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Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again. Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again. He als Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again. Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again. He also doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save his life, rescuing him from drowning only to watch Q die later in the hospital. Even more complicated, Jamal and Q haven’t been best friends in two years—not since Jamal’s parents died in a car accident, leaving him and his sister to carry on without them. Grief swallowed Jamal whole, and he blamed Q for causing the accident. But what if Jamal could have a second chance? An impossible chance that would grant him the opportunity to say goodbye to his best friend? A new health-care technology allows Q to be reanimated—brought back to life like the old Q again. But there’s a catch: Q will only reanimate for a short time before he dies . . . forever. Jamal is determined to make things right with Q, but grief is hard to shake. And he can’t tell Q why he’s suddenly trying to be friends with him again. Because Q has no idea that he died, and Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin the miracle by telling him. How can Jamal fix his friendship with Q if he can’t tell him the truth?


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Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again. Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again. He als Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again. Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again. He also doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save his life, rescuing him from drowning only to watch Q die later in the hospital. Even more complicated, Jamal and Q haven’t been best friends in two years—not since Jamal’s parents died in a car accident, leaving him and his sister to carry on without them. Grief swallowed Jamal whole, and he blamed Q for causing the accident. But what if Jamal could have a second chance? An impossible chance that would grant him the opportunity to say goodbye to his best friend? A new health-care technology allows Q to be reanimated—brought back to life like the old Q again. But there’s a catch: Q will only reanimate for a short time before he dies . . . forever. Jamal is determined to make things right with Q, but grief is hard to shake. And he can’t tell Q why he’s suddenly trying to be friends with him again. Because Q has no idea that he died, and Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin the miracle by telling him. How can Jamal fix his friendship with Q if he can’t tell him the truth?

30 review for Early Departures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin A Reynolds

