I dread when picking up this type of book. There's just a beautiful sadness and an ending that left me feeling hopeful for Lex and I'd love to check back in in a couple of years and find out how she's doing. The Last Time We Say Goodbye also makes me want to hug my brother extra hard.

My rating: 4,5 stars


  1. The Last Time We Say Goodbye was a perfect combination of heartbreak and hope! Love Cynthia Hand's writing, and the way she narrated Lex's story was absolutely well-done. I really enjoyed this, in spite of such a sad subject matter, and I'm glad you did too!

  2. I loved this book so much, but, yes, it was hard to read. I sobbed at the end. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  3. Well, sometimes we all need to read something that makes us uncomfortable in the best possible way, right?
    it sounds like Hand did that here.

    Thanks for the thoughtful review.

  4. I can't believe I missed the fact that Cynthia Hand has a new book out! *shocked*

    While it's dealing with a tough subject, I think Hand really is able to translate it into words.. Gods know she could punch me right in the feels with her Unearthly books