Mundie Moms

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, Book Review

By: Cynthia Hand
Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: 2/10/15 - TODAY
Source: arc/book from publisher in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 5 Stars - This Book Moved Me
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

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.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

My Brief Review:

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a beautiful, emotional, thought provoking story that will move it's readers in unexpected ways. You can't read this book, and not be changed by some part of it. There's something within this story that will resonate with each of it's readers, and it won't leave them same after they finish it.  This is Cynthia Hand's best book yet! 

My favorite quote from the book: "The people we love are never truly gone."

My Long Review:

Cynthia Hand has out done herself with this book. Within the first couple of pages of this book I was emotionally hooked. I was ready to break down and sob for the characters. And you know, that's not a bad thing. I was however, surprised that it took no time at all for Cynthia to emotionally connect me to Lex and her story. 

This book is beautifully written. Everything about this book is well thought out, and paced just perfectly, allowing the reader to absorb and understand all the Lex is going through and feeling, as she tries to piece together her life after her brother's death. Oh the feelings I have for this book. I really wish I could just bottle up all my emotions, vs try to explain them. It would be so much easier. I felt such a wide range of emotions while reading this book.

It has been awhile since I was this emotionally invested in a book. I cried, and not just once, while reading this book. This story is one many of us can relate to in one way or another, or have been effected by. This story is a reminder that every moment in life is fragile and beautiful. Life is worth living, and memories are worth making. It's so important to never miss the chance to say I love you, to those we love. 

Lex was a character my heart immediately broke for. I wanted to help her. And yet, the beautiful thing about this story is seeing her character learn to cope with her new reality, while trying to piece together the what ifs, as well as moving on with her life. Her actions in this story are justifiable and understandable. She pushes everyone away, including her boyfriend, and best friend. I liked seeing getting glimpses of the girl she was before her brother's death, the girl she was after it, and the girl she was fighting to become. I can't imagine what it's like losing a family member to suicide, but the way Cynthia wrote this story, allowed me to see how it effects a family, and friends, the those close to the relatives left behind. Cynthia gives readers an inside look at what they are feeling, and what is going on. I got why Lex pushed friends away, why her family struggled with going back to their new normal, and how hard it was to finally get to a place where she learned to let go, but still held to her brother's memories.

I greatly admire the way Cynthia Hand also included Lex's family, friends, and the community in this story.There's a rippling effect when someone takes their life, and it not only effects their family, those they love, but also their friends, classmates, and those in the community. It effects everyone differently. Everyone grieves in different ways, and learns to un-excepted ways. Cynthia does a beautiful job at showing readers that. 

Having personally been effected by a friend's suicide in high school, I understood some of Lex's feelings, and her brother's friend Damian's. I understood the trying to piece together the why. I understood trying to solve the, "How could someone who seemed to have everything together, take their own life?" question. I also understood the what if. What if. I personally dwelt with that, and wonderful what if I had talked longer with my friend that evening, or got in touch with the other friend, my friend who committed suicide was looking for. Would that had made a difference? I don't know. I definitely understood the emotions and the why within in this story.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a beautiful, emotional, thought provoking story that will move it's readers in unexpected ways. You can't read this book, and not be changed by some part of it. There's something within this story that will resonate with each of it's readers, and it won't leave them same after they finish it. 

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books; Top Ten Tuesday #19

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

Hello &  welcome to this week's post. Last week's topic was Ten Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet. This week's topic is Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances in Books. This is a great topic, and I broke my post into two parts. I'm listing five things I like and five things I dislike when it comes to romances in books. 

5 Things I Like When It Comes To Romances in Books

1) A Believable Romance. If it's not believable, no matter what genre of book I'm reading, then it's not a good romance. I need a believable romance. I'm talking about the kind where the author allows her characters to fall in love, and I can see that, vs the author telling me. I love watching characters fall in love. I love getting wrapped up into their story while reading their book. 

