STARRED REVIEW
February 10, 2015

Keeping her head above waves of grief

By Cynthia Hand

A smell of cologne wafts through the air. A frame inexplicably falls from the wall. All these unexplained events, including seeing her dead brother, are beginning to haunt Lex. Is she going crazy? Or is she just trying to reconnect with Tyler, her younger brother who recently took his own life?

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A smell of cologne wafts through the air. A frame inexplicably falls from the wall. All these unexplained events, including seeing her dead brother, are beginning to haunt Lex. Is she going crazy? Or is she just trying to reconnect with Tyler, her younger brother who recently took his own life?

The guarded Lex has been meeting with a therapist, who is trying to convince her to write down her thoughts. It doesn’t help that Lex’s mother believes her own life is over, or that Lex’s absentee father may be, in part anyway, responsible for Tyler’s suicide. Grief is tricky business, especially in the wake of an unexpected tragedy and especially for a teenager from an already dysfunctional family. But facing her grief is the only way Lex can go on—and to convince her mother to go on as well.

This well-plotted novel includes some masterful plot turns and mysterious happenings that impact Lex’s breakthroughs and road to recovery. Alternating between Lex’s cathartic journal entries, her all-too-real dreams of Tyler and her day-to-day dealings with her friends and boyfriend, this is an authentic look at the struggles a teen might face when life comes at her from all angles. But it also shows triumph when Lex is able to face her demons, connect the dots of her brother’s tragic last days and help her mom in the process.

It may be nothing like her previous teen novels in the Unearthly trilogy, but The Last Time We Say Goodbye shows Cynthia Hand's impressive skill at connecting with a teen audience.

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The Last Time We Say Goodbye

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

By Cynthia Hand
HarperTeen
ISBN 9780062318473

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