Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand

Posted 3 August, 2015 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
on 10 February 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 284
Format: eBook
Source: RT15
5 Stars

There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

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.

Tissues! The Last Time We Say Goodbye is one of those books… and I just can’t stop crying right now.

My The Last Time We Say Goodbye review:

This is a pretty tough read, dealing with a difficult and heartbreaking subject. And it definitely should come with a trigger warning! At the very beginning of The Last Time We Say Goodbye, we learn that Lex’s brother Ty committed suicide, and Lex is seeing a therapist who first suggests that she be medicated, then when she vetoes that, he tells her she should write. The first and the last. Especially the last time she saw Ty happy. And Lex is numb. She goes through the motions, sharing flash-backs that seem so very real, as well as what is happening in her life right at the time the story unfolds. The different ways she and her mother are dealing with their grief.

And while I haven’t had anyone close to me commit suicide, I have had people I loved die suddenly, and I recognized the kind of nightmares Lex had throughout The Last Time We Say Goodbye. Of doing something with that person, and then something terrible happens, and in my case that person disappeared. In the fog, in a snow-storm etc, they just vanished. I think it was worse for Lex, though, because she saw Ty die different, violent deaths every night. And it was absolutely heartbreaking.

However, like Lex, I was kind of numb at the beginning of the story, too. The writing was putting a distance between Lex, what had happened to her brother, and what she thought she should do or feel right now. The Last Time We Say Goodbye definitely shows some of the different stages of grief, and when Lex was finally able to really grieve, and let go of some of her guilt, I couldn’t stop crying! And I’m still crying. And working through her grief also helped Lex grow in other ways, as well as working through the difficulties she had in her relationships with her parents and her friends.

Written in first person point of view, and present tense, makes the readers get to know Lex well, and the way it is written still managed to keep a distance between Lex and the reader, and between Lex and her feelings at first. There are flash-backs to other periods of Lex’ life, and it all comes together in the end, making sense of it all, through a very good, and very long cry.

Some of my favorite The Last Time We Say Goodbye quotes:

I actually liked the bus. Before, I mean. When I used to be able to put in my earbuds and crank up the Bach and watch the sun come up over the white, empty cornfields and the clichéd sun-beaten farmhouses tucked back from the road. 

Of course, being angry is pointless. Unproductive. They don’t understand yet. That they are all waiting for that one phone call that will change everything. That every one of them will feel like me eventually. Because someone they love will die. It’s one of life’s cruel certainties.

The hole is Ty, I think.
The hole is something like grief.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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18 responses to “Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand

    • I actually enjoy books that are able to make me cry, Blessie. It means the emotional impact of those written words, the characters, and the story itself meant something to me. Now, I don’t want to cry with every single book I pick up, mind you, so it’s good to know in advance 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  1. This book sounds heart-breaking. It’s probably a great read, but I’m not sure if I’d be up for reading such a heart-breaking story.

  2. Braine

    This hit too close to home I see. I’m sorry about your friend or relative who disappeared. That’s hard, not to havr closure.

    I love her Ya angel series, I’ll be sure to check this out someday.

    • Not too close, Braine, my relatives who passed away did so long ago, but I remember having those same kind of dreams just afterwards, and for several weeks, so it really made me connect to Lex on a different level.
      Thanks for stopping by, Braine 🙂

  3. Wow! Very powerful – I admit I won’t be adding this to my list. A big departure from the Unearthly series.

  4. I LOVED THIS ONE SO MUCH TOO!! I gave it 4 but still, it’s totally stuck with me and just kind of made me curl into a burrito of sadness there for a while. :'( And the note on the mirror. THAT NOTE. omg. I just wanted to hug Lex. I think the emotion in this book was written amazingly…and weirdly, but I just appreciated that she loved maths! She’s like the only Ya girl protagonist i’ve ever read who loves math! 😀

  5. This sounds indeed tough, Lexxie! Kind of reminds me We were liars, but I think this one is tougher, more brutal in a way. I’m keeping it for the days that I will able to handle such a book because now is not the time.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Athina recently posted: Stolen Summer
  6. IT seems like this certainly packs an emotional punch, Lexxie. I haven’t lost anyone to suicide but I can only imagine how that would affect someone, especially a sibling. I’m getting emotional just thinking of how it would affect one of my children. I picked up this book at RT as well and I’ll remember to have a box of tissue beside me when I crack it open. Lovely, lovely review, my friend!

    **BIG HUGS**

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: #COYER Review ~ Wasted Lust ~ JA Huss
  7. I’ve had this one for a while. I picked it up because I LOVED Hand’s Unearthly series. I want to wait until I am in a better frame of mind. Suicide books always fascinate me, but at the same time, they are hard to read.

    Lyn Kaye recently posted: Story Sprites Check-Up

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