The Last Time We Say Goodbye

Author: Cynthia Hand
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

This is a public service announcement: do NOT start reading this book unless you have a handkerchief or a box of tissues on hand or close by.  This story will leave you an uncontrollable, sobbing wreck.  The evening I finished this book, it got so bad my husband made the comment, “Just stop reading it,” because I was crying so hard while I read.  But, of course, you cannot simply stop reading this book.  You have to finish it.  YOU HAVE TO.  The ending of this novel is what makes it such a wonderful read.

The ending is perfect.  The title is perfect.  Even the COVER is perfect.  I rack my brain, but I cannot remember a recent novel I’ve read where I can say that all of these are true.

I am probably nitpicking, but there are a few things that keep me from giving this novel the full 5 stars, I will reread until kingdom come.  The first is how things play out for both her brother and his friend.  I know it is a touchy subject matter, but it just feels too coincidental to me to believe in that part of the story line.  The other is her mother, and more specifically how her conversation in the car with her mother suddenly brings about such a change.  I would love to believe it is the truth, but the rational part of me thinks it would take a longer time for the changes to really take effect.  That it wouldn’t be an overnight 180 reversal.

But again, I am nitpicking.  I will admit it.  I cannot even begin to understand how difficult it was for Hand to pen this novel, with her own brother’s teenage suicide an inspiration for the story.  Just reading this novel, the thought of my younger brother being in the same position as Lex’s brother, brings a fresh wave of tears to my eyes.

I thought her Unearthly series was well written (though admittedly I still need to read the final novel), but thought the romance was perhaps a bit much in that series.  With The Last Time We Say Goodbye, I have no such qualms.  It is the perfect balance of genres, and well worth the read.  I will be adding this one to my collection for sure.  Fans of John Green will certainly love, because it has the same heart warming/heart wrenching tale, but Hand does a much better job of making the story feel realistic.  There are no crazy wild goose chases or road trips or trips halfway around the world in this novel.  There is only the story of a teenage girl, and how she tries to come to terms with her younger brother’s decision.

Read it.  Read it NOW.

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