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Goodbye Days Kindle Edition
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An Indie Next List Selection
"Zentner does an excellent job in creating empathetic characters, especially his protagonist Carver, a budding writer whose first-person account of his plight is artful evidence of his talent."—Booklist, Starred
"Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events."—Publishers Weekly, Starred
"[E]xquisite and tragic." –Shelf Awareness, Starred
"[A] novel full of wisdom." —Kirkus
"[The] kind of intelligent, intense, and life-affirming tale that will resonate with teens seeking depth and honesty." —SLJ
"An organic, frequently raw narrative." –Horn Book
"Tissues not optional." —The Bulletin
Praise for Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King
A William C. Morris Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A BuzzFeed Best YA Book of the Year
An Indie Next List Top Ten Selection
A Paste Magazine and popcrush.com Most Anticipated YA Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Flying Start
"Move over, John Green; Zentner is coming for you." —The New York Public Library
“Will fill the infinite space that was left in your chest after you finished The Perks ofBeing a Wallflower.” —BookRiot.com
“A story about friendship, family and forgiveness, it’s as funny and witty as it is utterly heartbreaking.” —PasteMagazine.com
“A brutally honest portrayal of teen life . . . [and] a love letter to the South from a man who really understands it.” —Mashable.com
“Zentner’s great achievement — particularly impressive for a first novel — is to make us believe three such different people could be friends. He also manages to blend a dank, oppressive, Flannery O’Connor-esque sense of place with humor and optimism .... I adored all three of these characters and the way they talked to and loved one another.” —New York Times Book Review
From School Library Journal
- ASIN : B01GYPT6WW
- Publisher : Crown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 7, 2017)
- Publication date : March 7, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 5632 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 411 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #516,983 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Carver Briggs is attending the funerals of his three best friends. He wasn't involved in their accident but feels wholly responsible. Goodbye Days takes place after the months of the accident. Jeff writes grief like I've never read before. You can't help but ache for Carver, Nana Betsy and Jesmyn. Their loss is so severe that it was hard to read but I could not stop.
It's really hard to write anything without giving the book away, but man, I was hooked. I allowed myself five days to read Goodbye Days and I'm glad I did. I was able to savor this haunting, poetic and heartfelt book the way it should be read. You don't just read this book, you feel it. As a thirty-something mother, maybe it's my emotions that got me invested in Goodbye Days. The emotional connection I felt with Carver was staggering. I cried with him, laughed with him, cringed with him.
Goodbye Days is a book I wish was written when I was in high school in the late 90's early 2000's. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wishes to get away from the mundane overdone tropes of romance for something real and special. That's what Goodbye Days is....special.
6 ugly crying stars
Ugh, I don’t know if I was hormonal (I’m a girl so it happens), an easy cryer (might be) or if this book was extremely emotional (undoubtedly) but I cried buckets while reading Goodbye Days.
I was on the train and big fat tears kept falling on my cheeks, along my neck… I was sniffling all the time (how gracious I know). I tried every trick I know: looking at the ceiling to try avoiding the tears; blowing my nose at the slightest inkling of water; chanting “this is not true, this is fiction, Carver/Blade does NOT exist”; telling myself to “breathe in, breath out, blow slowly….” NOTHING WORKED.
By the end of the book I had puffy red eyes and a congested nose. As I read till the wee hours to finish the story I was sporting slits for eyes the morning after and yawning all the time at work.
Jeff Zentner with his Goodbye Days opened my chest, tore my heart out and scattered the remaining pieces all around the floor.
Blade/Carver had lost his tree best friends, the Sauce Crew in a car accident and he HURT all the time. Worse he was texting the driver just before the accident happened and he feels guilty. He is drowning in guilt. Not only survivor guilt but “maybe murderer of your best friends” guilt.
The “beat me up”, despise me because I’m undeserving of forgiveness guilt.
All along when I witnessed people conspiring against Blade, be it Adair Eli’s twin sister, Eli’s dad or Mars’s father JudgeEdward I really wanted to shout: open your eyes guys! Maybe he sent that text but the driver was a fool. He could choose not to answer while driving. He could have been careful and wise! It’s not Blade’s fault it’s Mars fault! How could they not see it? I was beyond rightfully indignant. I was MAD at these people.
Now I guess it’s easier to blame someone alive than a dead guy. With Blade they had an outlet. They could throw all their anger and grief to his head. They could hurt him as much as they were hurting. They could…
And Blade was crumbling under the sorrow, the guilt, the grief. He had panic attacks. He wanted to disappear.
This story addresses the topic of grief. All the ways people use to cope with grief. The sorrow, the anger, the acceptance and then the forgiveness.
The goodbye days were beautiful sometimes, dreadful other times or a harsh catharsis.
Blade was a generous and vulnerable character. He was gutted by what happened and wore his heart on his sleeve. Jesmyn helped him cope with the grief and she was a lovely character as well but Blade has a rare uniqueness in his frailty and honesty.
I loved Blade. Fiercely. Protectively. Utterly and unconditionally.
I loved Nana Betsy her strength and generosity.