    UPDATE #7:OMFG!?! (as originally posted under this author dude's other very crappy book) someone please check my blood pressure bc my heart is pounding and NOT in that "i have glorious news" way. y'all, i heard this dude wrote ANOTHER STUPENDOUSLY SHI**Y BOOK!! this can't be true!! please, please, PUH-LESE someone, anyone, tell me this isn't real!! i mean, the AUDACITY!! the ABSOLUTE NERVE!! i don't wanna believe this but if my far-away observations of this guy are any real indication of his char UPDATE #7:OMFG!?! (as originally posted under this author dude's other very crappy book) someone please check my blood pressure bc my heart is pounding and NOT in that "i have glorious news" way. y'all, i heard this dude wrote ANOTHER STUPENDOUSLY SHI**Y BOOK!! this can't be true!! please, please, PUH-LESE someone, anyone, tell me this isn't real!! i mean, the AUDACITY!! the ABSOLUTE NERVE!! i don't wanna believe this but if my far-away observations of this guy are any real indication of his character, then i guess we shouldn't be surprised. and listen, you didn't hear it from me but word on the street is: his new book early departures (what a stupid title btw! i mean, what?!) is so dreadful it has already forcibly induced spontaneous vomiting!! GUYS, i'm not even joking. you know i wouldn't say it if it weren't true and easily fact-checkable. so, all i'm saying is, if you wanna avoid throwing up all over yourself, you better give this supernaturally-terrible book wide berth. i haven't read it yet--and the only reason i'm going to is so i can verify the nausea (no, i'm not brave, just tryna be strong for you guys!)--but i have definitely read this author's guy's face at the coffee shop he frequents & let me tell you, it has one permanent expression: SMUG AF!! which, dude, you wrote a SUPER MEDIOCRE debut so i don't understand how in the world u could look so self-satisfied. talk about obliviousness! let's see him keep that same energy when his next book causes a GLOBAL STOMACHACHE EPIDEMIC--i bet he won't even acknowledge the increase in stomach viruses we're gonna see. i hear the CDC is already prepping vaccines, so... here's the silver lining tho: if THIS guy can be a published author, there's hope for all of us!! anyway i guess stayed tuned for updates. more BIG feels coming soon! ------------------------------------- UPDATE #8: UMMM, REALLY?! Okay, first off, let me apologize for being MIA--I don't think it needs to be said, but 2020, y'all, damnnnnn. like, what's next?? well, that's why i'm here. because just when we thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, i remembered that justin a. reynolds's second novel is due out september 22nd, which is really not that far off, and honestly i have lots of big feelings. you would think that his publisher might've considered pushing his release date a few months--or you know, maybe forever--considering how trash this year has already been, but it looks like they're on some "let's just get this over with already", which i definitely respect, y'know. but whatever, that's not the main reason i came to post. GUYS. GUISSSSSEEEE. i saw early-departures author guy at this socially-distanced pool party (don't worry, i never took my mask off and i kept 18 feet apart because why not be 3x as safe, you know). he didn't spot me, not that he'd acknowledge because as we've already discussed in our review of his previous book, the much-maligned OPPOSITE OF AWESOME, he has zero self-awareness and is super self-absorbed. side note: when i say self-absorbed, i mean it. he's so self-absorbed that he got into a pool fight, you know when you're splashing water at people, and he got DRENCHED, like FULLY SATURATED, and for a second I felt sorta bad for him--but then literally 2.5 seconds later all of the water was SUCKED INTO HIS BODY and he was BONE DRY. he is LITERALLY SELF-ABSORBENT, guys. like wtf?!? so obviously i ran out of the pool area as fast as i could--while still maintaining an 18 foot perimeter--and into the house and locked myself into the 1/2 bathroom because obviously this author-guy has made a deal with an incredibly evil spirit, who has clearly granted him the ability to soak up water like a human sponge (his pores must be ginormous?!) and also trick ppl into thinking he can write well--luckily this evil spirit's magic isn't foolproof because i'm totally unaffected, so ha. also, and i can't believe i almost forgot to mention this part, author-guy's eyes were really BRIGHT RED, which i don't have to tell you guys what that means! hello--he's clearly possessed af! and before the naysayers try to protest, nooo, i don't think his red eyes had anything to do with the pool water being super chlorinated, okay--everyone knows chlorine irritating your eyes is just an urban legend. i'm telling you, author-guy is 100% not to be trusted, period, on everything. so anyway, i'm sitting there on the 1/2 bathroom floor and--you know what, come to think of it, it was actually a 3/4 bath because it did have a small shower-head on the wall, which i keep forgetting about because it was so inconspicuous, but like there wasn't an actual shower stall or even a curtain, you just took a shower and let the water run all over the place and the floor was sloped so it would eventually find its way into the drain, which i know, this sounds like a absolute nightmare and trust me, you're right, it was; but like also, what's to say someone doesn't just pee on the floor into the drain and then turn the shower on like it's the flushing mechanism, which eww gross, right?! that's what i thought, too, so i taped a sign to the toilet that said "pee