Mini-reviews: Goodbye Days + Strange the Dreamer

pub 3/7/17 by Crown Books for
Young Readers
Young Adult - Contemporary
Receive e-ARC via Netgalley
After being super impressed by The Serpent King (worthy of all the hype!), I was more than a little curious to see how I would feel about his sophomore novel Goodbye Days. My conclusion? Jeff Zenter has a magical ability to suddenly make me cry and cry and cry. So prepare yourself. This novel starts off on the somberest (yes, this is a word now) note as Carver struggles with his belief that he killed his three best friends, Mars, Eli and Blake, by sending them a text while knowing they were on the road. The families of his friends either absolve him of all blame, somewhat blame him or outright hope he'll go to jail. In fact, there's going to be a criminal investigation. But in the middle of all this grief, Blake's grandmother asks Carver to share a "goodbye day" together to honor Blake. Then one by one, the other families reach out to Carver to do the same. It's an extremely emotional, raw and moving journey as Carver is forced to face his feelings and share in everyone's pain too. It just felt so real, especially as we witness the very human and flawed reactions this horrible time has brought out in everyone. There's no one way to grieve and this book exemplifies that. But through it all, we also see heartwarming moments as Carver remembers his best friends, reaches out to his sister for support (loved their relationship), befriends Eli's girlfriend Jesmyn (who's Filipino!) and bonds with Carver's grandmother. Goodbye Days is a book that will undoubtedly make you think and more importantly, feel.

Do I recommend?: Yes! I sincerely mean it when I say that I'm looking forward to the next book Zentner will make me cry over.

pub 3/28/17 by Little Brown Books
for Young Readers
Young Adult - Fantasy
Laini Taylor writes fantasy on a whole other level. Her books are always this incredible combination of unique, imaginative and heartbreaking and Strange the Dreamer was no exception. First of all, the writing is beautiful which shouldn't come as a surprise if you're already familiar with her work. Secondly, her characters are always flawed and complex and her villains never fail to enrage me. It's a testament to her writing that it can evoke such a response. For me, I just get so immersed in the world she creates that instead of my usual tendency to speed through books, I find myself wanting to savor every word. And if you ask me, that's the only way to read her writing. I will say it's a slow burn pretty much from start to finish and it did take a bit of time to hook me but once I was in, I was all in. I found myself thinking about it days after I finished and the more I reflect on it, the more I'm impressed by the story and look forward to seeing where it goes next.

Which is why instead of even trying to sum up the book for you (which will not do it justice anyway!), I say just read it and let yourself be swept away by Strange the Dreamer.

Do I recommend? So. much. yes.

1 comment

  1. It amuses me that you've read STRANGE THE DREAMER and I have not yet, lol. But I'm so thrilled to hear that you adored it! I've been looking forward to it since I first heard about it, but I'm definitely saving it to read when I'm in the right mood ;)


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