I loved Georgia she was a kickass big sister.
I loved reading about Sauce Crew and their pranks. I was baffled when I read what happened to Blake and realize he still had not a bad word about anyone.
I loved Jeff Zentner’s writing, so realistic, sensitive and vivid. It hit every cranny and nook in my soul. It made me bleed out.
I loved…everything. I can’t fault a thing in this book. Because it made me feel. It made me hurt and smile sometimes. It made me fear the worse. It made me forget my world and live in Blade’s heavy world for some hours. That’s what I expect from books: to make me travel and experience other’s lives. To make me ponder and think on hard topics.
Jeff Zentner turned my world upside down and I need to recover.
Oh and replenish my stock of tissues.
And invest in waterproof mascara.
And sleep some more.
Goodbye Days is told from only one point-of-view - Carver Briggs, the boy who sent a text that may or may not have caused the death of his three best friends. The Sauce Crew. A group of four boys (Carver Briggs, Blake Lloyd, Eli Bauer, and Mars Edwards) who have been inseparable ever since they met. The story seamlessly weaves their history into Carver's present day. Their stories are beautiful and normal, young and invincible.
This book shows grief can come in many forms. Blake, Eli, and Mars' families grieve in different ways. Blake's grandmother wishes to celebrate the life of brilliant, comedic grandson; Eli's parents want nothing to do with Carver; Mars' father is a judge and wants to see someone blamed for the death of his son.
And all the while, Carver blames himself.
Carver, luckily, isn't left to handle his grief and anguish alone. I love that this story has a support system for Carver. He has his older sister, Georgia, and Eli's girlfriend, Jesmyn, who try to support him, even when, in Jesmyn's case, she's grieving too. When Carver starts experiencing panic attacks, I like that this story shows Carver getting professional help and seeing a therapist and I enjoyed reading his sessions with Dr. Mendez. These sessions are healing to read in a way I didn't expect. Dr. Mendez's suggestion to have Carver tell stories during their sessions seems kind of odd at first, but I loved seeing how all this fell into place at the end of the book.
There's something grounding about this book. The grief feels real. It's relatable for anyone who has ever experienced loss. I love that Zentner doesn't shy away from talking about religion in his books and in Goodbye Days, he shows what God means to the three grieving families and shows something differeint from all their perspectives. Does believing in God and heaven and hell make the death of a beloved one any easier? This book never makes it seem like bleieving is ever superior to not believing. Religion is woven into this story without ever shoving it in your face, because it seems to be a part of the characters. Whether or not the character believe in Christianity, in the end, the dead are still gone.
The last chapter absolutely just broke my heart, but in an uplifting sort of way. This book is heart-wrenching, and yet it manages to slowly piece together a shattered heart as you go through this story with Carver. I loved reading Goodbye Days. This writing is beautiful, and the story just hits you in the feels. I would highly recommend this book for all ages, not just YA readers.
***Thanks to Random House for providing me an ARC through NetGalley***
Top reviews from other countries
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 it all crashed and burned, literally, after he wrote them out of existence with a text sent to his friend Mars--the last words his friends ever see.
Carver can't stop blaming himself for the fatal crash and he's not the only one. But Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli's girlfriend, who is the only person to stand by him at school, and Blake's grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her--having him stand in as Blake for one last day doing all their favorite things so they can share memories and say a proper goodbye.
Soon Eli and Mars's 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 prison or a complete breakdown?
This book gripped me immediately. We were taken straight into the story line and I felt like no build up was necessary; we were given character foundations through flashbacks that Carver had. I just felt so sorry for Carver but it also made me think about my actions. Carver knew that Mars was driving when he text him and Mars went to answer Carver's text. Who's in the wrong? Carver or Mars? Personally, I text my Mom when I know she is driving, but I know that she'll reply once she is parked up. So does that make me equally as guilty as Carver? I don't know... let me know your thoughts on this...
I also loved how panic attack were portrayed in Goodbye Days, I think Zentner describes them spot on. I actually got quite emotional reading Carver have a panic attack because it made me realise how scary it is for the people around you to witness it happening.
However, there were a few problematic areas for me....
1) During one of the flashbacks, Carver and Blake are shown to make jokes about hanging themselves and they then go on to imitate cutting their wrists... This was deeply upsetting to read, because it shouldn't be used in a humorous context..
2) The second problematic area for me was when *slight spoiler ahead* Blake came out as gay to Carver but then Carver automatically questioned Blake as to why Blake wasn't attracted to him. Just because someone is gay or lesbian, that does not mean that they are automatically attracted to everyone who is the same sex.
So yeah, those were the two problematic areas for me that made me feel slightly uncomfortable. But this was a very good book and I loved the way Zentner showed that it wasn't strange to see a therapist to get some help. He made it feel normal (to a certain extent. There were a few times where Carver asked if he "was crazy yet?" that didn't really sit right with me. Having panic attacks doesn't make you 'crazy') Georgia - Carver's sister - also went to therapy which I thought was good because, again, Zenter showed that therapy was normal.