here" and then taped another sign on the floor, which required lots of tape because bathroom tape isn't super sticky, not that i'm complaining, honestly i'm lucky there was even tape and markers and paper in the bathroom, you know, but like, kismet. anyway, i taped the second sign near the drain and it said "don't pee here", and it's like, umm why am i the only person who saw the need to clarify this? how many ppl were confused at the set-up prior to my signage?? i'm no hero, guys. like i said, i just love people and i care about the environment like a lot--and normally, i'd never make such a long digression but you guys are my ppl and i know you get me :D but yeah, i'm sitting there and i'm trembling i'm so worried because author-guy is clearly planning to take over the world or at least our municipality--and i wanted to check in on all the rest of the partygoers and make sure he hadn't eaten their souls or whatever, you know, because i care about people, but i didn't have any service all of a sudden, and i know what you're thinking--author guy somehow manipulated the cellphone towers within a 9 mile radius, and you'd be right. you're a lot smarter than i am because that wasn't even my first thought. i thought my carrier just sucked and that it had something to do with being out in the middle of nowhere because that happens all the time, but later when i really thought about it i was like nope, that was evil author-guy using his ill-gotten powers to generate an electro-magnetic charge that interrupted all of our phones, but mainly just mine. but you knew that before i even said it, didn't you. guys, i so wish you'd been there with me, i would've felt a lot safer tbh. later on, when i was leaving the party i was making sure i said goodbye to our gracious host and she's such a practical jokester because she was all "umm who are you??" and i was like "hahaha, you're so funny, thanks again, the crab dip was outstanding" and she was like "i'm gonna call the police" and i said "okay but all cell phone service is down because the signals have been blocked" and she was like "please leave now, i'm counting to ten and you better be gone" and i was like "damn, you really see a joke through" but when she had these four other partygoers help me to my car--omg they even took back the big bowl of crab dip i was taking home as a party favor slash joke of my own, haha, can you believe those guys, talk about comedic timing, right??--i started laughing hysterically because that's what separates an okay joke from a hilarious joke. and clearly our host was a joke-delivering pro because rule number 1) you gotta be willing to see the joke all the way through and never, ever break character. so shout out to her. can't wait for the next summer jam! so i'm backing my car out of the driveway and then i hear a sharp horn blare and i turn around and guess who it is--author-guy!! and i roll down my window and i'm like "hey man you almost killed me" and he said "i'm sorry but will you please put your mask on when you're yelling near my face--which can you believe that, the audacity, when he's destroyed my cell phone service AND demonstrated his evil powers to a pool party with like 50 ppl, but whatever--and then he says "you nearly backed into me, i'm already on the road driving, you weren't even looking" and then i was like "okay, whatever, tomato-tomahtoe". and since i'm the bigger person i let him go ahead of me; also because technically he was already on the road and i needed him to move so i can also be on the road. and then on the long drive home it started to all make sense. what if he's not evil? like at all? what if he's just been so devastated by how terrible his new book is, that he's been crying and crying, until he's literally exhausted every drop of moisture in his body so that now anytime he's even near water his body just sucks it all in? like why didn't that occur to me before? like duh, right? and the crying would also explain the red eyes. he feels awful knowing how many lives he's negatively impacting with his atrocious storytelling, and like, maybe he's not the evil spirit in the making that we think he is...maybe we've got it all wrong about him and like he's actually deserving of our sympathy. no, our EMPATHY... but then somehow he got behind me on this one-lane "highway" and beeped his horn at me just because i was going 18mph in a 55 zone. like, ummm, helloooo, safety first, ever heard of it!? plus, 55 is just the maximum limit, i can do whatever speed i want under, y'know? so yeah, in the end, i'm glad that highway encounter happened because otherwise he might've fooled me into thinking he wasn't so bad after all, but NOPE--he's 100% the evil jerk we all thought he was. we were right, guys. why did we ever doubt ourselves? author-guy definitely still sucks and even though it doesn't seem possible, his books suck harder--and this should go without saying but no, they don't suck in a self-absorbent, water-wicking way, either. so i'm so happy i got to bring you this important update about author-guy. i hope you guys know that as always i'm willing to risk everything to bring you the unfiltered truth because justice, you know--so until next time, stay safe, guys!! i missed you!! ------------------------------------------ UPDATE #9: APOLOGIES Okay, guys, so it was brought to my attention by my grandma that my last update was a little..."dark". So, I wanted to apologize. I haven't felt quite like myself lately; I think the quarantine is finally getting to me. So, yeah. My bad. Plus, author-guy is pretty much the worst human ever, who likes to hog outlets at coffee shops but