When we are teenagers, our friends are our world. We cannot picture our lives without them.
In the 2017 YA novel, Goodbye Days, by Jeff Zentner, Carver Briggs is a 17 year old boy with three best friends: Eli, Mars, and Blake. Known as the Sauce Crew, they are as tight as any group of friends can be. While waiting for his friends to pick up him up after work, Carver texts his friends as to their location. The next thing he knows, they are all dead.
On top of the all consuming grief, Carver is facing a potential jail sentence and the cold, accusing stare of Eli’s twin sister. But he is not alone. Carver’s new therapist, his sister, Eli’s girlfriend Jesmyn, and Blake’s grandmother are all in his corner. His first stop in healing is spending a “goodbye day” with Blake’s grandmother. Soon, Eli and Mars’s family request “goodbye days” of their own. The big question of the novel is can Carver not only make peace with himself, but with everyone around him, and most of all, will he be have his day in court?
I loved this book. It felt so authentic when it came to the high school/teenage experience. Carver has an everyman quality to him. The emotions were potent and real from the first page to the last page. As a reader, I wanted to hug and let him know that everything would turn out all right in the end. I would suggest it for anyone who has lost someone recently and is searching for a way to understand the process of grieiving.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.