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.
When I went into this book I was prepared for a dark and depressing read about a girl who’s mourning the loss of her sister. Now yes, Marcella is mourning the loss of her sister, but this book isn’t all dark and depressing. It’s been several months since her sister has died of a drug overdose and Marcella is struggling to move on. Actually, she’s not really trying to move on. She dwells on her sister and the blame she’s placed on herself. She knows she needs to move on but yet she can’t seem to find a way to do so. But when she meets Howie she finds that there is laughter still inside her and he makes her the happiest she’s been since before her sister died. But yet she seems to blame herself for so much and she has a hard time letting something good happen. She’s afraid, but I think she didn’t feel deserving either. And while the book has it’s dark moments and may bring up a tear or two, it has it’s light moments as well and for me that kept it from being a truly dark book.
A lot of the story is Marcella’s relationship with her parent’s. They were extremely frustrating as they took away her car and they think sheltering to the extreme will keep her safe, will keep her from becoming her sister. They forget to listen to what she has to say and dismiss any feelings she shares with them. This leads to her lying to them about everything and pushing herself away from her family completely. I liked the family issues in the book and how they all struggled so much but couldn’t seem to communicate at all. Her father had me so furious because he was such a jerk, but this made room for some tremendous growth in the book.
This was a very fast read for me and I felt a true connection with Marcella. I definitely recommend this one to fans of Young Adult contemporary.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.