whatever, "no one can steal our joy without our permission", grandma says, so not gonna dwell on that today. Let's just focus on the fact that I created awesome, embarrassment-saving signage for that person's 3/4 bathroom and forget the rest of update #8, okay? Let's accentuate the positive here. Even despite author-guy's terrible, vomit-inducing books, there are still lots of good books being made, and that's no small miracle. Okay, I'm gonna go binge some Hulu. Any suggestions on what I should watch?? Okay, Happy Sunday Funday and all that good stuff. (See, look, I'm happy! And here's a smiley face to prove it :D) Byeeee! -------------------------------- UPDATE #10: MEDIOCRITY REWARDED?! WHAT THE FUDGE?! please, please, please tell me this author-guy is NOT the same justin a. reynolds who was just announced as writing a miles morales/spider-man graphic novel?! umm, marvel, you guys have been on a roll, and if you keep going as you have, you're sure to be a household name sooner than later--but c'mon, AUTHOR-GUY SUCKS!!! and that's not my opinion, or some half-baked theory, that has been scientifically proven. saying justin a. reynolds is a terrible writer is like saying the sun is warm. saying justin a. reynolds is an awful novelist is like saying water is wet. okay, maybe that last analogy is a little murky, but still. point is, author-guy, AKA justin a. reynolds, couldn't write himself out of a cardboard picture book. facts. alright, that's it. i'm late for afternoon shuffleboard. toodles.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "I'll always be with you, I'm everywhere you are." I am officially a puddle of mush. If there is one lesson I took away from this book, it's that we should make every moment count, because we never know how long we have with the people that we love. Sure, that's easier said than done, and "living life to the fullest" sounds like one of those sayings people have plastered on a piece of reclaimed wood hanging in their kitchen, but there is so much truth in these words. While reading this book, I wa "I'll always be with you, I'm everywhere you are." I am officially a puddle of mush. If there is one lesson I took away from this book, it's that we should make every moment count, because we never know how long we have with the people that we love. Sure, that's easier said than done, and "living life to the fullest" sounds like one of those sayings people have plastered on a piece of reclaimed wood hanging in their kitchen, but there is so much truth in these words. While reading this book, I was reminded that yes, we all screw up from time to time, and we don't always make a point to focus on the important things in the day to day grind, but perhaps if we made more of an effort to prioritize people and relationships, there wouldn't be quite as many regrets on both ends when people pass. Gripping, with swells of emotion and unexpected suspense, Early Departures took me by surprise, and I highly recommend anyone with a heart, whether you're a teenager or a grandparent, to give this quietly powerful novel a read. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Thank you Katherine Tegen Books for the gifted review copy! When I say Justin A. Reynolds is one of my favorite authors, I mean he's one of my favorite authors. No questions asked. I read Opposite of Always last year and it was one of my favorite books! This was definitely no exception. I've come to expect two things from Justin A. Reynolds. A lot of laughing and a lot of crying. I mean I finished the book I ended my day happy and sad all at the same time. The book is contemporary but has a bit of Thank you Katherine Tegen Books for the gifted review copy! When I say Justin A. Reynolds is one of my favorite authors, I mean he's one of my favorite authors. No questions asked. I read Opposite of Always last year and it was one of my favorite books! This was definitely no exception. I've come to expect two things from Justin A. Reynolds. A lot of laughing and a lot of crying. I mean I finished the book I ended my day happy and sad all at the same time. The book is contemporary but has a bit of a sci-fi feel to it as well. I'll admit one thing. I loved Opposite of Always so much that I added this book as soon as I saw it without even really reading the synopsis. Like I had a faint idea but nothing really concrete. And there I am, reading the book and then I get hit with this little sci-fi moment and I'm a little surprised and all intrigued. Anyways, this was a very wholesome story. We've all had those friendships that we wish had gone different and what do you do when you get a second chance? Jamal had to address a lot of things in this one. It wasn't easy to have gone through what he has and it consumed him in a way. I was really rooting for him and Q to reconcile. There were so many scenes that I absolutely loved. Jamal is such a sweet person and him and Q being friends just made my heart squeeze. The story was incredibly sad and I teared up way too many times for it to be normal, but it was also a very beautiful story. I finished the book feeling sad but also content. I'll be honest I still don't have enough words to describe this book and my brain hasn't processed everything yet. There's so much about finding family and realizing the people who always have your back. There was so much growth and love and that's honestly all I wanted. I will add one last thing, if you want a story that captivates and makes you feel everything then this is it.  Please do yourselves a favor and add this on Goodreads and pre-order a copy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Masters

