The Last Time We Say Goodbye
by Cynthia Hand
Publication: HarperCollins on February 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Death, Family
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.
What's amazing about this book is how easy it is to fall into. When I first opened the cover to face page one, I felt as if I somehow already knew Lex and was simply a friend sitting in during one of her therapy sessions. Throughout the book, Cynthia Hand's writing consistently remained easy to follow, easy to love, and did not disappoint. The author definitely has a way of spinning her words together, and with such a gift, was able to create a beautiful, contemporary standalone.
For a teenager, for anyone, really, Alexis is dealing with a lot in her life. There's a weight burdening down on her shoulders that no one should have to deal with: the death of a loved one . . . the suicide of a loved one . . . her brother, Tyler.
Though Tyler is physically gone, his "ghostly" presence is still very much alive and with Lex. She thinks she's going crazy, seeing flashes of him in the mirror, the corners of her vision, and in her nightly dreams. The reader gets to know her loved and deeply missed brother, Ty, simply through Lex's memories of him. Along with Lex, it's hard to believe he's really gone - he's really passed.
Throughout the story, Alexis is trying to come to terms with Tyler's death, trying to believe that time really does heal all. While Lex is recovering, her life does continue on, no matter how impossible that may seem. However, other aspects of her life suffers, such as her closest relationships with those she cares about. People like Steven, a boy she's trying very hard to not be in love with, but quite obviously is. His character is one that as the reader you can't help but absolutely love.
Now, however beautiful Cynthia Hand's writing was, it didn't quite touch me as it hoped it would. I think, perhaps, it wasn't the writing or the story that was lacking, it was simply my own personal life and circumstances at moment that couldn't enable me to feel the words exactly as I'd wished to. Books mean different things to different people depending on where they are in life. Maybe if I had come across this book at a different time, it would mean so much more. And unfortunately this is part of the reason why I couldn't quite give the book a five.
I don't usually particularly take interest in "journal entry books," but this one is worth the read. However sad Lex's terms were, it was great to come along on her journey with her. It's painful. It's difficult. It hurts your heart, but it's written beautifully and will ignite the flame of hope and promise to distinguish some of that aching.