Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye - Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye book cover
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.


Grief is a fascinating thing. There are many ways that it can affect a person, influence their choices and actions and be dealt with. There is no "one way" to experience grief, and the large collection of stories about grief is testament to its variations. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is Cynthia Hand's take on grief, particularly after losing a sibling to suicide. It's a beautifully executed, well-told tale that tugged on my heartstrings from start to finish.

Main character Lex is the type of gal who enjoys a good mathematical formula, works hard academically (and has the results to show for it) and believes that most things in life have a logical explanation. So, everything she feels after her brother's death? It turns her world upside down when she can't logic her way out of it. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is about how Lex is working through her grief. There are ups and downs, but it's all about the step-by-step forward progress she is making. Whether or not you wind up liking her (I did!), her experience is certainly easy to relate to.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye chronicles one girl's emotional journey as she grapples with grief, guilt and anger. It is a privilege to be able to walk with Lex, to witness all that she goes through in a portrayal that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Though it will be quite the sucker punch to your emotions, I highly recommend reading The Last Time You Say Goodbye and can easily say it's one of the most moving books I've read already this year.

Do you prefer Cynthia Hand's paranormal series or her contemporary novel?

Hands down, I loved The Last Time We Say Goodbye more. Even though I also love the Unearthly trilogy (Unearthly, Hallowed, Boundless) to pieces (and it even made me cry!), my personal connection to Lex was the clincher in my choice. Lex's story is painful; it's hard to go through so many different emotions, particularly for a gal like her. But there's something beautiful about watching the pain and anger break her open, leave her raw and seeing how that wound slowly, slowly, slowly starts to heal. Just thinking about it makes me want to hug Lex and this book!

43 comments:

  1. Leah @ The Pretty Good GatsbyFebruary 19, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    the Unearthly trilogy
    I knew her name sounded familiar!! I see these books a LOT at work and have heard good things! Novels that deal with Heavy Topics (like grief, for example) are seriously hit-or-miss with me: sometimes I'm all about them, others I have an extremely hard time bracing myself for them. Perhaps I should start with her paranormal and go from there?

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  2. Asheley (BookwormAsheley)February 19, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    I want to read this! I love these issues books. I'm so curious about C. Hand's contemporary. Glad you and Rachel both loved this one (:

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  3. This book still makes me cry when I think about, even a month after reading it! Cynthia Hand writes so beautifully and authentically about grief. It was an amazing book.

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  4. I feel the same way about this book! It was heartbreaking and beautiful to watch her work through and learn to work with her grief. I think I might prefer her Unearthly books, but that's mostly because after three books I was SO invested in that story, I totally cried at the end.

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  5. Love getting to know the person who is organizing all of this book-loving!

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  6. Nice to properly meet you, Alexandra! We seem to have a love for fantasy in common. I also write... but also have yet to make a decent habit out of it. *whistles innocently* Thank you so much for hosting the Love-a-Thon - this is my first time joining, and I'm really excited!

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  7. Hi Alexa!


    Wow! Hosting events?! That's amazing! What do you do as a host? And what events have you hosted?


    I love scrapbooking too! But it's such an expensive hobby >< How do you cope with it?


    I love purchasing beautiful stationery too! But I can't justify the spending to myself when a 90 cents notebook will do the same job ><

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  8. So exciting! And hey don't knock your blog name! Haha!

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  9. Last week, I decided to surprise one of my bookish friends with a valentine's heart. We have a few running jokes about Church the cat from The Mortal Instruments so the message on it was "I've never seen a cat look so self-satisfied." Thankfully, she loved it.

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  10. Name twins! (And my mom thought she was going with something different)

    Thank you so much for hosting this! You are incredible.

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  11. Uptown Funk is such a good song. Every time I hear it I want to dance! This is going to be a fun weekend, even if I am participating from my car!

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  12. Oops! The link for Cover to Cover is also linked to the blog under it.

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  13. Thanks a lot for hosting this Alexa!This is my first Love a thon,and I am quite excited!

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  14. Thanks so much for all your hard work Alexa!! I love this idea, and I can't wait to do all the challenges. Uptown Funk is such a great song! I loved ACOTAR too, it was amazing <33 I need Queen of Shadows yesterday... It was so nice getting to know a bit more about you :)

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  15. Yes, Uptown Funk is a great song to dance to! Thanks for hosting such a wonderful idea - my first Love a Thon and I enjoy it so much! Can't wait to see your other posts go up!

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  16. Lynsey Zili RobinsonFebruary 21, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Ooh fab choices! The Orphan Queen was my W.O.W this week, so I'm very excited about this one :) I'm loving all the new fantasy stuff coming out this year. Zili

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  17. Uptown Funk is currently my jam right now and can I join the Reagan - Lilah - Alexa crew please? Thanks for hosting again Alexa! This event is so great! :)

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  18. I feel you completely on reading and reviewing more contemporary! I thought it would be fantasy too since I've always loved fantasy as a kid.

    YES TO UPTOWN FUNK! It's unbelievably addicting and impossible not to feel like dancing when you hear it.



