Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publication date: Feb. 10, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on. (Adapted
The good
Lex's life changes the moment she discovers her younger brother committed suicide. One day she's just a high school girl falling in love for the first time, hanging out with her best friends and close to her parents. The next her mother is barely hanging on, she's angry at her father, distanced herself from her friends and broken things off with her boyfriend. All she sees and feels is the loss of her brother Trevor. When she starts seeing a therapist and he gives her a journal to write in, she begins to slowly face Trevor's death and the moments leading up to it. His ups and downs, what happened the day of. But most of all she wonders what she could've done and if she might've been able to stop him. It's a heartbreaking tale of grief that left me in tears by the end.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is so well-crafted. When we meet Lex, she's having a therapy session, unwilling to talk but somewhat willing to give journal writing a try. We get an immediate of sense of how she's (not) dealing and that there is some sort of secret she's holding onto. And then everything slowly unfolds in a way that will guarantee to make your heart ache. We learn a lot about Lexie's life before. Her love of math and numbers, her intelligence, how Steven went from one of her best friends to boyfriend. But also why her parents broke up, why Lex feels so angry and the tell-tale signs of depression from Trevor. Most importantly, we learn about the after. She ends up reconnecting with an old friend and even one of Trevor's friends. Some things she's been wanting to say to each of her parents finally surface. A lot of truths come out. It's a long journey but Lex does slowly put herself back together. It's truly an honest, raw book with just the right amount of hope.

(No) Reservations
I can't think of any!

Do I recommend?
I do! I've read Cynthia Hand's paranormal series so I was curious to see what her first foray into contemporary would be like. And let me tell you – really really good!

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Do you prefer Cynthia Hand's paranormal series or her contemporary novel?
This is a toughie! If I was just thinking about the first two books in the Unearthly series, I'd probably feel more conflicted but I'd probably lean more towards paranormal. But if I think of Unearthly as a whole (I admit, I was not thrilled with the ending) and compare to The Last Time Say We Say Goodbye, then I think my answer is contemporary. Either way, I really enjoy this author's writing and would recommend reading all her books. 


  1. Oh yay, no reservations on this one! That's awesome. I'm interested in reading C. Hand's contemporary too. This sounds like one I'd probably like - I love issues contemps. I think I'll library this one when I can grab it. Thanks so much for your thoughts (:

  2. I read and loved Unearthly when it came out and then let the rest of the series fall to the wayside. When I saw this one coming up on goodreads I was intrigued but also really hesitant because I don't really like to be left in tears when I'm reading (real life is hard enough most of the time) but after seeing your glowing praise I might have to give this one a try.

  3. I absolutely loved The Last Time We Say Goodbye! Hand's writing is as lovely as always, but the story she tells is so tremendously moving. I really enjoyed getting to spend some time savoring Lex's journey, and think it was so well-handled! (Can you tell I loved this book?)


with love,