Books | The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

“Brave isn't something you are. It's something you do.” - Cynthia Hand

Rating || 5/5

Can you consider suicide as a sub-genre of young adult books? If so, then The Last Time We Say Goodbye is the apotheosis. 

This book has been passed around my friends. All commending it. It is a tidal wave of emotional turmoil, beautiful aggravation and haunting realism. They were right. It crashes into you, pulling you into its misery and pain until it leaves you curled into a ball covered in pink bed sheets, crying.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye follows Lex, an overachiever left behind, after her brother's suicide. She's trying to move on. She's moving on. She thinks she has moved on. Lex deals with the pain, the guilt, the blame. This book is not about the struggles of suicide. It is about the aftermath.

Perhaps why the book is so magnificent is due to its main character. Lex embodies the sarcastic intellect that Anatomy of A Misfit's Anika failed to be, and the guilt-ridden sister Love Letters To The Dead's Laurel should have been.  Her contemptuous flaws were realistic, her thoughts valid and emotions true. She was enigmatic, cryptic, human.



The other characters aren't as three-dimensional apart from Ty and her parents. Yet Hand uses this to her advantage. With heavy focus on Lex's emotional stability, The Last Time We Say Goodbye becomes something many books should be. This book is not a romance.

YES! It gets my point just by avoiding the girl-meets-boy-gets-over-problems cliché. I exhaled a sigh of relief, knowing Lex's romantic dalliances was not a central part of the novel. While it's present and plays a role, the book is ultimately about Lex and her brother.

The theme of suicide and its aftermath is explored beautifully. I don't have many words to describe it, because it's left me wordless. Hand writes with raw, unadulterated emotion that bleeds into the mind and heart of her readers. It's been a some time since I've read a young adult book this good.

So have you read The Last Time We Say Goodbye? And what's your opinion on the growing trend of suicide in books?


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