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Where are you guys? Text me back. That's the last message Carver Briggs will ever send his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. He never thought that it would lead to their death. 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? "Jeff Zentner, you perfectly fill the John-Green-sized hole in our heart." --Justine Magazine "Evocative, heartbreaking, and beautifully written." --Buzzfeed "Masterful." --TeenVogue.com "Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you." --Becky Albertalli, Morris Award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
- ISBN-13: 9780553524062
- ISBN-10: 0553524062
- Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 416
- Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-09
- Reviewer: Staff
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 hes having debilitating panic attacks. When one friends 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 Carvers 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 14up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Art in the aftermath
It was just another late summer day before the start of senior year at Nashville’s Academy for the Arts. Carver was eager to meet up with his best friends Mars, Blake and Eli to celebrate their end-of-summer traditions. So he sent Mars a text: “Where are you guys? Text me back.” And in an instant, his friends’ lives were over—and Carver’s was destroyed.
After all three boys are killed in a car accident caused, in all likelihood, by Mars’ attempt to text Carver a response, Carver is left with little but a series of increasingly scary panic attacks. Eli’s twin sister despises him, Mars’ powerful father threatens to press charges, and even his new friendship with Eli’s girlfriend is far from uncomplicated. When Blake’s grandma suggests that Carver join her in a “goodbye day” to share their memories of Blake, Carver wonders whether this might be an opportunity for healing or just a route to more pain.
Carver is an aspiring author, so storytelling plays a central role in his grief and recovery. Morris Award-winning author Jeff Zentner, a talented musician and songwriter, suffuses his new novel with all kinds of art forms, from Eli’s music to Mars’ illustrations to Blake’s zany but brave form of comedy. Fans of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places will find much to ponder in Goodbye Days’ sensitive exploration of loss and strong sense of place.