    If it's anything like Opposite of Always, I'm here for it. If it's anything like Opposite of Always, I'm here for it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    This was a really good one and so happy that it was a tbr jar picked! Thanks tbr jars!(: RTC SOON!(:

  6. 5 out of 5

    -ˏˋJamieˊˎ-

    “How are we supposed to leave the past behind, if it doesn’t leave us too?” Thank you to Epic Reads and the publisher for this ARC! All opinions are my own. I... honestly don't know if I've ever cried so hard while reading a book. When I tell you I was bawling for the final 40 pages, I mean literally, tears were streaming down my face so hard, I had trouble reading. But, to be clear—it was in the best way possible. Early Departures was emotional, raw, thought-provoking, and so worth rea “How are we supposed to leave the past behind, if it doesn’t leave us too?” Thank you to Epic Reads and the publisher for this ARC! All opinions are my own. I... honestly don't know if I've ever cried so hard while reading a book. When I tell you I was bawling for the final 40 pages, I mean literally, tears were streaming down my face so hard, I had trouble reading. But, to be clear—it was in the best way possible. Early Departures was emotional, raw, thought-provoking, and so worth reading. “Sometimes it’s the things that don’t happen that haunt us hardest.” ❧ Characters - Definitely the strongest part of the book. Jamal was a very believable main character with a solid voice, and my heart really ached for Q; their dynamic was so real, and I loved how their friendship persisted through their ups and downs. Autumn, Whit, and Ms. B were wonderfully-written characters as well. ❧ Writing - So unique. Justin A. Reynolds's writing shone from the very first page and kept me gripped until the end. Every sentence was masterfully created, and there were also so many gems of life wisdom sprinkled in, making the narration sound that much more authentic—I'm really impressed. ❧ Story - Ouuuch. This story really got to me. It feels weird to say I enjoyed it when it actually reached into my body and twisted my heart, but that just shows how good it was. Jamal's journey and inner conflicts were so honest and true, and the sprinkle of magical realism was the perfect way to explore a thought that everyone has had (or will have) at some point in our lives—what if I had another chance to say goodbye? The messages throughout the book explored this beautifully ❧ Story pt.2 - Okay, so my rating might technically be a 4.5 or 4.75 stars, because I was really unsure about the whole reanimation thing for the first part of the book. The story got pretty technical/clinical with some of the details, which I felt took away from the whimsicality of the magical realism aspect a little, but I did get into it eventually. And everything came together by that ending, which just truly obliterated me to the point that I really can't even go back and complain. :) Overall: Early Departures really made me think about best friendship and the time I'm spending on this Earth and many other philosophical things. Like I said though—in the best way. Jamal and Q's story will definitely stay with me for a long time. Highly recommend, but have tissues prepared!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gerardine Betancourt

    Think about how you live if you knew you only have a few days left In this book, Jamal Anderson has been angry with his best friend Quinn for 2 years after a call from his friend led to the death of Jamal's parents. When an accident occurs in which Quinn passes away, the world of Jamal and Quinn's mother falls apart. In the hospital they discover that there is a place called the Center in which they revive or reanimate a person for a number of days so that their loved ones can say their goodbyes. J Think about how you live if you knew you only have a few days left In this book, Jamal Anderson has been angry with his best friend Quinn for 2 years after a call from his friend led to the death of Jamal's parents. When an accident occurs in which Quinn passes away, the world of Jamal and Quinn's mother falls apart. In the hospital they discover that there is a place called the Center in which they revive or reanimate a person for a number of days so that their loved ones can say their goodbyes. Jamal sees this as an opportunity to fix things with his friend and also be able to say goodbye to Quinn. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. It is a reminder of the little control we have in life situations and that despite everything we must live a life the best we can without any regret. As Quinn says: "We only get a finite amount of time, don waste it with regrets, don't waste a second". 4 stars for me Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    YES. YES. YES! Opposite of Always was one of my favorite reads of 2019, can't WAIT to read this one. (My review of Opposite of Always here.) YES. YES. YES! Opposite of Always was one of my favorite reads of 2019, can't WAIT to read this one. (My review of Opposite of Always here.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    My first book from Justin Reynolds and I am a fan! I was pleasantly surprised on how amazing this book was. I read this book without first reading what it’s about and I stayed away from early reviews. This book tackled the subject matter of loss and grief with a speculative twist and scientific element to answer theoretical questions about life and death, bending the stages of grief, and a creative plot that addresses families, friendships and love. The writing was beautiful and deep, characters My first book from Justin Reynolds and I am a fan! I was pleasantly surprised on how amazing this book was. I read this book without first reading what it’s about and I stayed away from early reviews. This book tackled the subject matter of loss and grief with a speculative twist and scientific element to answer theoretical questions about life and death, bending the stages of grief, and a creative plot that addresses families, friendships and love. The writing was beautiful and deep, characters complex - a fantastic contemporary YA read I highly recommend!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bang Bang Books