"But understand that young black men have no margin for error in this country. I had to teach him that. I had to teach him that he can be the son of a judge, but if he acts the way young white men do - the way his friends do - he will be treated more harshly. People, police - they won't see a judge's son. They won't see a kid who worked hard and mostly stayed on the straight and narrow. They'll see another 'young thug' - the term du jour for all young black men in certain circles. They'll go through and find every picture of him wearing clothes that are too big for him, or flipping off a camera, or acting like a normal, rambunctious young man, and that will be all the proof anyone will need that he got what was coming to him."
- Jeff Zentner, Goodbye Days
I have one more issue. It's not problematic, it's just something that i didn't like about the book. *spoiler ahead* I hated it. Absolutely HATED it when Carver started to fall in love with Jesmyn. No. She was your best friends boyfriend. You do not get to love her. It's wrong. It's so disrespectful to the memory of his best friend. And you know the most infuriating bit? I knew it was going to happen. Once they started hanging out and helping each other with their loss, I knew he was going to fall in love with her. And I didn't want that at all. I am so glad she said no.
However, overall this is amazing book. I loved the whole concept of it, I loved the message that Zentner was conveying, I loved the characters, I loved Zentner's writing style (apart from those few problematic areas) and the ending just made me cry. I do definitely recommend this book if you're looking for a brilliant contemporary.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review
• That being said, I REALLY REALLY wanted to enjoy Goodbye Days. I think Jeff is an AMAZING person, I love his writing style and this book IS THE PERFECT SET-UP FOR HEARTBREAK.
• I lost a friend recently. We weren’t ‘best’ friends by any means, but we were friends, and his death was so senseless and so reckless and it just shocked me that life could end that easily, and I really wanted to feel something with this book as the protagonist loses his THREE best friends.
• Goodbye Days WAS NOT what I thought it would be. For starters, I didn’t once FEEL that overwhelming grief that I wanted to feel, and that I felt when I heard the news about my friend. The book fell TOTALLY flat in this aspect, and more than feeling the grief, the main focus of this was getting back to ‘normal.’ It’s just how I felt – maybe not AS much with Carver, but definitely with Jesmyn.
• Another thing I couldn’t wrap my head around was Carver and his dead best friend’s girlfriend – Jesmyn. I would have liked them as friends, I REALLY WOULD HAVE, but I KNEW that he was developing feelings for her, and this feeling or wrongness settled around me that I couldn’t shake. I liked that they hung out, I LOVED that they had each other for support but it still felt all sorts of wrong to me.
• I did LOVE two very specific characters in the book – Nana Betsy and Georgia. Nana Betsy was honest and good and kind of an awesome grandmother (I went and gave mine a long hug after) and I FELT HER PAIN. More than anything else, I FELT HER PAIN. It felt like the pain I expected from Carver, but didn’t get. Georgia is Carver’s older sister and she too is all kinds of awesome. They made the book a whole lot better.
• I also wish we had MORE of The Sauce Crew flashbacks, and less Jesmyn and Carver (The Sweat Crew) because I feel like even AFTER the Goodbye Days for each of them, that I BARELY KNEW THEM, And HOW DO I FEEL SAD FOR PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW?
• Did I cry? YES. Big fat tears. This was a GOOD BOOK. It was highly emotional and DEFINITELY a good story, that I KNOW could have been better.
I would recommend Goodbye Days – it’s a thought-provoking read, but not as much as I would shove The Serpent King into your arms and faces. 3 stars.
Jeff Zentner is a literary genius. He could probably write a shopping list full of emotion and heartbreak.
But "Goodbye Days" isn't a shopping list. It's a story full of sadness, grief, guilt, mistakes but also about strength, hope and resilience.
It's the kind of story that puts you through a blender and when there are only pieces of you left, that's when it starts putting you together again.
Though the book primarly deals with Carver's guilt and grief over the death of his three best friends, it goes way deeper than just that. I've never been in Carver's situation - thankfully - but not only could I feel his emotions, was crippled by his guilt and his pain, I also could relate to so many other aspects that this book talks about. So many thoughts were expressed that resonated with me.
There aren't many authors who can do what Jeff Zentner does. The writing is lyrical, poetic and at the same time relatable. It's filled with emotion without being cheesy. It's atmospheric to the point that I as a reader could feel the wind on my skin, smell the autumn air and feel my heart breaking.
Jeff Zentner isn't scared of digging deep, exposing the vastness of human emotions, their flaws, their weaknesses but also their love, their strength and their goodness.
His characters aren't perfect - not the main ones, not the supporting ones. And with that they are extremely realistic and life-like.
I love how in "Goodbye Days" he took a devastating tragedy and wasn't scared to show all the darkness and sadness that comes with it, but still managed to bring humor into the story, an occasional lightness that gave hope, a love of living that was evident on every page.
I could go on and on about how touching, beautiful, amazing this book is. But I wouldn't do it justice.
So you should read it for yourself. It's worth your time and your money in my humble opinion.
6 I-didn't-want-to-say-goodbye-to-the-characters stars.