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Goodbye Days
Cover of Goodbye Days
Goodbye Days
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"Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming," says Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also A Star, of this novel about finding...
"Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming," says Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also A Star, of this novel about finding...
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  • "Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming," says Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also A Star, of this novel about finding strength and hope after tragedy. Perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Looking for Alaska.

    Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. But now Carver can't stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.

    Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli's girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake's grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a "goodbye day" together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.

    Soon the other families are asking for their own 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 a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?
    Includes the song "The Motion of the Earth" by Jeff Zentner, performed by Jeff Zentner and Elin Palmer

    "One of the most stunningly heartfelt, lump-in-your-throat novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you." —Becky Albertalli, author of Morris Award winner Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
    "Tender, honest, moving, and lyrical. His characters live and breathe. Ahh, lucky me. Lucky us. Zentner is the real thing." Benjamin Alire Sáenz, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and Printz Honor winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter One

    Depending on who—­sorry, whom—­you ask, I may have killed my three best friends.

    If you ask Blake Lloyd's grandma, Nana Betsy, I think she'd say no. That's because when she first saw me earlier today, she grabbed me in a huge, tearful hug and whispered in my ear: "You are not responsible for this, Carver Briggs. God knows it and so do I." And Nana Betsy tends to say what she thinks. So there's that.

    If you ask Eli Bauer's parents, Dr. Pierce Bauer and Dr. Melissa Rubin-­Bauer, I expect they'd say maybe. When I saw them today, they each looked me in the eyes and shook my hand. In their faces, I saw more bereavement than anger. I sensed their desolation in the weakness of their handshakes. And I'm guessing part of their fatigue was over whether to hold me accountable in some way for their loss. So they go down as a maybe. Their daughter, Adair? Eli's twin? We used to be friends. Not like Eli and I were, but friends. I'd say she's a "definitely" from the way she glowers at me as if she wishes I'd been in the car too. She was doing just that a few minutes ago, while talking with some of our classmates attending the funeral.

    Then there's Judge Frederick Douglass Edwards and his ex-­wife, Cynthia Edwards. If you ask them if I killed their son, Thurgood Marshall "Mars" Edwards, I expect you'd hear a firm "probably." When I saw Judge Edwards today, he towered over me, immaculately dressed as always. Neither of us spoke for a while. The air between us felt hard and rough as stone. "It's good to see you, sir," I said finally, and extended my sweating hand.

    "None of this is good," he said in his kingly voice, jaw muscles clenching, looking above me. Beyond me. As though he thought if he could persuade himself of my insignificance, he could persuade himself that I had nothing to do with his son's death. He shook my hand like it was both his duty and his only way of hurting me.

    Then there's me. I would tell you that I definitely killed my three best friends.

    Not on purpose. I'm pretty sure no one thinks I did it on purpose; that I slipped under their car in the dead of night and severed the brake lines. No, here's the cruel irony for the writer I am: I wrote them out of existence. Where are you guys? Text me back. Not a particularly good or creative text message. But they found Mars's phone (Mars was driving) with a half-­composed text responding to me, just as I requested. It looks like that was what he was working on when he slammed into the rear of a stopped semi on the highway at almost seventy miles per hour. The car went under the trailer, shearing off the top.

    Am I certain that it was my text message that set into motion the chain of events that culminated in my friends' deaths? No. But I'm sure enough.

    I'm numb. Blank. Not yet in the throes of the blazing, ringing pain I'm certain waits for me in the unrolling days ahead. It's like once when I was chopping onions to help my mom in the kitchen. The knife slipped and I sliced open my hand. There was this pause in my brain as if my body needed to figure out it had been cut. I knew two things right then: (1) I felt only a quick strike and a dull throbbing. But the pain was coming. Oh, was it coming. And (2) I knew that in a second or two, I was about to start raining blood all over my mom's favorite bamboo cutting board (yes, people can form deep emotional attachments to cutting boards; no, I don't get it so don't ask).

    So I sit at Blake Lloyd's funeral and wait for the pain. I wait to start bleeding all over everything.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 9, 2017
    Carver Briggs already feels responsible when his three best friends are killed in a car accident after he sent a “Where are you guys?” text message to the driver. Now it seems as though the whole town wants him to be prosecuted, and he’s having debilitating panic attacks. When one friend’s grandmother suggests they pay tribute to the deceased by spending a “goodbye day” swapping stories and doing what he loved, Carver finds a cathartic way to atone for his perceived sins. From the opening line, Zentner (The Serpent King) expertly channels Carver’s distinctive voice as a 17-year-old writer turned “funeral expert” who argues with himself about girls and retains glimmers of easy wit despite the weight of his grief and guilt. Flashbacks and daydreams capture the jovial spirit of the four members of the so-called Sauce Crew, glimpses of sophomore shenanigans interspersed with poignant admissions only best friends would share. 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. Ages 14–up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Michael Crouch's tonal changes are crucial to the story of Carver, a 17-year-old whose texting has contributed to the death of his three best friends. Crouch expresses Carver's regret and grief. Fear adds to this uncomfortable mix when a judge, one of the boys' fathers, demands a criminal investigation. Crouch relieves Carver's anguish with glints of humor that are fully realized in the flashbacks of his adventures with his friends. Crouch equally succeeds with the secondary characters. There is wisdom from his therapist and solace in his family--and from Jesmyn, the girlfriend of one of his friends. As Carver spends three "goodbye days" with his friends' families, there are heartbreaking contrasts of anger and forgiveness. Crouch's shifting tones highlight the many aspects of grief and the power of connection. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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