The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand ~ Book Review

Hey guys, it’s Annike and I’m here to review a book that I just finished called The Last Time we Say Goodbye. Funnily enough it sounds very similar to the book that Zoe just recently read and reviewed called Breathing Underwater, as they both focused on the death of a teenage girls brother, so sorry to be a downer or anything but I really want to share this book.

23734451.jpgThe 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. 

What I really loved about this book, was the amazing message that it sent and all the emotion that came with it. Lex or ‘Alexa’ is the main character, and she is a kind of math’s genius at school with a lovely boyfriend and a mostly functioning life of caring family and friends.  The book is set after the death of Lex’s brother Ty, and Lex is obviously going through the motions of grief with the help of a counsellor.

In terms of characters, Lex’s mother has become a kind of distant figure in Lex’s life, consumed in drinking and crying. I loved how we were able to see Lex bring her mother out of her shell, but there were parts of the book where I was very annoyed at how her mother kept complaining about her life being over. Next came the people in Lex’s life before Ty’s death who she began cutting out after. Stephen (Lex’s former boyfriend) seemed extremely nice and caring, he was a good character but it was hard to learn more about him considering it was only until the end when he reentered the situation. Lex’s old friends, were almost completely shut out of the book which was sad because it would have been nice to learn more about Lex and her friends from before Ty’s death but that was only a minor problem for me.

Some of the other characters included those that Lex reconnected with after the death of Ty and trying to find herself. This included her former and first best friend Sadie, who while being nothing like Lex, was both supportive and friendly during the story. Then there were Ty’s friends from middle school, one of whom Lex got to know as well as Lex’s father who was rather estranged in Lex and Ty’s life and mostly hated by Ty  but still added a lot of dimension in the book.

I loved the mix of letters and storyline in this book to bring out the past and the present and a lot of the writing was really amazing. I did find it a little slow in the middle of the book and found it was most engaging toward the end but this story was able to focus very importantly on the issue of suicide and depression as well as being extremely character driven and this was something that I definitely loved. It was also very interesting how Cynthia Hand was able to make Ty a key character in the story with him popping up in Lex’s dreams and in her journal, but it made the story so much greater in the way we could develop a relationship with someone who did something so unimaginable.

And lastly, there was this huge theme of guilt in the book that was deep and while unrelatable to me, it was written about so well. Lex got a text on the night that Ty died, and while it is only revealed what it says at the very end of the story, you can almost feel this weight carried around on Lex’s shoulders.

Overall, I definitely and totally recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it. It is deep and thought provoking and more than anything it was just such an enjoyable book. As always, Zoe and I will be back soon with another review, hope you enjoyed x

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