Title: WHEN WE SAY GOODBYE
Author: MICHELLE VERNAL
Publication Date: OCTOBER 4, 2019
ABOUT THE BOOK
Can you love when all seems lost?
Ellie Perkins life was right on track until her boyfriend Sam suffers a near-fatal car accident, leaving him in a coma and all their future plans in limbo.
Desperately in need of something to fix, Ellie has to find a project and when her grandparents old house is put up for sale, she jumps at the chance. Because, like Ellie, the house is broken. And if she can fix the house, then surely, it’s just a matter of time before she and Sam are back on their path to happily-ever-after…
A heartbreaking story of love, loss and the path to forgiveness, perfect for fans of Faith Hogan and Amanda Prowse. To be read with tissues.
I’ve never been this emotional before—well I did, but not too much—and I feel like my heart has been ripped into tiny pieces after reading this book. Not only was this book about loss, but it was also about healing. I feel a lot of emotions, mainly sadness. I’ve never cried so hard reading a book like I did with this one.
The whole story is basically about Ellie’s journey to recovery—emotionally—after she suffered a big loss. Also, this is about her journey to find hope again, getting her second chance, and how she cope with her life after what happened to her boyfriend, Sam.
She was fine physically, and she was also mentally stable, but emotionally she was broken. I totally get her, I can understand how she felt. It was truly heartbreaking seeing how lost she has been throughout the whole story. This is the hardest book to read, I thought I won’t survive reading about Ellie’s life and witnessing her going through this long journey to recovery. I cried every time I read each chapter, and my heart hurts too much. The fact that I was able to finish this book still blew my mind.
There was also a lot of things happening in this book, it really shows how many people were sadden by Sam’s accident. Clearly, he has touch a lot of lives. He was so precious, and I get why everyone loved him.
This story doesn’t just focus on Ellie’s life, and her journey, but it also focuses on her friendship with other people. The story also showed a little glimpse to other people’s lives and the problems they were facing in their respective lives. It was nice of the author to touch a little bit on the other characters and making the readers see that not only Ellie has to go through challenges in her everyday lives, but also everyone has their own challenges they need to go through.
It was nice to see what kind of problems the others had to face, and how they try to handle those problems. It made me see very clearly that not only Ellie whose life has gone downhill. But at the end of the day, when Ellie started to get her life together and fix things on her own, she was also there to help fix things for other people. It was good seeing her helping everyone and seeing her slowly recovering. Witnessing what Ellie did to make everything right was so therapeutic.
All the characters in this book are so likable, and so realistic that I feel like the characters are real people. Even though all of them aren’t perfect and they have flaws, but they did try to be better and I can see that the author write these characters so well. Usually, it was hard to find well-written characters in books, but this one was on point. I loved and adored all the characters that appeared in the story despite all their flaws.
Ellie is the heroine of this story, and so she is the main character in this book. She has to go through a lot of things before and after Sam. She started to feel so broken after she received the news of Sam’s accident. From there I can already see her turning into a broken woman who was trying all her best to make the love of her life wakes up again. Watching her hoping for the better days was truly saddening. Seeing her sitting beside Sam’s hospital bed, talking to him while he was still in a coma really hit me so hard. I was hoping for him to wake up too.
It took Ellie exactly one year for her to be able to pick up the pieces of her broken self and also her life again. Her road to recovery was a tough one, she was just emotionally broken and tired, and I understand why she don’t want to get help as her cousin and everyone she knew told her to. Her pain was too big, and going to a support group to tell her story was something she wasn’t able to handle. I totally get her and her whole situation, so I can’t blame her for preferring to go through it all alone by herself.
The whole journey to recovery was truly a life-changing experience for Ellie. The loss and the grief shaped her into a much better version of herself. And her character grew a lot from trying to fix everything in her life that went wrong. Also, seeing her going out and doing some outdoor activities was her step to recovery, and from there she slowly putting back her broken self and be the new version of her—a much stronger version. After all the loss and all the tears, she finally toughen up and do things she doesn’t usually do to cope with everything she has lost in her life.
Watching her new home getting a new makeover, and all those repairing works was like a mirror of Ellie’s life. The house has some broken parts that needed repairs, and the house slowly look so new and yet the old feeling was still there. Just like Ellie, her broken self slowly recover but it needs Ellie to piece it back together, and the outcome was Ellie becoming the new version of her and yet the old her will always be there on the inside. It was like the house symbolize Ellie in a way. Another thing I loved from the author’s writing.
Following Ellie on her journey was emotional; there are happy moments and sad moments too. After all, her journey made her realize that she can’t always hold on to the past, and that eventually she had to let it all go even when she wasn’t ready. She did the right thing by letting the past go and made peace with it, and her problem with her mom—so that she can properly move on with her life.
What I liked the most about Ellie was that, she never stop visiting Sam, and it doesn’t matter how much it hurts her knowing he might not make it, she still make time to visit him. It just shows how big her love for him is. And also, I loved how she was still in contact with Sam’s family, and even visited them. As much as being with his family remind her of him, and how that reminder made me her cry, she was still there hanging out and having dinner with his family. I’m glad her bond with Sam’s family hasn’t broken even after what they’ve been through. It just keeps their bond stronger, and when Sam’s mother said, ”you’re a family too Ellie,” that made me cry harder than I already did. I’m so happy that Sam’s family still consider Ellie as part of their own family. It was beautiful seeing this broken family and this broken woman still have a nice relationship.
Ellie as a whole person was so lovely, broken and yet so strong. Her strength has always been there but she hasn’t discover it yet, and when she did, nothing will stop her to make everything right. I’m so happy seeing how determined she was to fix things with her mother, and her friend, Caro. Ellie is a nicely-written heroine, and the author really did a great job with making Ellie as the heroine of the story.
