First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words. The meme is based on the idea that instead of judging a book by its cover, author, prestige, we judge it instead by its opening line(s). You can check out my review of the book here!
When someone like Staff Sergeant Raymond K. Rodriguez leaves to fight for their country, the rest of you wait, counting down the days until the next arrival, and the next leave — because there’s little breathing in between. You check the empty mailbox, hold your phones like bulletproof vests, and bargain with whoever you pray to that your fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers don’t come home in a box. No one wants to be in the FLOAT phase — Fallen Loved Ones Awaiting Transfer. Not knowing when the body of your loved one will arrive on American soil wrapped in ice. So you can release that pang you’ve been holding on to, only to replace it with a new one. So you can stop pacing in fear, and hold on to something else: acceptance.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Author: Candace Ganger
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.