Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

So this was an emotionally hard read for me. Three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake are killed in a car accident due to distracted driving– texting their fourth best friend, Carver. Of course, Carver is racked with guilt for being the cause of the accident and embarks on his senior year of high school alone. With the possibility of being charged with his friends murders hanging over his head as well as some of the families blaming him for the accident, Blake starts to have panic attacks. At the request of one of the families and suggestion of his therapist, Blake does a “goodbye day” for each of the families where Carver takes the place of deceased member and spends the day with them doing what they would want to do with their family member if they had one last day with them. They share stories and things about the person that no one else knew. This has varying degrees of success with each of the families but it gives insight into grief and the preciousness of life. There were some great quotes in this book but overall I thought the plot and the sequence of events made me stumble when reading this book. I wanted to love this book because I loved the Serpent King but I had a hard time getting into the book and relating to the characters at times. Maybe if the book began before the accident so the reader could get to know the characters before they died and therefore be more emotionally connected and invested in them, it may have read better. And for whatever reason, I could not buy into the possibility of Carver facing murder charges for texting his friend. For this reason, I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

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