I don’t know much about Sam and how he is like as a person. But, all the flashback chapters proved that he is so lovable, so patient, and admired by a lot of people who knew him. He loved helping people, and loved exploring the wilderness. Camping was his thing, and he loved doing it. He was so forgiving, and so kind. It was sad that he couldn’t be there physically in the present day chapters, but the memories of him will always keep him alive.
The flashback chapters was hard for me to read, honestly. It was due to knowing Sam wasn’t there in the present made it hard reading the flashback chapters because it was obviously reminiscing all the sweet and happy memories of Ellie and him. Their relationship was smooth and steady, it was nice but even though they were happy together, there are times when they argued—not a big one—but they always apologized to each other, and made up for their mistakes. Ellie and Sam had a nice and healthy relationship from all the memories, and no wonder Ellie was so broken over losing him and why she wasn’t ready to move on. I would say this, Ellie was lucky to have someone like him. These two are so lovely together.
Aside from that, the story also showed Ellie’s relationship with other people. I loved seeing the sisterly relationship that Ellie has with her cousin, Gemma. These two basically grew up together, and it was nice seeing them spending time together and Gemma is the most hilarious character. At least she brings joy into the story and also the one who help Ellie get out the most.
Ellie and Caro also has a nice friendship. Their friendship develops throughout the story, and I liked seeing Ellie helping Caro to open up about the things that Caro doesn’t like to talk about. She basically is Ellie’s boss, and to see them slowly becoming friends was so wonderful.
Connor who is Sam’s best friend also still keep a close friendship with Ellie. These two does spend their time together a lot after the tragedy. They are basically two lonely and broken people who were trying to piece back the broken pieces of themselves. Their friendship was so precious, and that one awkward moment made me scared that they won’t be seeing each other again and it somehow might ruin their friendship. But I’m glad it doesn’t go that way. After all, both of them are grown up people who knew what’s best for them. Despite the awkwardness, I’m happy they still keep their friendship alive.
The precious Uncle Colin and Aunty Paula also still keep a great relationship with their niece, Ellie. These two are Ellie’s guardians since she was a kid. And they’ve always been there in her life. I was so glad that Ellie still has her relatives with her who always try their best to help her go through a rough time. They always supported Ellie and help her in any way they can. And for that, Ellie always feel so grateful to have them in her life. Colin and Paula also still keep a good relationship with Sam’s parents, it was nice to see them coming together to help one another. These two family are so precious.
The hardest part was Ellie and her relationship with her mother. I was curious what made her mother left her in the first place, and why Ellie resented her mother for a very long time. When the truth came out, I finally understood why her mother did what she did. I didn’t say her action was justifiable, all I said was that I truly get why she ran away all those years ago and why she was afraid to come back. There was a lot of hurt between them, and it was really awkward for them reconnect after all these years. But I can say that Ellie’s mother made an effort to mend things with her, even though Ellie was still unsure about it. Like I said, at the end of the day, Ellie was the one to fix things and she also had to let go of the past in order for her to move on and have a great relationship with her mother. Their heart-to-heart talk was the most heartfelt moment in the story. They can finally close the past chapters and open a new chapter now.
Lastly, Joel. He’s a nice addition in the story, and an overall a nice man. He work as a builder and he basically the one who repaired Ellie’s new house along with his team. Even though he and Ellie only met for a few months, I feel like he can connect to Ellie on a deeper level. After all, these two suffered the same loss. Joel also shared with Ellie how he lost the woman he loved, and how he slowly recovered from that tragedy. No wonder Ellie felt so connected to him, because both of them lost the love of their lives and that fact alone brought these two together. In a way, Joel help Ellie realize that going to a support group is pretty helpful. He was like the main reason why Ellie started to make herself feel better. These two shared something that no one was able to relate to. It was nice to have these two slowly grow close together, and to see Ellie start to open up herself for someone who truly understand her, see her, and deserve her. The ending was perfect for these two, it really show how Ellie was ready to get back out there and perhaps start a new relationship.
There are so many good and also emotional aspects in the story. It was truly a life-changing experience for me, and there are so many lessons I learned from reading this book. To be honest, I finished this book in one whole day. Started from the afternoon and finished at night, and I’ve been crying for 10 hours straight reading this book. My eyes hurt so bad, but this book really worth all the tears I’ve shed. I’m just glad I don’t have a serious eye problem due to all the crying.
I was emotionally exhausted after reading this book. I had to go to sleep right after I finished it mainly because the crying made me feel so tired and I was sad and too emotional. This book really broke me. But I have to admit, the author has a great writing and storytelling skills. She did an excellent job writing this story while also delivering so many great messages throughout the whole book.
This story was about so many things. It was about loss, love, friendship, family, grief, second chances in life, and most importantly, it was about healing. This book taught me that there are so many forms of healing, and that letting go of the past is the only way to move on in life because holding on to the past will only hurt me more. The ending was nice and it brought a smile to my face. It was a beautiful ending to close this sad and wonderful story. To see everyone gather together, smiling, laughing, and started to heal after what they’ve been through was truly delightful.
This book was such a joy, and everybody should read this moving story. I really enjoyed it despite how much it broke my heart and then mend it back together. Glad that I spend my time reading this amazing book. I highly recommend this to those who loves reading Women’s Fiction. But please, prepare a lot of tissues or a handkerchief for you to wipe your tears.
Michelle Vernal loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband and their two boys in the beautiful and resilient city of Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone, and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She writes books that she hopes make you feel you are curled up with your best friend having a cosy chat.