The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

byCynthia Hand

Hardcover | February 10, 2015

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In the tradition of Thirteen Reasons Why and All the Bright Places, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a deeply affecting novel that will change the way you look at life and death.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a stunning, heart-wrenching novel of love and loss, which ALA Booklist called "both shatteringly painful and bright with life and hope" in a starred review.

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn't told anyone—a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Cynthia Hand is theNew York Timesbestselling author of the Unearthly trilogy. A native of southeastern Idaho, she has graduate degrees in creative writing from Boise State University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. For the past seven years she has taught writing at Pepperdine University in Southern California. She and her famil...
Title:The Last Time We Say GoodbyeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 inPublished:February 10, 2015Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062318470

ISBN - 13:9780062318473


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The people we love are truly never gone. Summer of 2014 I binge read the Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand, loving it immensely I shoved it into my sister's face for her to love as well. (She did, because why wouldn't she?) I obsessed over the series for the rest of that summer, and that continued until that fall when I first heard about The Last Time We Say Goodbye. Even though it was supposed to be a contemporary, I still knew that I had to have it. 18 months later, 12 months after it's original release I was finally able to get my hands on a copy. With serious topics, you get exactly what you expect, a serious book. Which is exactly what The Last Time We Say Goodbye was. This book was written beautifully, every little detail, Hand captures the aura perfectly. Depending on if you read the author's note before actually reading the book or if you've read it after finishing the book, you'd notice that Hand actually talks to us about how she lost a brother in a similar way that our main character, Lex, lost her brother. When reading the novel I continuously found myself flabbergasted at how earnest Hand was with the topic, how deep she went with it in her writing, but after reading her note I now know that it was because of her connection to the topic, it's personal. Although she also noted that her families story and Lex's were not the same in most cases, it still interesting to see the connection she had to the story. When it comes to character development, Lex certainly went through a lot throughout the book. Going from a depressed state and not wanting to continue moving on, to coming to terms with what her life is now. I loved to have been on the journey with her, the self doubt, the self growth, Cynthia Hand took us down every step and we got to see that spark ignite in Lex which was her truly living. I got so much more than what I expected when reading The Last Time We Say Goodbye, except the tears, I definitely expected those. Pulling your heart in every direction, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is the perfect book if your heart is in the need of a good cry.
Date published: 2016-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This book ruined me We start off with Lex who is dealing with the death of her brother Tyler who committed suicide. She's struggling to get her life back.. Before it happened. This is a journey that will test her and will reveal the truths to what happened on that fateful night. A story about loss, love and having the ability to move on from something that will forever change you. Lex's struggles and heartache and even hallucinations of Tyler were heart wrenching to read. I could easily slip into her mindset and stay there throughout the whole book. Though she's different than others I have read because she loves mathematics. (I wished there were more characters with brainy girl characters TBH.) She's super responsible paying her way for school and how her brain sees patterns and unlocks puzzles, I was fascinated. The logical part of her brain explains away her Tyler hallucinations but I couldn't help but be a little freaked out myself because I could see everything so easily in my imagination. What really gutted me were the flashbacks of just her and Tyler. They're so close and to have that happen to him and her not being able to relate.. It really hurt my heart. Cynthia Hand does a wonderful job of creating these characters with such vivid back-story and personalities. It wouldn't have been the same if we didn't know the history and how they were. Her writing flows so well and the emotions that will be running high when you read about it? We'll make sure to get a tissue handy. Last but not least, I'm never going to look at Post-Its the same way again.. This book ruined me for it.. *cries*
