A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn statistics for teen suicides.
Many people are struggling with problems, even if they don't look like they are. Asking for help or sharing worries doesn't mean you're weak. Families can pull together in times of hardship if the members trust in one another.
Positive Role Models
Former friend rekindles friendship and helps grieving teen. Teacher lends emotional support to teen. Therapist patiently works with teen and finds ways of helping her come to terms with her grief.
Violence & Scariness
Description of self-inflicted gunshot. Vivid and graphic nightmares.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. French kissing. A couple of references to couples "getting busy" in the back seat of a car.
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Swear words used infrequently, including "ass," "bitch," "butthead," "dick," "bulls--t," "f--king," "s--t," "god," "a--hole," and "douche."
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Products & Purchases
Xanax, Valium, Walmart, Brut cologne, Kia Rio, YouTube, Clinique, Macy's, Olive Garden, Advil, Barbie, Denny's, Halo, Guitar Hero, Settlers of Catan, Barnes & Noble, Jamba Juice, Long Island Medium, Circuit City, Clorox, Hershey, Diet Coke, Fanta, Wii, McDonald's, Pop-Tarts, Toys "R" Us, Virginia Slims, TMZ, My Little Pony, Old Spice, Polo, Super 8 Motel, Outback Steakhouse, Jimmy John's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult takes Valium with wine. Teen and adults smoke. Adult starts drinking a lot to cope with grief. Preteens caught trying stolen cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last Time We Say Goodbye is the story of a high school senior, Lexie Riggs, dealing with the aftermath of her younger brother's suicide. Her ability to cope is complicated by her parent's recent divorce and her lingering guilt over whether she could have stopped her brother. Lexie tries to hide her feelings, thinking she's being strong, but not facing her emotions takes a physical and emotional toll on her. Adult characters drink and smoke. Teen characters smoke, and there's some minor kissing and making out. Swearing is infrequent but includes "f--king," "a--hole," and "s--t."
Is It Any Good?
THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE is a well-written and heartrending story. Lexie Riggs is a mature and responsible teen and a relatable protagonist. When her younger brother, Tyler, commits suicide, her world is completely changed forever. People don't know how to talk to her, and she feels like an outcast, when in reality she's casting herself out. She mistakes dealing with her grief alone for being strong. She doesn't want anyone to see her cry, but her efforts to avoid dealing with her grief start to have terrible effects on her emotionally and physically.
In many books, it can be frustrating to see characters shut themselves off, but Lexie's character is well-fleshed-out, so we understand why she tries a rational approach to an emotional problem. The depth of her mother's sorrow is raw, real, and heartbreaking. And even though Lexie feels she should be strong enough to help her family heal, she's a kid harboring her own guilt at not being home to stop her brother from killing himself. Her grief puts a strain on all her relationships: her friends, her boyfriend, and her parents. Author Cynthia Hand creates very realistic scenarios for Lexie and her family, which make for a compelling, moving story. The chapters alternate between Lexie's present, past, dreams, and journal her therapist asks her to write. As the book progresses, the reader gets a deeper glimpse into the family and personal dynamics at play in Tyler's suicide and the aftermath.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.