Goodbye Days

Jeff Zentner. Crown, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-553-52406-2
Carver Briggs already feels responsible when his three best friends are killed in a car accident after he sent a “Where are you guys?” text message to the driver. Now it seems as though the whole town wants him to be prosecuted, and he’s having debilitating panic attacks. When one friend’s grandmother suggests they pay tribute to the deceased by spending a “goodbye day” swapping stories and doing what he loved, Carver finds a cathartic way to atone for his perceived sins. From the opening line, Zentner (The Serpent King) expertly channels Carver’s distinctive voice as a 17-year-old writer turned “funeral expert” who argues with himself about girls and retains glimmers of easy wit despite the weight of his grief and guilt. Flashbacks and daydreams capture the jovial spirit of the four members of the so-called Sauce Crew, glimpses of sophomore shenanigans interspersed with poignant admissions only best friends would share. Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events. Ages 14–up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 03/07/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-0945-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-0947-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5094-4128-0
Library Binding - 416 pages - 978-0-553-52407-9
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-1-77049-886-0
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