Date published: 2015-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I am on a roll this year with the poignant, heart wrenching YA contemporaries. The Last Time We Say Goodbye hits its readers right where it counts. I think Hand did a superb job of realistically portraying Lex's struggles with her brothers suicide. As well as the effects of Tyler's(Lex's brothers) depression and possibly misdiagnosed mental illness. Obviously The Last Time We Say Goodbye is not a happy book. As soon as I opened it and saw the dedication page I had a feeling that Hand was bringing her readers a pretty personal story. I'm not sure how much of herself she put into Lex, if any, but either way Lex's guilt over Tyler's suicide and her coming to terms with the fact that it wasn't her fault seemed pretty real. Lex feels like she could have prevented Tyler from killing himself. She's torn up and conflicted over her feelings. Lex is super intelligent, a numbers girl. It's all about logic with her. So her seeing a therapist that suggests she journals about her feelings seems a little silly to Lex. Her journal entries were my favourite part of the book. It showed Lex and Tyler's relationship. They had a strong sibling bond and I really appreciated getting to see how they were together. It brought some light into the story. Lex and Tyler were close. They teased and bickered like brothers and sisters do. Lex was able to show that Tyler was a happy kid through these entries, and that their family was a solid family at one time. When their dad left their mom for another women it really hit Tyler hard. It seemed like all he wanted to do was please their dad, and this was something that was unforgivable and truly started Tyler on a downward spiral. Obviously there was a lot going on inside Tyler's head, and a lot of the time a person can be a really good actor by not letting their family see how much they are struggling internally. Loss hits us all very differently. Lex shut down and shut out her friends. It was hard for her to see the pity and sadness on their faces and in their voices. Lex's mom is also barely living. She goes to work and the rest of the time she's not totally coherent. They're both feeling Tyler's ghost haunting their day to day lives and it's something that Lex is trying to overcome. She feels like the guilt of ignoring his text will eventually eat her up. Lex feels like she could have prevented his death if she had just been there for him like she promised. Blame and guilt is a nasty thing to stew in. Especially in a horrible situation as this. Lex has really inspiring story of growth. Once she starts to realize that only Tyler could help himself, her motivation comes back. Which she than piggy backs onto her mom. They both needed a push and Lex was able to show her mom that she still has a child left that loves her. Lex also realized that as hard as forgiveness is it's something that she needed to jump on the path to with her dad. Lex may have tried to push her friends and boyfriend away, but they continued to be there for her. Lex even found likeness with an old friend she'd lost touch with. It was awesome to see that Lex had some really strong friends in her life. They didn't give up on her. That really helped with her learning how to keep moving on. There was a lot of moments that brought tears to my eyes. I've mentioned plenty of times, that my heart is black. But Hand's writing really made a dent in my emotions. Not only was Lex's emotional journey heart breaking, Hand was also able to put humor and sweet moments in with that heart break. A lot of the YA books I've read that focus on suicide do it through a romantic relationship. Which is fine, and is just as heart breaking. But with Lex losing her brother to suicide it was more hard hitting to me. She's 18, so losing her brother is somebody she's known her whole life. Tyler's death not only showed how Lex dealt with the loss, but also her parents. There's a stigma with suicide and how it seems to be downplayed when remembering the person. The person is considered selfish and the blame is put on them. It makes me sick and sad that people believe this. Tyler was ill and way to often suicide is the outcome from a mental illness, like depression. Hand does a fantastic job of showing this stigma. Lex can't stand the label she's given, the victim of suicide. Her brother died and no matter how he died he showed be shown respect and remembered as the person he was. Hand's Unearthly trilogy is one my favourites. So upon hearing she had a contemporary book dealing with a very hard hitting topic piqued my interest. I loved her writing in Unearthly but there's a small part in my mind that thinks how can you go from paranormal to something so different in The Last Time We Say Goodbye? The answer is perfectly. I love when I get to see an author grow as a writer, and I believe that this is solid proof. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is an absolute beautiful story about loss and the struggles to over come it well trying to move forward in life. It's about learning that letting go doesn't mean forgetting and that it's alright to continue living your life. I highly, highly recommend picking up The Last Time We Say Goodbye as soon as you can get your hands on it. I'd also suggest having plenty of tissues at the ready.
