Goodbye Days

Written by Jeff Zentner

Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Recommended Children's eBooks Romance / Relationship Stories Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on Goodbye Days

Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award

In a Nutshell: Loss, friendship and the light of re-finding your way  |    An exceptional novel about grief, guilt and finding solace in celebrating loved ones’ lives.

I adored the author’s haunting southern gothic-spiced debut (The Serpent King), and the same exquisite storytelling shines through here from the opening pages, when seventeen-year-old Carver reveals that his three best friends, Mars, Blake and Eli, were killed in a car crash as the driver, Mars, replied to Carver’s text. Collectively, they were the “Sauce Crew”, four creative teenagers with exciting futures on their near horizons, but now three lives have been cut short, and it feels to Carver as if his life is over too. He’s shattered by grief, and then a criminal investigation into the accident exacerbates his turmoil. But there’s hope to be had from the special memorial days suggested by Blake’s adorable, wise Nana Betsy.

The characterisation is masterful, blending painterly personal detail with broader strokes that lay universalities bare, and the writing expresses emotional rawness - the choke of Carver's panic attacks, the blinding thunderstorm of his nightmares - with a powerful punch. Jeff Zentner is the real deal. ~ Joanne Owen

Goodbye Days Synopsis

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?

Goodbye Days Reader Reviews

Teens and YA's love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Amy Laws, age 15 - 'This book pulled on my heart strings, the story was moving and enthralling.'
  • Jasmin Sherrett, Yr 9 - Great Torrington School - 'I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This book is beautifully written, yet heart achingly sad and made me cry more than once.'
  • Celeste Phelan, age 15 - 'A very thought provoking novel which definitely bought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion.'
  • Humaira, age 19 - 'The best thing about reading this book was not reading the word themselves but living the words and being right there with the characters.'
  • Neha Saji, age 14 - 'Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner has quickly became one of my favourite books! I strongly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. It's so raw and conveys a great moral!'
  • Rebekah Marsh, age 14 - 'The truly amazing novella is tear jerking, gut wrenching, and ever surprising all in one.'
  • Sidney Greenslade, age 13 - 'Goodbye Days was a captivating story which really made me think. The plot was amazing, unravelling slowly, keeping me gripped until the very end.'
  • Maisie Sadler, age 15 - 'Pick up this book and read it! Just read it! It's such an emotionally amazing story!'
  • Laura Solomon, age 13 - 'As the story twists and turns, this book becomes even more tragic and beautiful. Heartbreakingly sad, throughout this gripping novel, we discover charismatic characters and beautiful spun stories.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Add this to your TBR pile immediately! You won't regret it!'
  • Amelie Chatham, age 14 - 'Goodbye Days is a great story for those who love John Green’s books or any tragic life story really.'  
  • Megan Chambers, age 16 - 'This book was completely heart-breaking yet also completely beautiful. Once you pick it up, you won't put it down.'

Goodbye Days Press Reviews

One of the most stunningly heartfelt, lump-in-your-throat novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you Becky Albertalli

Written in his lyrical and clear-eyed style, Jeff Zentner's Goodbye Days is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming meditation on grief and forgiveness Nicola Yoon

From the opening line, Zentner expertly channels Carver's distinctive voice as a 17-year-old writer turned funeral expert Publishers Weekly

An absorbing effort with emotional and psychological integrity Booklist, starred review

Tender, honest, moving, and lyrical. His characters live and breathe. Ahh, lucky me. Lucky us. Zentner is the real thing Benjamin Alire Saenz


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783445516
Publication date: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783445516
Publication date: 6th April 2017
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Romance / Relationship Stories, Personal Social Health Economic , Personal Social Health Economic
Recommendations: eBooks
Other Categories: Reviewed by Children, UKLA 2018

About Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner was a singer-songwriter and guitarist who released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He is now an appellate attorney for the State of Tennessee and lives in Nashville with his wife and son. He wrote The Serpent King in a month, writing on his mobile phone on his commute and at night, weekends and lunchtimes between court cases. Photo credit: Steve Cross

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