Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (eArc Review)

UK Publishing: April 6, 2017
: Random House
Page Count
: 416

**I was provided with an eArc by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

When I first saw Goodbye Days, I didn’t even know what it was about. However, what I did know was that I needed to read it ASAP! I really enjoyed Zentner’s first book, The Serpent King, so I was over the moon when I got approved for the arc now (even though I pre-ordered it before anyway) and it was even more fun to read because I had Cátia and Cristina along on the ride!

Going into a book written by Jeff Zentner, you have to be prepared for sadness. I knew this, I hardened my heart, but I still cried multiple times. While the Serpent King was more of a punch in the gut, this was like a constant cloud of somberness following you around. There’s such an important message here – don’t text while driving! It’s what starts this mess and then unabashedly portrays the devastating aftermath. It sugarcoats nothing and goes deep into the self-blame, the anxiety, the loneliness and sometimes downright panic of the situation.

“For the most part, you don’t hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

I thought that most of the story was handled in a very realistic way and that it flowed beautifully. No matter how emotional or intense the book gets, it never overwhelms you. The sadness comes in waves and little punches instead, always revealing something new to you about the people Carver cared so much about and he loved those boys so very much. I enjoyed that this was a book about friendship and family, especially the parents or guardians had important roles to play and we all know how rare that is in YA these days. There might be a sort of romantic sub-plot, but it didn’t take up too much of the time and I liked how that was left in the end.

The only reason this book isn’t a complete 5-star-read for me, is that I struggled a bit with the criminal investigation. While I understand the components of guilt and blame, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the legal charges. I think it was explained pretty well, but I just don’t believe that those claims were substantial, which is also why I wasn’t entire happy with the resolution of that part. It’s really only a minor thing though, something that adds to the drama I guess.

Finally, there’s a cameo of someone from The Serpent King and it’s bit of a spoiler if you realise that person is the cameo. So, I would recommend you read the other book first, but it’s completely up to you.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Another crazy emotional ride with Zentner.

Have you read Goodbye Days? Do you want to?

19 thoughts on “Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (eArc Review)

  1. I’m halfway through this book right now and THE TEARS ARE REAL. I was reading it while on an airplane and at one point I just had to stop before it got embarrassing. I’m also having a hard time wrapping my head around the legal aspect of it. I’m not sure I buy it, but what do I know, it might’ve actually happened somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I cried A LOT! But it was more the silent tears rolling down my face, while I downright sobbed during The Serpent King, if that makes sense? Poor you! You still have so much heartbreak ahead.
      But yeah, the legal aspect is the only thing that’s putting me off, because in my opinion the ultimate responsibility ALWAYS remains with the driver. Anyway, I won’t give away how it’s resolved, just that I wish it had gone a bit differently.


      • I haven’t read The Serpent King but I’ll have to do that soon! And yeah, I don’t see how the responsibility could be anywhere else but the person who chose to text while driving. He could’ve just… not. The law is DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE not DON’T TEXT SOMEONE WHO’S DRIVING. I’m curious to see what’ll happen, hopefully they don’t actually charge Carver because I’ll be pretty angry lol.


  2. Great review, Kat! I’ve read this book a while back and would agree with you, actually – I also didn’t really buy into the criminal investigation side of things (though I understand why that was the premise, because it made it that much more interesting). I was definitely prepared for sadness but man, this book was saaaad. 😛

    Did you enjoy this or The Serpent King better? I think I have a preference for TSK.


    • Thanks so much, Reg! ❤
      I am glad I am not the only one who was a little put off by the criminal investigation, but yeah, it definitely ups the stakes.
      And I think I prefer TSK too, even though I felt like this flowed a bit better. But man, it took me forever to realise that cameo hahaha I was like "that sounds so familiar" 😛


      • You know, I’ve always wanted to write a story about a character working through grief. But it has to be through my own twisted storytelling style, or I get bored. The downside of being me and being so into horror, I guess. Even Stephen King can do literary on occasion, but I’m not so sure I can.


  3. I’ve still not read The Serpent King and it’s been sitting on my shelf for a year now. The shame is real. I’m super excited about this book as well. I now know that I’ll basically need an emergency stash of tissues and comfort food for any Jeff Zentner book but I love that the emotion and intensity never overwhelms you. I basically need to have a Zentner binge reading sesh. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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