Date published: 2015-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Raw and Honest and Brilliant I had to let this book sit with me for a while after I read it. I was expecting tears, I was expecting to cry. And I did. At the End. The very last chapter got me. I do not ever want to know what it is to survive something like this. To be the ones left to pick up the pieces. This book put a lot of my thoughts into perspective. It gave me new appreciation for the life I have. The ups and downs. I have only ever read books of this nature from the side and thoughts of the committer, never from the other side. This was a new and bold take on it. The book is raw, and hard. It is filled with emotion and anger and people. It is an incredibly cathartic read. At least it was for me. I put this book down and it felt heavy after. My heart felt heavy, for the writer, for the characters, just in general. Thank you so much for writing this book. It will truly stay with me for a good long time.
Date published: 2015-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 6 Things You Need to Know about The Last Time We Say Goodbye I finished this book several weeks ago, but I'm still processing it even now. So here is my attempt to distill it down to what you need to know (other than that you should definitely, DEFINITELY pick this one up): 6. It does not hold back or dumb down death, but it's also not as depressing as you think. If you've read Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series, you know that Hand really understands death. She knows how to write about grief and how to shepherd a character through it. With The Last Time We Say Goodbye, Hand gets an entire book to explore how a character comes to terms with not only grief, but also guilt and rationalization and knowing how to laugh again and wanting to save others and how to cope. It's not all sad, though - the book alternates between flashbacks through her journal writing and present day, where Lex assigns herself tasks to fulfill what she thinks her brother's ghost wants. That sounds morbid, but it's actually fascinating and uncovers new layers to the people she knows. 5. Cynthia Hand is brilliant at normal - or as normal as it can be when you see ghosts. For those of you who are paranormal junkies, you may shy away from this one. Don't. First of all, this is her subtle quiet writing at its best. You will feel all the feels of the Unearthly series, just in a different context. Also, there are quite a few moments that feel very otherworldly as Lex is dealing with her grief. 4. It doesn't pretend parents don't exist. One of my favourite parts of the Unearthly series was how much interaction the parents had with the kids in the series - they helped move so much of the story along. Hand understands how much influence our parents exert on us and how they shape us, and she always builds them into the narrative. At the beginning of The Last Time We Say Goodbye, Lex and her mother are both so weighted down by their grief that they can barely move. I felt like they were stuck underwater, living in a slow-motion atmosphere. And Lexi's father is nowhere to be found. The complexities of Lexi's relationships with her mother and father are brilliantly maneuvered, and key to how she moves on and how she learns to live again. 3. There's math nerdery - but it's not written about in a nerdy way. I love, love, LOVED that Lex was such a geek about math and science, and how methodically she approached life. Cynthia Hand brilliantly constructed a character who wasn't at all cold or distant, but who definitely had a view of how life should be. I just loved how weird she was, how much we got to know her, and how much she recognized her own weirdness and never shied away from it. 2. It has one of the swooniest romances I've read in awhile. You wouldn't - or at least I didn't - think that the romance in this book would be so charming and swoonworthy. But it is. The love between Steven and Lex doesn't take up a lot of time in a book that's definitively about grief - but the moments between them are so powerful in their normalcy, in the little moments of two people who are just right for each other, that I fell in love, too. 1. [semi-spoiler - highlight to read if you are one of those people who doesn't mind knowing my opinion of parts of the book] It has, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant endings I have ever read in a YA novel. Look, you might not agree with me. And I sure hope that me telling you this doesn't bias your view of the ending. But the ending is so circular, so pitch-perfect in emotion and weight and resonance and what matters that I can't write this review without mentioning it. I put a lot of weight on endings and more often than not, I'm a little disappointed. This one elevated the book and had me at a complete loss for words or thoughts. I was just a ball of emotion. Book Theme Song: Dirty Projectors - While You're Here His ghost is quiet, but we're crying again Then I hear you saying while you are here You are alive, but you are here, you are alive The Final Word: It's hard to review a book that is so much about feeling, but I think Cynthia Hand has pulled off something extraordinary - a book where I didn't notice structure or writing or even feel like I was reading about a character, but where I was just going through the grieving process with Lex. It really, really hurts - but it's a hurt that changes you and helps you learn about yourself. Highly recommended for anyone who loves contemporaries or who needs help getting through a loss.