You know, it's not often that a book really gets to me emotionally. Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye by Shari Brady ripped me up. I mean, ripped. me. up. My heart is still aching! It's a moving young adult novel about a teenager dealing with the loss of her sister and learning to understand her parents. Here is the synopsis:
Before my older sister Francesca died, I worked at the bakery and wrote songs, but now I write lists. Lists like ten reasons why it's my fault Francesca's dead, or five reasons why I should try and win Howie back, or one reason why I need to stop lying to everyone, including myself.
Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye is an extraordinary novel about one family's struggle to make sense of their world after losing a family member to addiction. Through sixteen-year-old Carmella's eyes, we witness the courage and strength it takes to overcome the consequences of grief, guilt and co-dependency. With conviction and determination, Carmella shows us what can happen when we're open to love, feel the pain of our loss, and find the courage to accept the truth of our lives.
I was into this book as soon as I started reading it. Ms. Brady does an excellent job of capturing the teen voice and the spirit of Carmella. Carmella is like so many girls in high school--struggling to fit in, dealing with peer pressures, clothing concerns, and boys. Of course, she has an additional burden: her sister Francesca died of a drug overdose which shocks their parents. Carmella has a lot of guilt over the passing of her sister. She constantly wonders if she should have spoken up regarding her sister's drug use. Knowing how afraid she is to take risks and admit how she really feels, you can't help but feel sorry for this poor kid who has no one to talk to.
Her parents are also well crafted characters. They both care about their children, yet they seem to be oblivious to a lot of things going on around them. However, like a lot of parents who experience this kind of tragedy, they tightened the rope around Carmella after her sister's death, not really hearing her concerns or needs. The relationship between the parents and the daughter is all too realistic and definitely eye opening.
Luckily, there is a boy in this scenario who influences Carmella in a good way. Howie is the boy that many of us would have liked to have met in high school--funny, cute, but not full of himself. Their relationship is interesting to watch develop.
This is a fast paced story and though it may seem that a tale like this would be depressing, I found it to be uplifting. It's the kind of book you want your teenage kids to sit down and read with you. It's a quick read, but manages to make a strong emotional connection to the reader. I look forward to reading more from Shari Brady.
As luck would have it, we are giving away a copy here at All Things Writing today! Be sure to enter the Giveaway and check out the author's bio and buy links.
About the Author
Shari A. Brady is a native Chicagoan and previously had so many careers she’s lost count. A graduate of Loyola University’s Business School and University of Chicago’s Creative Writing program, she’s finally a full-time writer, a dream she’s carried with her since she was twelve. She lives in suburban Chicago with her awesome husband, two of the best kids ever, and their shelter dog, Betty Queen Elizabeth. This is her first novel and her last career.
a Rafflecopter giveaway