Goodbye Days (Paperback)

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Goodbye Days By Jeff Zentner Cover Image

Goodbye Days (Paperback)


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Staff Reviews

Four teens. Best friends. Three die in a car accident because the fourth texts them asking where they are, and the driver responds. With nothing and no one left, #4 sets out to live one last imaginary day with each of his friends, "goodbye days," while defending a possible murder charge. Grief, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, pain, accountability. But somehow, it's not a depressing book. There's redemption, hope, friendship, inspiration, appreciation, closure. No words will describe how incredible this book is. Zentner is lyrical, thoughtful, insightful; yet edgy: a true master of his craft. A cool book for teens, adults will appreciate and admire it, and it's perfect to discuss in book groups. 

— Kristen Gilligan, Co-owner, Tattered Cover

Goodbye Days portrays a nearly perfect balance between mystery and tragedy, with the main character Carver learning to move on from the loss of his close friends while also avoiding the families of his friends after his text costs them their lives in fear of their own form of revenge.

— Emily B., Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member

Loss is hard. It breaks you. It shows you who you are. So when Carver Briggs's three best friends Mars, Eli, and Blake die in a car crash after trying to respond to a text that he sent, he blames himself and feels he has lost everything. Eli's sister, Adair, and Mars's father, who's a judge, both hate him, and make his life a living hell on two fronts. But he has new allies in his therapist, Dr. Mendez, Eli's girlfriend, Jesmyn, and Blake's grandmother. She asks for a Goodbye day with Carver to say a final goodbye to her grandson, and soon the other families are asking for them too, with unclear motives. But the thing about loss is that it doesn't just break you, it builds you into the person you are today. This book was an incredible story about love, loss, and hope for a better future, and is one of the best books I have recently read.

— Lexie J., Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board

This book is about a high schooler who feels responsible for the deaths of his 3 best friends who die in a car reck. He had texted them while he knew one of them was driving. I loved how real this book was with the struggles and internal battles that the characters go through as they deal with their grieve.


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner is a book that all young adults to read. The consequences of texting come to life in this amazing read. The author develops the characters so you really get to know them. You will giggle, cry and be shocked! 


Zentner's "Goodbye Days" takes his reader into the heart and mind of a teenager struggling with guilt and shame.  Actually, it's about so much more than that.  Zentner delivers deep, dynamic characters and even deeper relationships between teenagers and parents.  But, don't worry, you'll smile and laugh, as well.


I really loved this book about a junior in high school who goes through a very tragic event that will be with him for the rest of his life.  I loved the character development, the wide variety of characters, and the important message the author is sharing.  I think this is a very powerful book that all teenagers need to read.


Goodbye Days is about 3 teens who die in a car crash from texting while driving and the aftermath of grief and heartbreak by the 4th friend. The book has deep charachers who are learning to cope with loss, from the high school boy to the parents of the children. It’s a tear-jerker and it brings up many current issues including the legal complications of death from texting and driving. A must-read, but have the tissues ready! 


When his three best friends are killed in a car accident because the driver was texting, Carver is consumed with guilt. He is one who had sent the text that his friend was answering. Through opening up to the family members of his three friends, Carver is able to start to deal with the grief and guilt he feels about their deaths. Goodbye Days is a wonderfully written story about dealing with grief and loss, while at the same time learning how to and live. Zentner has developed multi-faceted, realistic characters who make you both laugh and cry. Such a great read!


Heartbreaking and beautiful, Goodbye Days is about the unbearable burden of grief Carver Briggs must carry after learning that he might be responsible for the deaths of his three best friends. This book made my cry and laugh out loud. Zentner's writing is beautiful and captivating. I fell in love with the characters and appreciated his attention to the adult characters, as well.



— Cherry Creek High School Book Group

What would you do if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?  From the award winning author of The Serpent King comes an acclaimed story of grief, guilt and the chance to say goodbye. And don't miss the author's highly anticipated new book, In the Wild Light!

“Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming.” —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything.
Where are you guys? Text me back. That's the last message Carver Briggs will ever send his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. He never thought that it would lead to their death.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation. 
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a “goodbye day” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.
Soon the other families are asking for their own goodbye day with Carver—but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these goodbye days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

“Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you.” —Becky Albertalli, Morris Award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Jeff Zentner is the acclaimed author of The Serpent King. In addition to writing, he is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. Goodbye Days is his love letter to the city of Nashville and the talented people who populate it. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son. You can follow him on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter at @jeffzentner.

Product Details ISBN: 9780553524093
ISBN-10: 0553524097
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Pages: 432
Language: English
"Jeff Zentner, you perfectly fill the John-Green-sized hole in our heart."Justine Magazine

“Evocative, heartbreaking, and beautifully written."

"Masterful." —Teen Vogue

Tender, honest, moving, and lyrical. Zentner is the real thing.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and Printz Honor winner

An Indie Next List Selection

"Zentner does an excellent job in creating empathetic characters, especially his protagonist Carver, a budding writer whose first-person account of his plight is artful evidence of his talent."—Booklist, Starred

"Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events."—Publishers Weekly, Starred

"[E]xquisite and tragic." –Shelf Awareness, Starred

"[A] novel full of wisdom." —Kirkus

"[The] kind of intelligent, intense, and life-affirming tale that will resonate with teens seeking depth and honesty." —SLJ

"An organic, frequently raw narrative." –Horn Book

"Tissues not optional." The Bulletin

Praise for Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King

A William C. Morris Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A BuzzFeed Best YA Book of the Year
An Indie Next List Top Ten Selection

A Paste Magazine and Popcrush Most Anticipated YA Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Spring Flying Start

"Move over, John Green; Zentner is coming for you." —The New York Public Library

Will fill the infinite space that was left in your chest after you finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” —Book Riot

“A story about friendship, family and forgiveness, it’s as funny and witty as it is utterly heartbreaking.” —Paste Magazine

“A brutally honest portrayal of teen life . . . [and] a love letter to the South from a man who really understands it.” —Mashable

“Zentner’s great achievement — particularly impressive for a first novel — is to make us believe three such different people could be friends. He also manages to blend a dank, oppressive, Flannery O’Connor-esque sense of place with humor and optimism .... I adored all three of these characters and the way they talked to and loved one another.” —New York Times Book Review