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Goodbye Days
Cover of Goodbye Days
Goodbye Days
The heart-breaking and at times humorous look at one teen's life after the death of his best friends and how he navigates through the guilt and pain by celebrating their lives—and ultimately learns to forgive himself.
What would you say if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?
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 an inane 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. Eli's twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. Even worse, Mars's father, a powerful judge, pressures the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver's actions.
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?
The heart-breaking and at times humorous look at one teen's life after the death of his best friends and how he navigates through the guilt and pain by celebrating their lives—and ultimately learns to forgive himself.
What would you say if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?
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 an inane 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. Eli's twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. Even worse, Mars's father, a powerful judge, pressures the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver's actions.
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?
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About the Author-
  • JEFF ZENTNER is the acclaimed author of The Serpent King. In addition to writing, he is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. Goodbye Days is his love letter to the city of Nashville and the talented people who populate it. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. You can follow him on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter at @jeffzentner.
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.

  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly "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."
  • Starred Review, Booklist "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."
  • Kirkus Reviews "[A] novel full of wisdom."
  • School Library Journal "[The] kind of intelligent, intense, and life-affirming tale that will resonate with teens seeking depth and honesty."
  • The Horn Book Magazine "Zentner skillfully . . . depicts his protagonist's inner turmoil and the beginnings of his recovery in a frequently raw narrative."
  • Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything "A gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming meditation on grief and forgiveness . . ."
  • Becky Albertalli, author of Morris Award winner Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda "Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you."
  • John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award and William C. Morris Award PRAISE FOR The Serpent King:

    "Zentner's prose wraps you up like a warm, Southern hug and packs the punches of a sweaty country brawl ... The Serpent King is a debut you won't be able to resist or forget. The Southern Boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page."
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