    Great concept but the execution... Issues I Had With This Book * The Pacing was a Bit Off- After Q is reanimated, the pacing goes a bit too fast. Q and Jamal had a big falling out where Jamal just ghosted Q and they have one little bitty conversation about it and that's all. I know sometimes in real life when you have a falling out with a long lost friend, sometimes it only takes an apology to fix everything but I don't want to read that in a book. I want to see them get angry and cry and absolve. Great concept but the execution... Issues I Had With This Book * The Pacing was a Bit Off- After Q is reanimated, the pacing goes a bit too fast. Q and Jamal had a big falling out where Jamal just ghosted Q and they have one little bitty conversation about it and that's all. I know sometimes in real life when you have a falling out with a long lost friend, sometimes it only takes an apology to fix everything but I don't want to read that in a book. I want to see them get angry and cry and absolve. Admitting you were wrong and apologizing is hard even when it's a best friend and I would have liked to see more of that. It didn't need to be immediate; it could have been a gradual make up. * Q Who? Q dies pretty quickly in the story so now it's imperative that the author develops him post mortem. This can be difficult to do but it's important if I'm to connect with him and feel his loss. Reynolds didn't do this effectively and when he dies again, I didn't cry like I should have. A fantastic book that does this well was Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. Q and Jamal have a popular Youtube channel and this would have been the perfect opportunity for the reader to get to know Q but it's underdeveloped. This is a shame because I haven't read a YA that has managed to do Youtube well. * Mother Son Relationship- I know this book isn't about Q's mom but I feel like if she just lost her child, there should be more attention on them. When Q is only given a couple of weeks to live after reanimation, he goes back to school. Um...why would you go back to school? I would take my son on vacation. Once again, I know this story is told from Jamal's POV but still; it doesn't make sense to send him to school. * Execution-At one point at the end, the POV changes to Q for a couple of chapters. I don't like when authors do this; it makes it feel like they didn't plan their book well. If you need to find a way to get the perspective of a different character, put your book in 3rd person. It was odd and out of place. * Where's the Nuance? Jamal is struggling with his parent's death and the way he deals with it and grows is typical and I think teens will relate but I've read this grief storyline before which means this book lacks nuance which means it's not at critical as it could have been. When I read books that have a familiar plot, like grief, I want to see how the MC deals with it in his own unique way because although the plot is familiar, this MC isn't. However, Reynolds didn't add a new perspective to grief so I had to lower my rating. I factor a critical narrative into my enjoyment of books regardless if it's YA or adult. I have read some very deep thinkers in YA so I know it's possible-More Happy Than Not is a great example of a similar plot. Nit Picks-I had A LOT * Q was supposed to be a gifted comedian but he wasn't funny. I love stand up and comedy in general and when Q does his stand up, he tells airplane jokes that Seinfeld did in the 80's. If you don't know how to write humor, don't make your MC a stand up comedian. * Slang-There were a couple of outdated slang terms. At one point, someone says, with the quickness. I said this when I was 13 and I'm in my 40's. It's like Reynolds was using slang he used when he was a teen and not how teens actually talk. Just a nit pick. * The Girlfriend-She was trying too hard to be quirky world changer but I didn't really like her. * There was a famous TFIOS quote that could have been a homage but I was laughing out loud...HARD. * I didn't like the audiobook voice of Jamal. I know this sounds REALLY AWFUL to say but the voice of Jamal did not sound like a Black man. I had to look it up because it was bothering me a lot. He was Black but he didn't sound like it and yes, I know that sounds insensitive but Black people tend to have a tone in their voice and you can tell if you are speaking to a Black man or woman over the phone and I'm not talking about dialect. I am talking about tone and when Jamal started talking I was perplexed and it was a bit distracting-not gonna lie. What I Liked: * I liked the idea. I enjoy contemporary mixed with science fiction in my YA- I find that it adds a new and exciting dynamic. * There were some really good quotes in this book. My favorite was when Jamal was thinking about his girlfriend and he thinks, "She has so many dreams, I don't want to punch holes in them." Sure it's just a different way of saying he doesn't want to hold her back but I appreciate the effort. * When it was Q's last day, I liked that these two brown boys told each other that they loved one another. You don't see that too often on the page or in real life and I really liked that moment. Overall I like Reynolds writing style and I would read something else by him; the first 20% was really good. If you are a librarian, I do think this would be a good book to give to teens and for a book club.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Swallow

