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Alluring Reads

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Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye

Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye - Shari A. Brady When I started my blog I was so sure that I was only a fan of stories that had paranormal elements or that were dystopians. As I have been opening up my mind to other genres I have come to realize that the books that I really love, the ones that stick with me for a long time to come are contemporary issue books. I love a book that deals with a heavy issue and that has characters that feel as if they are people I could walk out on the street and meet any day. Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye fits that bill and I ate it up in a single sitting.Carmella is dealing with the sudden death of her sister Francesca. She’s feeling so much guilt because the day before Francesca died of an overdose in her bathroom she called Carmella and asked her to go to an AA meeting with her but Carmella refused because they hadn’t been getting along lately. I felt so bad for Carmella, throughout the story the guilt of having said no to her sister is just slowly eating away at her. She goes through a lot of different phases in her grief and I think Brady portrayed how a teenager in this situation copes really well. From not sleeping, to not eating and simply closing herself off to everyone I really felt how broken up she was about the loss of her sister. I didn’t always agree with the things Carmella did, she would often blow up on the people around her and I wanted to grab her and tell her to calm down and take a step back. But I understood why she was acting the way that she was. I think that’s a very important part of a story such as this, the only way for an author to get away with a character acting as bullheaded as this is to really develop her story and make us understand her.Carmella is not only dealing with the loss of her sister, but she is also dealing with living in the shadow her Francesca’s mistakes in the eyes of her parents. Ugh her parents, I was so frustrated with them throughout this story, and while a lot of their actions seemed a bit over the top, I could understand why they were being the way that they were. It was hard to see them project all of Francesca’s mistakes onto Carmella and take away their trust in her because of the life that her big sister led. The grief of the loss not only had them worried about Carmella but they were also at odds with each other. The loss of a child is never easy and we get to see how it eats away at a home slowly.There is some light in the darkness of this story. Carmella meets the awesome Howie who had the perfect over-the-top personality to pull down the walls that she had put up. I wasn’t sure about Howie in the beginning, when they first started hanging out I found his personality pretty grating but once he started opening up more you realize that he’s just dealing with his own demons. I think the two of them really balanced each other out which made Carmella loosening up around him much more believable. One relationship that didn’t really hit the mark was Carmella and Anna’s friendship. I can’t place my finger on why, but I didn’t feel that they were as close as they were supposed to be. Maybe because at no point did I particularly come to like Anna so when they were fighting I didn’t really care, and I didn’t feel Carmella’s longing to talk to her again.While I did take some issue with the relationships in Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye it was definitely an enjoyable and touching read. It wasn’t as profound as I had anticipated but it managed to hit the mark in many areas and create a beautifully bleak atmosphere. Is it strange that I think bleak can be beautiful? Hm. Probably.An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.--You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.