Different books impact their readers in different ways; and each book impacts its readers in different ways as well. But some books have at least one (universal) appeal or a singular impact on their readers; and I do feel that this book is one such. The Book: Six Goodbyes We Never Said. The Impact: Tugging at heartstrings.
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Press for the eARC of the book; and thanks again to Wednesday Press for inviting me on this blog tour for ‘Six Goodbyes We Never Said’.
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
St. Martin’s Press
Teens & YA
Pub Date 24 Sep 2019
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go
Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.
Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.
Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.
Reviewer’s (well, my) Note
This review is a day later than intended. For one, I started reading it later than planned; and while I thought I could read it at break-neck speed, this is not a book you can read quickly. It makes you pause, think, remember, and more. And for another, it was a tough review to write. This version here is my third-ish attempt.
The Book Review Itself
This book is kind of an ode for those who suffer from issues discussed in the book, including PTSD, OCD, and social anxiety. As I read it, it made me feel:
– feel empathy for those who have issues like OCD; feel sympathy for and want to reach out to those with PTSD and social anxiety; and simply feel for all of us who have gone through grief at the loss of loved ones sometime in our lives.
What I loved about it:
- Naima’s unsent emails in response to her dad’s voicemails (because she never picked up when he called): These conversations (well, sort of, because they ..) are poignant (so much so) and remind you of things left unsaid that SHOULD have been said; because, you know ‘Life is Short’ so make it matter.
- Naima’s ‘would you rathers’ that make you ponder, and want to make you pause and keep reading all at the same time. And her side notes that made me smile every once in a while.
- Violet’s silver linings peppered all along the book that perk your spirits
- Dew’s recordings and neologisms (adorbville for one) that made me smile more often than not.
- In addition, this is a book that celebrates family and friendship. I love that it does not automatically dissolve/evolve(?) a friendship between a boy and a girl into romance. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Dew and his foster sister, Faith, evolve from something beautiful into something more beautiful. As a parent, I loved even more the portrayal of every single parental figure in the book. That certainly lifted my spirits.
- The dual POV format of the book, which took a while for me to get into, but once I did, I realized the book’s format is just right.
- The way the book embraces quirkiness…
- Characters that are real – kind, mean, weird, quirky, normal, those wearing their ‘souls on the outside’ and those hiding their hurts ‘in a suit of gleeful’, and everything in between; characters dealing with real issues and real life in real ways.
- And yes, Faith, Stella, JJ, Thomas, Kam, Nell, PS the flytrap, Hiccup the Pekingese, and essentially all the other characters who find their way into this book.
- This is a #ownvoices book; and it shows.
What might have made it even better
- More Nell..(For those yet to read the book, Nell is Naima’s stepmother and I ached for her)
- Lyrics to the songs Dew refers to (by August Moon…)!
- That is all…can’t think of anything else
Other Random Thoughts
I highlighted and bookmarked so many lines in this book that I had to stop doing it at one point.
The pauses I mentioned earlier in the book were oftentimes because I recalled my dad who passed away last November, and I know how tough it is to say goodbye (especially when it has not been said)
While I do know that people respond to issues that they face differently, including grief, Ganger shows that difference in a stark yet real way with the main characters of Dew and Naima.
Quotes I loved (well, only a fraction of them)
- “Hope never leaves us – we’re the ones who abandon it.”
- “Kindness matters. Not only when it is hard – especially when it is.”
- ‘…. – maybe the thing we’re all in search of is right in front of us.’
- ‘Would you rather listen to something that will break you, or always wonder what words may have been?’
- ‘…..Dad……, even when I felt like the most invisible thing in any room, he saw me.’
- ‘Everyone needs that person. The one who sees you stuck between the minute and the hour hands of your most painful moments, and reaches out for you.’
As I mentioned at the beginning, I feel this book will tug at the heartstrings of everyone who reads it. It might be a hard read for some because of the issues it deals with or for others because of the way it is written with its dual POV and dipping back and forth in time; but it is regardless a read that will, well, tug at your heartstrings ALL THE WAY…
Reading Level: 14 years and above
Side note: This book, its cover, and something else about it brought to mind another YA book I read. While that one is powerful in its own way, this one tugs at your heartstrings slowly, but surely.
About the Author
CANDACE GANGER is a young adult author, contributing writer for HelloGiggles, and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.
Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks
Check out Macmillan Books to order the book or read an excerpt.