    Another amazing book by Justin A. Reynolds that I read in a day! His writing is so funny and so interesting that I can’t stop reading it. I feel like I can really connect with the characters and his writing is a just a little bit outside of reality that it keeps me guessing. Can’t wait to see what he puts out next!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Ah, it's another book in which I don't know how to do it justice because it was that fabulous, but again, I'll do my best! Early Departures is such a beautiful story of family, friendship, love, and loss. It was seriously one of the most moving books I have ever read, frankly. Jamal has been through it. He's currently living with his pregnant sister after his parents died in a tragic car You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Ah, it's another book in which I don't know how to do it justice because it was that fabulous, but again, I'll do my best! Early Departures is such a beautiful story of family, friendship, love, and loss. It was seriously one of the most moving books I have ever read, frankly. Jamal has been through it. He's currently living with his pregnant sister after his parents died in a tragic car accident. He's alienated from his best friend, Q, because Jamal blames Q for his parents' accident, and in turn, Q feels abandoned by Jamal. It's so, so messy, because both young men have been through hell and back, and they need each other more than ever. And then, at a random summer party, Q drowns. Jamal tries his hardest to save him, but by the time they get him to the hospital, it's too late. Only, Q's mom is given an option: Bring Q back, but only for a few days, or weeks at most. And as most moms would, she accepts. But here's the catch: Q won't remember the moments before his death. So, Jamal, his sister Whit, his girlfriend Autumn, and Quincy and his mom set out to make Quincy's remaining time the best it can be. At first, it's only Quincy's mom and Jamal who know the truth, and the others are just so glad to have these best friends reunited that they're game. And as lies do, this one overwhelms Jamal at times. But ultimately, Jamal realizes that while he has lost a lot, he also has a lot, too. He is finally ready to share memories and traditions he'd had with his parents, and he finds a new family in this group of people who love him so, so fiercely. And while he is all too aware that he'll lose Quincy again soon, he now has so many beautiful memories to take with him. It's a journey for Jamal, a healing journey, that teaches him that he is still very much alive, and while he will always hold those who have passed close to him, he also has a lot of living people who will be there for him unconditionally. Bottom Line:  This is such a wonderfully emotive and moving book; and while I cried (hard), I smiled in equal measure. A true gem.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anika | Chapters of May

    After only two books, Justin A. Reynolds has become one of my favourite young adult authors. His novels are exceptionally compelling, emotionally memorable, and always worth the adventure. Like Opposite of Always, Forever Ends on a Friday is contemporary but has sci-fi elements that add excitement to a wholesome foundation. In the book, Jamal’s best friend Quincy dies in a freak accident. Their friendship was in ruins after Jamal blamed Quincy for his parents' death, and now Jamal is heartbroken After only two books, Justin A. Reynolds has become one of my favourite young adult authors. His novels are exceptionally compelling, emotionally memorable, and always worth the adventure. Like Opposite of Always, Forever Ends on a Friday is contemporary but has sci-fi elements that add excitement to a wholesome foundation. In the book, Jamal’s best friend Quincy dies in a freak accident. Their friendship was in ruins after Jamal blamed Quincy for his parents' death, and now Jamal is heartbroken over the loss of his best friend. But when an extraordinary opportunity means Quincy gets a second chance at life, Jamal is determined to repair their friendship and finally say goodbye. I love the care and tenderness in which Reynolds examines grief, depression and redemption, especially in teenagers. Jamal and Quincy’s friendship is a true bond, which becomes evident in their difficult pasts and depth of their heartfelt conversations. After reading Opposite of Always this doesn’t surprise me, but I adore the levity Reynolds uses to create a hard-hitting and an entertaining read. The balance is perfect recipe for a profound contemporary story. There’s a strikingly relatable pain in this novel that I think almost every reader can relate to. The believability of the emotion despite the fictitious narrative is both beautiful and heart-breaking. It’s a story that certainly leaves the reader with a lot to think about, but the importance of living every moment to its fullest is abundantly clear. One of my favourite elements of the book is its structure. The chapters are numbered, and descend from 100, with some of them only being a page long. This, along with the connections between the characters, their tangible trauma, and the discovery of healing while losing, makes Forever Ends on a Friday a stunningly poignant read. For more book reviews and posts, check out my blog or follow along on Instagram 📚✨

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Meyer

    This book is the perfect combo of punch-you-in-the-heart feels, pacy plot, and sharp, vivid characters, with a light sci-fi element that ties everything together. I couldn’t read it fast enough.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tamika

