Saturday, April 22, 2017

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner Audiobook Review

Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: March 7th, 2017
Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

FTC Disclaimer: I received this audiobook from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Let me just tell you . . . this book hurt. Goodbye Days tells Carver's story, who lost his three best friends in a car accident, and it totally shattered my heart into little pieces. I literally lost track of how many times I cried while reading. So be prepared with comfort food and tissues, because this poignant story about cherishing your loved ones absolutely ravages your feelings with it's strikingly touching and genuine writing.


Honestly, everything about this book is beautiful. I am utterly astonished by Jeff Zentner—this man has a gift. The story, the writing, the characters, and literally everything about this book was perfection, and I would not change a thing. So guys, if Goodbye Days is not on your TBR, you need to go and amend this grievance immediately. Because I can guarantee that this story will wreck you, but you will be truly thankful for it.

I have to give a lot of credit to Michael Crouch for his narration of this novel. He perfectly depicted the character for me because while narrating, he became Carver. He expertly captured the emotions, the vibe, and the very essence of this book. I've been told by other fans of Michael Crouch's work that he can do literally any voice, and I know he's well-loved in the audiobook community. This makes me even more excited to listen to other books he has narrated! 


1) I have to talk about Jeff Zentner's writing, because it's amazing. The prose, the dialogue, the character voice—it's all unbelievably authentic. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I read anything as pure and heartfelt as his writing. It pulls at your very heart and soul, and you literally wonder how is it possible for someone to write like this. So yes, I'm extremely impressed and I look forward to what else Zentner has in store for us.


2) At first glance, this plot must seem like such a simple idea. Teenagers die due to texting while driving, leaving their friend Carver—who is partially to blame for the accident—alive and grieving. However I must assure you, it is anything but. The story explores the aftermath of this tragic incident. It explores feelings of mourning, grief, depression, anxiety, guilt, and it even delves into the legal ramifications of what happened.

Zentner makes the reader feel every inch of hurt Carver experiences over the loss of his friends. I felt as if I was the one to lose three friends. I also love that we don't just see how Carver deals with the death of his best friends, but see how everyone around him feels towards Carver too. I also have to say that I appreciated the fact that Carver is never fully redeemed, fully forgiven, or really given any type of pass for his part in the accident. And while I was hoping he would (because I cared and felt bad for him) it was more raw and realistic this way.

Also, after reading about what a "Goodbye Day" is (it's a day you spend in remembrance of your lost loved one, doing things you think he or she would have liked to do before dying), it's something I'd want to do in the future if I lose a loved one, though hopefully not any time soon, of course.

3) I cried multiple times while reading Goodbye Days. I know that seems like such an odd positive point, but honestly, I dare you guys to read this book and not weep. This brilliant book made me grieve and sob for all of the characters. It hit me so hard in the feels that it was hard to move on to another book, since all I could think about was this one. So basically if you're ever in need of a good cry, this book will help you out.


4) In Goodbye Days, we get POC and LGBT+ representation, and it feels effortless. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, with in-depth backstories and character development. This is how we should see diverse characters represented—not as a checkmark, but as a natural and normal part of life and society.


5) First of all, I love that we have a sibling relationship where the sister, Georgia, is older than the main character, Carver. Usually, it's the other way around and it was very refreshing to see. In addition to that awesomeness, these two have a sweet and adorable relationship. Honestly, I just wanted to read about more of their banter and antics towards each other, because it was delightful.


6) I know this point is basically highlighted in the one above, but it needs to be stated separately, I love Georgia. She is awesome and honestly, I wish she was my sister (though to my lovely real-life sisters who might be reading this—I love you, and no, I wouldn't want to replace you with a fictional character). Georgia is so fierce, and I loved her spunk and her attitude in general. Honestly, she just needs her own book.


 1) Since this is a contemporary, there is no way to bring Sauce Crew back to life.


For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.
Life is everywhere. Pulsing, humming. A great wheel turning. A light blinks out here, one replaces it there. Always dying. Always living. We survive until we don't.

All of this ending and beginning is the only thing that's infinite.
I guess guilt doesn't sleep. It only eats.

34 comments:

  1. I LOVE your dislike because it is mine too! This book was so incredible. I don't think I stopped crying the entire time I read it! You are right, Jeff DOES have a gift, and he should probably just team up with Kleenex at this point and they could sell his books with a big old box of tissues. Win-win, for Jeff and Kleenex anyway. Seriously, it was phenomenal and so heartbreaking but so GOOD. Fabulous review as always! :D

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    1. This is my favorite comment ever. I'm already picturing Kleenex ads with Jeff's books haha. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  2. I hadn't heard of this before, but it sounds heartbreaking. I'm glad you loved it, and what a great review! :)

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    1. Oh it is, it will definitely break your heart multiple times haha. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. AHA I am actually so excited to start reading this! I just got approved for the NetGalley copy and cannot wait, especially after hearing such positive things about it from you and from other bloggers!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

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    1. I hope you love it! I haven't heard a negative thing about this book yet, and for good reason! Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  4. I've seen the cover for this floating around but didn't know what it was about before reading your review. I am running to Goodreads to add it to my TBR. I love emotional contemporaries. And the fact that it delves into more than just the grief but also the legal ramifications has me intrigued. Great review, Brittany!!

