Book Review #25: The Last Time We Say Goodbye- Cynthia Hand


Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication: February 10th 2015, Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 386
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0062318470 / 9780062318473

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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.

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“Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has been frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.”

Have you ever wonder what were your last words to your loved ones before you leave the house or before they’re gone? Or were you able to at least made them feel that they mean so much to you, that you care about them, when words had failed you? Or were you like most of the people who wish that they had the chance to tell the ones they love the magical words “I love you” before it was too late?

“Everything changes. That’s the only constant.”

This book is about how Alexis dealt with her life when her brother died. No, when her brother took his life- a suicide. It was not the death of her brother that really shook Alexis, but it was the life she has to deal with when her brother is gone. She used to have this perfect life- a loving and complete family, boyfriend, friends and a whole life ahead of her. But things happened and slowly, it seemed that one by one, all the perfect things and people she had, were stripped away from her. Her mother started to keep drinking, her father lived with someone else, her friends treated her as if she’s a fragile thing that would break any time, she pushed her boyfriend away, and she blamed herself for the suicide that her brother did. It was all too much. And she typically wakes up everyday to feel the same amount of guilt and pain until she saw again her brother, Ty. Or so she thought. It was like she was losing her mind because how can she saw Ty when he’s gone. But it’s like, her brother is teaching her to do the things she never thought she’d do, to reconcile with the people who are out of her life, and to heal and be whole again. And at the end, she was finally able to say goodbye.

“You never know when it’s going to be the last time.”

Okay, I’m definitely not okay. How can I be okay when I’m bawling my eyes out and I ran out of tissues? The book is good. I liked it. I loved it. And thank God that I’m reading it in my house, or else, what would people think of me when I suddenly cry while reading? Anyway, the characters are exquisite. It’s like they have these different and strong characteristics but when combined together into this book, they create a very beautiful story. Hand’s writing style is easy to get used to. This book is a very common contemporary: easy words, easily understood, instant favorite! I like also the part wherein mostly after every chapter, Alexis write something in her journal and it gives pieces of what really happened the night Ty took his life. It makes me want to flip the page more and find out the truth. Lastly, the sequence of events are my favorite. I like that I guess how the end would be, and it didn’t turn out that way. I like that I was surprised, and I like that what I read was beyond than what I’ve imagined. In total: this book is a total surprise. And I seriously can’t wait to read more of Hand’s works.

“It’s such a cliché, the whole ‘time heals all wounds’ thing, but it’s true. Clichés are clichés for a reason.”

One thing that I really like is how I can totally relate with Alexis- from her nerdiness, to her group of friends and to her preferences in a partner. It was like seeing a reflection of myself to her. I admire her wit and strength to surpass all her problems. And of course, her guts to forgive herself and others are the simply the best. Also, I think that Sadie is one of the most underrated characters here. I admire her as well, her fierceness combined to having a soft heart is truly one of a kind. There are other characters whom I wish were given a little exposure also, and some parts seem to be irrelevant to me, but nevertheless, the story is still good.

“All the best things are like that, though, Lex, the most beautiful things. Part of the beauty comes from the fact that they’re short-lived.”

Also, this story didn’t focus much on the love story between Alexis and Steven, which I think is good because if it was, then the story would alter the true meaning of this book: to tell the people you love that you love them before it’s too late. It’s good that once in a while, we are reminded that time is limited, that we don’t know when or how or what will be our last goodbye, so we need to make the most out of every second, every minute, every hour of our lives because there’s nothing worse than the what-ifs and the regret.



Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, the contemporary novel THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, and the new historical comedy, MY LADY JANE. Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She and her family divide their time between Idaho and California, where she teaches creative writing and literature at Pepperdine University. To know more about her, head on to her website.



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