This is my first blog tour!
Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Author: Candace Ganger
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: September 24th
Book jacket summary:
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.
This was a difficult book to get through with the many complexities that come from mental illness and grief. Definitely a TRIGGER WARNING for death of a parent, suicide, and mental illness.
The mental illness representation in this book was spot on. I thought this was an incredible look into characters who all struggle with different mental illnesses and then they are bombarded with a massive amount of grief and trauma. There were times I just wanted to shake Naima for how she was acting, but it wasn’t her fault. These characters are not always dealing with their grief in the most constructive ways, but readers are given the chance to learn from their mistakes. You could tell the author really new what she was talking about when it came to GAD, OCD, PTSD, and grief, as she deals with some of these issues herself.
In a lot of books I’ve read recently, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been enjoying dual perspectives as much as I have in the past. I’m not saying that all multi perspective books are bad or that I’ll never read and enjoy that kind of story ever again, but I do think it has to be a really special story and characters for it to work. What I’m wanting is more focus on one main character and to dive in deeper with that person. Despite Naima being an unlikeable character, I think I would have enjoyed it more from just her perspective. Dew’s grief could still be shown as a way to help Naima but I think his sections were a little lacking. I also think there needed more grounding in the narrative—something that might have been helped with more focus. As we shifted back and forth between characters, I had a hard time telling where in time we were and which perspective.
I really loved the side characters—both families and the co-workers at the coffee shop. Everyone was trying so hard to help our main characters through their grief while also grieving themselves or, like with Dew’s family, tackle two new kids who have lost their parents and are now living with strangers. There was so much support coming from these families, you knew as a reader that these teens were going to be okay in the end.
If you want an honest look at mental illness and grief, I definitely recommend you take a look at this book when it comes out on September 24th.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.