    Thank you so much for hosting the Loveathon again Alexa! <3

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  19. YAY thank you again for hosting, Alexa! I am SO excited for Queen of Shadows omg. And Truthwitch! Honestly 2015 has been amazing so far! And it's only Feb!

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  20. Thank you so much for working on this amazing event Alexa! We need to remember all that we love and focus more on that instead of the drama, and this will surely do that! YAY LoveAThon!

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  21. Thanks for hosting lady! I had such a fun time creating all the posts!! :D


    *goes to look up Uptown Funk*

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  22. LOVE UPTOWN FUNK!! Uptown Funk gon give it to ya!! I am BLOWN away at how many awesome people have signed up for this. i love it and think it is such an incredible thing you are doing to contribute to the positive voice in our community. I feel honored to be part of something this fabulous. My love a thon RAK was i was just gushing on a book that I am desperately needing in my life on twitter when a friend tweeted me and said "I have that ill send it to you, no strings attached." I was so grateful and beyond excited!!
    Thank you for taking the time to organize this event.
    <3 Britt @ pleasefeedthebookworm.com

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  23. Uptown Funk gets played a lot in our house right now. My little one just started dance lessons and she loves practicing her moves to that song! Thank you for hosting this. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to meet new book bloggers!

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  24. I love that you read and review more contemtp as you are the reason I even read fantasy. This strikes me as awesome!

    Thanks for doing this whole thing. We all need a little love now and then.

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  25. I love the photo of you with the colourful mural! <3 And thank you, Alexa, for hosting the Love-A-Thon this year, even though you miss Katelyn! Haha.

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  26. The Newsoul series is so, so good (although admittedly I still haven't read book 3 because I'm in denial about it being over)

    LOVE UPTOWN FUNK. I have it on repeat fairly often.

    <33333333

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  27. Oh man. I loved Incarnate so much! It will show up in my snapshots post. :D I haven't continued the series yet though, but I do own them all and will someday! I loved ACOTAR so so so much and I cannot even wait for QoS! Maas is a brilliant genius. I almost said Lilah for my BFF too! Thanks so much for hosting this girl!

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  28. Thanks so much for hosting this!

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  29. This is so fun! I am going to have to check out the Newsoul series. Your photos are awesome! My brother's favorite song is Uptown Funk right now also. Getting ready to check out everyone else's questionaires.

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  30. ACOTAR and Queen of Shadows both made my list, too! And I've had a copy of Incarnate for a while- really need to read it. Thanks so much for hosting! :)

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  31. Lisa @ Captivated ReaderFebruary 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    Thanks for hosting this event!! I enjoyed learning more about you. I enjoy both scrapbooking and traveling too. Meeting new authors is also too!! I recently met author Paula Hawkins at an author event/signing... And even had her sign my copy of The Girl on the Train.

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  32. YES! Truthwitch and Queen of Shadows :) I haven't read anything from Susan Dennard yet (shamefully) but I think this is the one to get me to start! Oh, bows to you for scrapbooking! I LOVE scrapbooking but I dont have the patience or artistic imagination to do it myself. I tried it when I was younger but never kept it up. I love seeing what others put together though, beautiful! Stationary shopping - yes to that! I haven't read Hundred Oaks series yet but I think it would make an awesome tv show by the sounds of it! I'd definitely watch it :)

    THanks for putting this on again Alexa! I'm having so much fun already and it's just begun <3

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  33. Happy love-a-thon! <3 Thanks for hosting; this is so much fun.
    The Hundred Oaks series would make for a great TV series or movie! Great pick.

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  34. This is actually my first time participating. I am so very excited! This is an awesome event. Can't wait for all of the things we are going to be doing!

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  35. WOOP! Fellow Sarah J. Maas lover, ACOTAR and Queen of Shadows are on my top 5 too! She's just so good and I can't wait to see what craziness she comes up with in these two books. Happy Love-a-Thon! Can't wait to see what you've got in store these next two days :)

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  36. Thanks for hosting this awesome event! Love it :) Also love your answers to best things about blogging - it is awesome to meet people and make friends just because we love books so dang much.

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  37. Thanks so much for hosting, Alexa! I had so much fun with this event last year and can't wait to start blog hopping! I definitely agree that the people are the best part of blogging. I've made so many awesome friends, people I never would have met had it not been for blogging.

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  38. I love Uptown Funk! Thank you so much for hosting this event! :)

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  39. Thanks so much for hosting this - it's such a great idea! I'm so freaking happy about Uptown Funk being a hit on the radio - I am rarely excited about hearing a song a billion times, but anytime it's on it makes my day. So my day gets made a lot haha! And YES! The Sevenwaters series - particularly the first two books would make a really, really awesome tv show for sure.

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  40. I love Uptown Funk! Makes me want to get up and just dance all night. Thank you for hosting this awesome event! I just posted my first post about it and so far, so good! :)

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  41. I can't wait to read Queen of Shadows!! *-*

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  42. Thanks so much for hosting! I'm so excited for this year's event!!

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  43. Ooh, I've been seeing the book around the blogosphere, and I think I would like it (based on the cover). But I usually have to be in the right mood to hand books with heavy subjects, like grief. It sounds good... I'll read it if I get a chance!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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