Book Review: “The Last Time We Say Goodbye”

Book thirty nine/forty of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

Cynthia Hand’s The Last Time We Say Goodbye

This book was a little hard to read mainly because of the central element of the story being about a teen’s suicide and how it affects those close to them. I think Cynthia Hand handles the touchy subject very well and really tells a genuine story about a sister who unexpectedly loses her brother. High school is hard enough but when your brother becomes “the kid that committed suicide” everyone starts to look at you differently and walk on eggshells whenever you enter the room. Lex faces a lot in this novel but that’s what makes her a great character.

I’ve said it multiple times before and I’ll say it again, I love character development. Lex’s character development is so well done in this novel. Saying it’s tough to deal with suicide is an understatement and you really see that through Lex’s eyes which made it kind of hard to read at times. Hand really did a great job in making the reader feel the pain Lex felt throughout the entire book so I was personally hoping that she would eventually get closure because I needed it too.

Something that I don’t like in books about touchy subjects is when an author leaves out details to “spare the audience.” I think if you’re writing a novel that has sensitive elements, it needs to be written correctly, no filter. Hand did that. If you sugar coat things or make them unrealistic, it’s not enjoyable to read. She didn’t sugar coat the story and it made it harder to read sure, but it also made in more enjoyable. Death isn’t an easy topic, but then again neither is life. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is about those not-so-easy topics. Lex deals with a lot of inner turmoil that in a way, buries her in a grave of her own thoughts and she has to find a way to dig herself out. Even though she’s alive, she’s dealing with death and how the moments leading up to her brother’s will never leave her.

I would recommend this book purely because of Lex’s character development and the emotional draw that Hand manages to accomplish with the story. It’s a hard subject matter, but it’s something that everyone has or is going to experience in their lives. Unfortunately, suicide is prevalent all to much in our current society and it’s not going to help anyone avoiding the topic. Of course, proceed with caution if this subject is too close to home.

This book completes my 2019 Reading Challenge. I technically finished the book in 2020, but I began reading it in 2019 so I’m counting it towards my challenge. I also listened to an audio book (Michael Connelly’s Two Kinds of Truth) back in August that I wasn’t sure about including in my challenge total, but after thinking about it, I did listen to the entire book and ultimately thought it still counted (if you disagree, keep it to yourself). So with that, my goal to reach 40 books was a success!

Thank you to all that have followed along and have read my reviews. I’m anticipating wanting to write more book reviews as I add to my “Read” list on Goodreads so head back here for more this year.

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