2) Character Chemistry. This is just as important as having a believable romance. If the characters lack the chemistry, then their romance isn't going be believable. Character chemistry is crucial, and it's one of the things that makes me fall for the characters long before they fall in love with each other. I think this is also my favorite part of reading romances in a book. 

3) Relatable Characters. Who doesn't love relatable characters? If I don't relate to the characters on some level, then I've checked out of the story, and don't care too much about their relationship. I want to care about the characters I'm reading about. 

4) Character Emotions. I love the kind of romances, where I can feel the emotions the characters are feeling. Those the kind of romances that end up sweeping me off my feet as a reader, as much as they do the characters I'm reading about. I'm talking about the natural emotions, that the author allows their characters to feel. The ones that make you relive falling in love for the first time. I want to swoon, laugh, cry, and feel or be reminded of all those same feelings I had when I first fell in love, right along side the characters.

5) Body Language.  This is something Sophie and I have discussed many times when it comes to talking about romances in YA books. We love reading about those relationships where in the beginning, the characters have those subtle touches, the stolen glances, and so forth that hook us. As the story progresses, we begin to wonder when things will progress. We become invested with the "what's going to happen next", and sometimes that may make us a reader, want to shove the two characters together and tell them to make out and get it out of the system already. Some times we like it when characters don't touch much in the beginning, though they have a lot of interaction together. When written well, it's obvious how aware the two characters are of each other, and how much they like each other, even though they haven't yet kissed. It leaves us wanting more from them. Their body language says it all, and gives away their feelings toward each other. 

You know what I'm talking about right? Take Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices for example. There were so many moments of slight touches, stolen glances, and almost kisses that it made us want to scream. It hooked us. We wanted to know what was going to happen next with these two. Well in Sophie's case that was between Jem and Tessa, but since I'm writing this, I'm using Will. haha When written correctly, the tension and the anticipation about what is about to happen leaves us clinging to the pages, because we want to know when the kissy scene will finally happen. Some times, even though we want more, we love it when the author leaves us hanging with the almost kiss, only to be rewarded later on in the story with fabulous kissy scene. *sigh* Cassandra Clare, Ally Carter, and others are great at writing these kind of scenes. 

5 Things I Don't Like When It Comes To Romances in Books

1) Being told vs being shown, how the characters feel about each other. Basically the opposite of everything I listed above. I'm not a fan, and won't read a romance where I don't feel the sparks flying off the pages, or some sort of character emotions. I need to believe it, and feel it vs being told I need to feel it, and that's how the characters feel. 

2) No character chemistry. If the characters don't have any chemistry, then I'm calling bs on their romance. The chemistry is so important. If chemistry is lacking than nothing about their romantic relationship will feel genuine or real to me. 

3) Forced Chemistry. This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to romances. You can not force characters to fall in love. It's not only disastrous for them, but it ruins the entire story. So much is missed when characters aren't allowed to naturally feel a certain way about each other. Along with this, non-consensual physical intimacy. Do not even get me going about this. 

4) Characters Who Can't Say No, also known as spineless characters. I can not stand reading about a character who doesn't know how to say no or stand up for themselves. There are a few books I've read with romances where the character never voiced their opinion, and never once said no, even when they didn't want to do something. I can not stand that. I refer to these kind of characters as the spineless ones. I want to tell them to grow a back bone and say NO. There's powering in saying NO, and it really peeves me off when characters I'm reading about don't empower themselves by saying no. 

5) Those romances where the characters are already falling all over each other, and I'm not even to the end of page five yet. I know some people refer to this as raging teenage hormones, but we all know it's not just in YA books where this happens. There's more to romance than sex, and I love a good romance that gives me more than that. I want to read about characters falling in love, and experience all the ups and downs that come with that. I'm not saying the physical part of that is bad, but when it comes to a romance, I don't want it thrown at me within the first couple of pages, when I don't even know anything about the characters. 

I'd love to know what things you love when it comes to romances in books, and the things you don't like.