Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Zentner
Synopsis: One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.
The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.
Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.
Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?
Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I enjoyed Zentner’s first book, but this one just didn’t work. Mainly, I think he tried to create drama where no drama was needed. Throughout most of the book, Carver has this threat of criminal charges because he was the one who sent the text. There is an actual case were there was a consideration, but it still seems silly to me and far reaching. Even worse that it was the driver’s dad who was trying to push it! Every time it was mentioned I was just dragged out of the book. I think Zenter has enough drama with just the fact that his three best friends were dead and the self-blame that would have already naturally been there.
There were def. some emotional scenes in there that totally tugged at the heart strings—the goodbye day with Blake’s grandma being the top. Although, I will admit the falling in love with the best friends girlfriend was a little weird. I could have done without that as well. There are some very strong features in the book, but for me it ultimately just didn’t work.