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    1. Yay! I hope you love it and this book is perfect for you since you love emotional contemporaries. Make sure you have a box of tissues near by!

      Thank you!

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  5. This looks like it could be really interesting (and sad)!! I'll have to give it a try. Wonderful review!

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    1. Yes it is, and you definitely should! Thank you ^_^

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  6. I had no idea what this was about before because the cover didn't appeal to me but I just placed it on hold from my library (: I loved this review!

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    1. YAY! I hope you love it! Just make sure that you have tissues and chocolate on hands while reading it haha. Thank you!

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  7. Heard this was so good. Sounds very emotional and powerful, and yeah the guilt of something like that would be so hard to live with. Sounds like a fantastic book.

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    1. It is all of those things! Thanks for stopping by ^_^

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  8. This sounds so so good and I love that it's emotional to bring on the tears. It's funny I think you and I both say we don't read much contemp, but it seems like we seem to find some gems when we do! I will definitely put this one my must-read list!

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    1. So true. I usually like fluffy contemporary but when I got this as an audiobook review, I had to give it a shot and I'm so glad I did. I hope you love it!

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  9. Oh wow, this sounds amazing! I'm such a sucker for books that bring out that kind of emotional reactions in their readers. Adding this one to my TBR! Great review!

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    1. It is! I hope you love it as much as I did, because it's real gem.

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  10. This book seriously hit me in the feels too. I counted how many times I cried, because I updated my GR status every time I did. I think it was... seven? I'm so glad I read this one, and I might even read it again sometime soon. Great review!

    Christina @ Books & Prejudice

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    1. I lost track since I felt like I was crying for the majority of this book haha. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I HAVE THIS ON MY TBR BUT I'M ACTUALLY TOO SCARED TO READ IT. ;_; The Serpent King broke me and I feel like I need 900 years to recover. But like broke me in the best possible way because I gave it 5 stars and I can't stop thinking about it.😂 BUT I'M IN PAAAAAIN I TELL YOU. OMG.
    I WANT TO READ THIS SO BAD AND YET NO.
    *gathers snacks for courage*

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    1. Well, I haven't read The Serpent King but I've heard that this one is even more heartbreaking so I understand the hesitation! I highly recommend having a bunch of chocolate and tissues near by haha.

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  12. Such a lovely review, thank you for sharing! I have read and loved The Serpent King but it made me cry soooo ard ahah so I don't know if I'm ready for more feels like that book seems to give....But I'll read it eventually ahah because I can't resist a beautiful, heartbreaking book like that :)

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    1. Thank you! I've heard from others that this book is more heartbreaking than The Serpent King (I haven't read it) so definitely be prepared! I hope you love it when you read it ^_^

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  13. I have got to read this one soon! I have had it on my TBR forever and it sounds both amazing and tragic at the same time. Seeing how much you loved this one, I am going to bump it up on my TBR. Maybe I will give the Audible version a whirl as well! :)

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    1. Yes, you should! It's such a great book but be prepared for pain!! And I highly recommend the audio version ^_^

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  14. Love your review for this! I read The Serpent King last year and it was one of my favorite books of all time, but I haven't had the chance to read this one yet. I'm not big on audio books but you made me want to check out that version, too!

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    1. Thank you! I highly recommend the audio of this one, it's fantastic!

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  15. I hadn't heard of this book before, but after reading your review I definitely want to read it! I just hope I'll be able to recover, it seems like a really sad book. Of course, the best books are the ones that make you cry.

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    1. That makes me so happy, thank you! It was definitely a hard book to recover from, so make sure you have a happy book or movie lined up after finishing this one haha.

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  16. I liked the goodbye days parts of the story, but the whole being charged for manslaughter for texting a friend who might be driving was legally unfounded and threw the whole story off for me. The MC was down on himself enough, so that element wasn't even needed. I am a firm believer in Contemporary Fiction being truth based. This was still three stars for me though. :)

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    1. I wasn't sure if it was legally founded or not, but I'm sorry that ruined the book for you even if in the end you still enjoyed it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. Ohh. Stunning review Brittany :) So glad you loved this book so much. <3 And ahhh. Books that make you cry are the most awesome :D You have made me curious about this. So glad it was amazing :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope you read it and loved it as much as I do!

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