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Beautiful! I have always loved Cynthia Hand's writing because it feels like you are actually in that main characters place.This book just broke my heart and then started to bring it slowly back together by the end of the book. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is one book that brings awareness to what happens to a family who has lost someone very close to them and the ramifications of their suicide that can happen. I was aware that there has been a number of teen suicides has been rising but Hand does an amazing job with her main character Lex, who is going through an emotional rollercoaster since her brother killed himself. Lex's brother Ty, has committed suicide at the age of 16. He was popular, a basketball star who has a ton of friends, but then decides to end it during his junior year of high school. I feel bad for Lex because she blames herself. Why did he want to do this? Did she notice the signs? Why didn't she reply to the text he sent her? Lex has pushed away her friends, boyfriend and is having a hard time with her grief. In therapy her therapist asks her if she can write a journal to recall her past with her memories of what happened to explain what was happening with her brother. She also wants to know if there was a specific reason why he ended his life. Lex then connects with his friends and ex-girlfriend. Death can affect a family differently. Lex's views throughout the novel was normal because she just lost her brother at the same time trying to move on since its her last year of high school. Along the way she reconnects with her neighbor who is helping her through this process. Lexie's boyfriend Steven is so cute. He is also a math nerd like her and has been her friend since grade school. He has been by her side since Ty's death but did not give up on her as a friend when she broke up with him. I did love the flashbacks of their past as well since he is such a romantic. I was totally rooting for them to hopefully get back together. When I read emotional books I know I will cry. I loved Cynthia Hands other series (Unearthly) which I adored! The Last Time We Say Goodbye was incredibly moving that at the end the author shares her own story of what happened to her brother. Loss is very hard but its real. Even though the book is fiction, the author's experience definitely shows in her writing since it felt realistic. Recommending this one to everyone!
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing and heartbreaking journey Lex was happy before, before her family split apart, before the break-up with her boyfriend, before everyone stared at her like they were waiting for her to break. Now, she's the girl whose brother killed himself. She keeps trying to move on, to block out that night, but a secret she's been keeping is holding her back, a secret that could have changed the events of that night. As someone with three younger siblings, it didn't take long for this book to break me into little pieces and make me feel like I would never be whole again. That was how much this book affected me. Right from the start there was a weight on my chest and it stayed there the whole way through. Even now, just thinking about the book, it comes back. There was no doubt this book would be heartbreaking. I knew that from the description. I wasn't prepared for just how much it would affect me but I'm so glad I read it. As heartbreaking as it was, it was also about Lex's journey through her grief, her acceptance, her forgiveness, her realizations. Could she forgive her father for walking out of their lives for a new woman? Could she forgive her mother for checking out on her? Could she forgive herself for not seeing the signs? It was beautifully written. I liked that we got to know her brother Tyler through her, mostly through her diary entries she had to do for therapy. It was easy to see that they had a great relationship. There were so many characters that were present, either connected to Tyler and grieving him in their own ways or to Lex and wanting to help her. I found the whole book to be written very realistically. It was a slow process for Lex, one that had a step forward then back then forward. Things that mattered so much before suddenly didn't seem as important. The book really focuses on the ripples of such a tragic event, the way no one in town is left untouched. Honestly, this is a book that I will not be forgetting any time soon. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2014-12-18

Editorial Reviews

“Dealing with teen suicide is tough, and this novel tackles it well, with dignity, sensitivity, and poignant regard. Irresistibly engaging.”