Parents' Guide to

Six Goodbyes We Never Said

By Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Teens struggle with grief, mental illness in moving novel.

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This insightful and sometimes heartbreaking novel sensitively tackles tough issues around teens struggling with both mental illness and the death of a parent. While Six Goodbyes We Never Said is fiction, Naima's and Drew's storylines come from a place author Candace Ganger knows all too well. She begins and ends the novel with powerful messages for readers who may be suffering in silence: "I am you." In the introductory author's note, she writes of sharing many of Naima's and Drew's characteristics, fears, and pains and that Naima's OCD, GAD, and PTSD are "all pieces of me." In the acknowledgements at the end of the novel, she reveals she was hospitalized during the writing of the novel and the gratitude she felt for the help she received from therapists, friends, and family.

While Naima's grandparents and Drew's adoptive parents are a constant source of love and encouragement, parents might want to caution readers that not every teen with mental health challenges will find this kind of family support.

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