I received an eARC copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Many thanks to Wednesday Books for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for my honest review! Quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may not match final publication.
Hello fellow book lovers! Join me today as I embark on my FIRST EVER blog tour post. I’m reviewing Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candance Ganger (as the title suggests).
This is an #ownvoices book for the following mental health representation (social anxiety; generalized anxiety disorder; OCD; PTSD) as well as biracial rep. There is also pansexual/bisexual rep but I’m sure whether this part is ownvoices.
CONTENT WARNINGS: death of loved ones (mentioned several times); descriptive details and representation of mental disorders such panic attacks, instrusive thoughts, mention of a suicide attempt, PSTD, grief, anxitey, OCD.
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go
Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.
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.
I finally get to read a story where I see several parts of my own mental health experience represented and it felt VALIDATING AS FUCK.
Both our protagonists, Naima and Dew are on the same messy, complicated adventure we call life, but have the downside of dealing with their mental illnesses and grief over losing their loved ones together.
Naima was my favorite character to read about because I felt her frustration/anger and I relate to many of her struggles with mental illness. Like Naima, I also live with GAD, depression, and intrusive thoughts. Reading her thoughts was like listening to myself.
“I’m still learning how to be my own hero. My deepest darkest fear is, maybe I never will”
I like that she has a fiestiness and snarkiness to her, because people tend to believe that the quiet types are the ones with mental disorders, but Naima shows mental health isn’t relegated to one kind of person. I liked that we get to see her flaws or perceived flaws.
I found a few things in common with Dew, such as his social anxiety and his panic attacks. The first panic attack we see was a difficult part to read for me knowning that I’ve been through that many times before, but it felt great to see it at the same time. I know that’s weird how I explained it, but it just worked for me. I also relate to how he is undecided with his own future.
His description of his panic attacks just hit me with the reality of my own panic attacks I’ve had.
“Nevertheless, my body crumbles in exhaustion. My panic attacks, the conselor explained, may without warning, but the triggers are related to my parents, PSTD…”
I felt a little annoyed with him at first, his behavior towards Naima is a little awkward and creepy (he referes to her as a manic pixie dream girl BUT he did admit its problematic! so we stan I guess?). But I do realize that his way of coping and living with his anxiety is a little different than mine and that’s valid.
SOME OTHER NEAT THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK
- As stated earlier, I mentioned biracial rep (Naima and Dew are Latinx – Naima is Puerto-Rican and white!!)
- GOOD GRIEF REP
- JJ and Kam are excellent grandparents
- Faith is the best sister who is into WWE like I used to be so that brought some nostalgia
- Strained relationships with parental figures!
- NAIMA IS A PANSEUXAL QUEEN
She doesn’t even acknowledge my taste in people-because gender is fluid-and if I were into any person, it sure as hell wouldn’t be that kid.
- Therapy, counseling, and medication is mentioned which is awesome because it needs to be featured more in stories.
- Naima and Dew’s friendships is well developed and I just want to see more platonic f/m friendships in YA.
I’ll be honest and admit that this was a difficult read for me because of said mental illness descriptions because its what I go through EVERYDAY. I want to read books about my experience but also not because its like reading your own life.
Naima and Dew’s mental health experiences are not EXACTLY like mine but it doesn’t have to be for me to feel a connection with their collective stories.
So my final message is to let teens (and people in general) with all mental disorders tell their story and let them exist.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.
Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks
Link to retailers: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250116246