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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
*Thank you to St. Martin Press and NetGalley for sending me an advanced copy of Six Goodbyes in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for also letting me ask Ms. Ganger some questions!
When I was asked if I wanted to take part in an author Q&A with Candace Ganger, I immediately said yes! I had fallen in love with Six Goodbyes and couldn't wait to ask my questions. So excuse the longer post, but I wanted to share Ganger's responses:
1. SIX GOODBYES deals with a lot of sensitive topics: mental health, death, family relationships, etc. Were you ever nervous about how to accurately portray Naima and Dew? Did you feel a deeper connection to one of them over the other based on their personalities?
Nervous? Yep. But I'm nervous in general. That anxiety Dew carries is all me. That use of Sarcasm to deflect from the deeply rooted pain like Naima is all me, too. Of course I wanted to tell their stories with great care, but at the same times, what they're going through is relatable to so many — they're what I've gone through, and still do. Portraying them meant portraying the darker pieces of my mental health, and though it's still something I work through everyday, it Was my hope to inspire others to speak more openly about their own. I have a kinship with Dew because he's a version of my personality elementary through middle school. I was afraid of everyone and wanted to find the good in everything. But Naima...she's the part of me that's not afraid to blaze her own trail. She's a little more brash than me, but I admire that and wish I could be more like her. I relate to her more than any character I've ever written both physically, emotionally, and mentally. From identity issues to the loss of her father, her exhausting OCD. and how she keeps everyone at arm's length.
2. There's an emphasis on this not being a love story, even though we see a different kind of relationship build between Dew and Naima. What made you move away from building a traditional relationship between them? And might there be a possibility of a sequel or companion novel in the future where we can see them again?
To be honest, I'm tired of love stories. In my life, not every important relationship has been romantic. Some of my best friends have been guys. The two are so different, I wanted them to learn from one another how to evolve; not fall in love. It was more about helping them grow as people, separate from a relationship so they could each become fully comfortable in their own skin, before the possibility of a relationship down the line. As of now, there is no sequel planned, but if there is enough love for these two, I'm sure they still have plenty of stories to tell.
3. I'm always interested in what authors like to read! What would you say are your favourite books or authors? How (if any) have they inspired you?
Lately, I've been more on a memoir kick, Rob Rufus's Die Young With Me is a brilliant tale of a kickass author's journey with cancer at a young age (and how he overcame it). I also really love Gorilla and the Bird for its take on mental health because it feels so so relatable to situations I've been in and conversations I've had. We need more books that are authentic and raw and honest: I like windows into other people's lives — people who can teach me something about life. That aside, I've read and some of the books I bought my daughter like Courtney Summers's Sadie, The Hate U Give by Queen Angie (obviously!). On the Come Up (Obviously!), and am just now digging into The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert, and am catching up on Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton before it hits Netflix!
AND NOW FOR MY REVIEW OF SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID!
Not a Traditional Romance
I love romance in novels, but I truly appreciated that Six Goodbyes is about healing and providing support instead of giving readers a traditional romance as the focus. This is incredibly compelling to find in a contemporary novel for teens because it's a reminder that there are so many facets to life, and while romantic love is wonderful, people need to be able to love themselves first. While there is romance in the novel, it's definitely not what I was expecting. I'm hoping to see a lot more of Dew and Naima in a future novel where we get the chance to see where their story has moved!
Dew Stole My Heart!
He was such a different character than I have previously read and I loved the way he chooses to see the world. He's been through so much but he doesn't let the bad things from his past overtake the way he looks at his future. Although he has his struggles, he is constantly trying to show kindness to others, often going out of his way to try to make others happy. Like Naima, he often becomes obsessed with things and is constantly trying to manage his social anxiety, but he never gives up the fight. I also loved his relationship with his second parents and sister. He's just such a beautiful boy.
Naima Is Harder to Connect With...
...but that's the point. One moment that stayed with me was when Naima talked about loving her body, but it was her brain she has a problem with, and this just completely broke my heart. She's such a strong, smart young woman, but there are aspects of her brain that she just does not have control of. Dew sees her in such a beautiful light and I loved that we slowly start to understand her and see her the way he does. She puts up shields because it's all she can do to protect herself from the harshness of the world around her. She's so different from Dew, but that doesn't make her less than anyone else.
Overall, this was such a beautiful story. The premise and characters are so different from any other books I've read and I really enjoyed getting to both read the text and have my questions answered by Candace Ganger. She's even given me some new authors and books to read with her response to the 3rd question! Six Goodbye's We Never Said comes out tomorrow (September 24th!) and I'd highly recommend that everyone gives it a read.
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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