9 February 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Series: No
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Source: HarperTeen [Edelweiss]

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.

Cynthia Hand became one of my favourite authors when I read her Unearthly series. So when I heard she had a new book coming out, I desperately wanted to read it. I was approved for a copy on Edelweiss so I instantly downloaded it, and then I read the synopsis. The subject matter of The Last Time We Say Goodbye is something I have a hard time reading about now after a personal matter last year, but I decided to push through and read it, and I'm so glad I did. The Last Time We Say Goodbye may have brought back some fears, but it was such a beautifully written story and I found myself able to really relate to Lex.

Lex was a very realistc and relatable character. She carries around a lot of guilt because she feels like she's somehow responsible for a part of her brothers suicide because her brother text her that night and she ignored him. Lex is struggling. She's isolating herself, not going out with her friends anymore and she's closed off her emotions. She can't deal with Tyler's death until she works on her own issues and is finally read to accept what happened. 

I'm not going to go into detail about my personal experience - but I will say we were lucky and able to get the person involved medical help before it was too late. But, because of this experience, I completely understood Lex's guilt. Honestly, I still feel guilty almost a year later. I went through the exact same things Lex did: wishing I could have been there more and wishing I'd taken a bit more notice. But it's so hard to notice something when the other person hides it so well and you genuinely feel like they're happy. Lex is struggling with the guilt she feels; with the fact that her brother is gone; with her relationship with her father; with her anger towards her brother and she's also struggling because her mother is struggling. 

There were so many things I loved about The Last Time We Say Goodbye. I loved that Lex began to connect with her old best friend Sadie, and that they were both able to each other eventually. Both of them have lost someone in their family, and as sad as that is, it brought them both back together again. Sadie was exactly what Lex needed and I'm so glad they came back into each other's lives when they did. Lex made it a point to take notice of the people around her after her brothers death. She begins to talk to other people around her, and she begins to take notice of one of Ty's old friends that she hasn't spoken to in years. But the main thing I loved about The Last Time We Say Goodbye was Tyler's presence throughout the whole book. Even though Tyler was gone, Lex and her mother both had times when they saw/felt him. Lex was also having dreams about Tyler - morbid dreams - that allowed her some extra time with him. Lex felt like Tyler wanted something from her and I loved her journey to piecing herself back together and finally being able to say goodbye to her brother.

The ending was even more heartbreaking than the rest of the book (which was also heartbreaking) and left me with tears streaming down my face. Lex reveals what was in Ty's text and she shares what happened with her the last night he was alive. Lex has been on such a huge journey and although the ending isn't a happy one by far, Lex is finally stepping in the right direction to piecing everything back together. There will always be a piece of her life missing, but it's a piece that she'll learn to live without but she'll always miss it.

Overall, The Last Time We Say Goodbye was a beautifully written story following a character trying to come to terms with her brother's death, and her journey to saying goodbye. It's a heartbreaking read that left me sobbing, but I feel like it's really helped me. Thank you, Cynthia Hand. 


  1. *hugs* I know it's really hard when a book hits a lot closer to home. But like you said, it was also refreshing because you were really able to relate with Lex. It can bring a bit of relief to know that you're not alone with your feelings and the way you deal with a terrible situation.
    I in no way can understand how Lex or you felt, but I definitely felt that everything Lex felt and did was realistic. And maybe that was because Hand put some of herself in Lex's character(did you read her acknowledgments?). Either way this book is fantastic and heart breaking and I will read it again in the future.
    Great review, Samantha! I'm happy to hear that this book was able to give you a bit of relief and help with your feelings.

    1. She just did such a perfect job. I did, and I ended up sobbing even more. I don't know if I'll be able to re-read it, but it's one of the best books I've ever read.

  2. What a great review! :) It's such a great book, heartbreaking, but good! haha