    Super lovely. Its an amazing examination of grief, depression and forgiveness. With such a heavy topic Mr Reynolds treated these topics with care and tenderness. I was able to both cry and laugh and in the end my heart was filled with love.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a second chance, to say goodbye when you couldn't before? Wow. The premise of this book had me worried. Let me tell you that this was simultaneously the best and worst time for me to read this book. But it was so good! I love every moment. Even though Jamal could be annoying, I understood a lot of what he was going through. And the other charac Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a second chance, to say goodbye when you couldn't before? Wow. The premise of this book had me worried. Let me tell you that this was simultaneously the best and worst time for me to read this book. But it was so good! I love every moment. Even though Jamal could be annoying, I understood a lot of what he was going through. And the other characters were absolutely fantastic! Things that I loved about this book: - THE FOCUS IS FRIENDSHIP AND FAMILY!!! The romantic relationships are never the forefront of the story. They are there, but not the focus of the plot or for the characters. It is so refreshing to see friendship as the main focus of a story. It is all about the friendship between Q and Jamal, and the relationships they have with their friends and family. And how they all create a found family together. I loved their relationships and how they developed through the story. It was fantastic to see! - Can I say friendship and family again!? - I really liked so many of the characters! It was a little hard to like Jamal at first, as he was so caught up in his own grief through the beginning of the novel, tending to be pretty annoying and selfish. The best characters are definitely Autumn, Q, and Whit though. I loved their personalities and their relationships with each other!! - The premise. It's so unique! The idea of having a second chance, to say goodbye to someone you lost. To have that ideal moment before a person you love leaves you. I would give anything to have had that moment with people I have lost... The things that I struggled with: - As I mentioned above, Jamal made it a little difficult sometimes to like his character. And since he was the main character, that made it all the more difficult to read certain parts of the book since it is all in his perspective... - The pacing was a bit off sometimes. At parts it felt more led by dialogue while others were more tell than show. It made the pacing a bit off for me, but it was still a quick and engaging read! Would definitely recommend if you are okay with the content warnings! TW: drowning, death, depression, grief

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Thank you to BookSparks, the author and the publisher for sending me a finished copy in exchange for an honest review/promotion Jamal and Quincy were best friends until grief over Jamal's parents' death buried their relationship. But when Quincy dies in a freak accident, Jamal can't get over that he didn't get to apologize. Except there's a company offering to give Q a second chance at life. He could have anywhere from 24 hours to 2 months to live again. And Jamal is determined to repair their fr Thank you to BookSparks, the author and the publisher for sending me a finished copy in exchange for an honest review/promotion Jamal and Quincy were best friends until grief over Jamal's parents' death buried their relationship. But when Quincy dies in a freak accident, Jamal can't get over that he didn't get to apologize. Except there's a company offering to give Q a second chance at life. He could have anywhere from 24 hours to 2 months to live again. And Jamal is determined to repair their friendship and give Q the best end of his life possible. Several things stand in the way though including: Q's mom refusing to tell him he's dying, the grief both Jamal and Q have experienced losing parents, and the way Jamal's grief took over his life. This was quite a heavy book for a contemporary, but damn it was good. I had so many vibes similar to The Vanishing Deep, but less sci-fi/dystopian. It does take a bit for the past relationship between Jamal and Quincy to unfold, but I loved seeing how their friendship developed and what went wrong. Themes of grief and redemption run rampant through this book, making it an instant hard hitter. There were so many good conversations about relationships, trust/honesty, and grief throughout this story. A lot of them directed at Jamal with how self-centered he had been. And that was not an easy pill for him to swallow. But seeing him sit with how he mistreated his friends and girlfriend while his grief consumed him was such a poignant story arc. He and Autumn were amazing and I loved how they actually talked through a lot of their issues. There were times I wished the conversation had been longer or more in depth, but I will take it. It is so rare that we have an MC who messes up, is confronted about it and then actually starts to take steps to fix their past mis-action. This book also has such a great found family vibe. I loved seeing Jamal, Whitney (his sister), Quincy's mom, Autumn and Quincy come together. The epilogue honestly made me tear up. This was a bittersweet ending, but it was perfect.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Me: Jamal shut out his lifelong best friend, Q, after losing his parents in a car accident, but when he saw his former friend in danger, he didn't hesitate to help. Unfortunately, he was too late. However, Q was chosen for a new program, which would bring him back to life, temporarily. Given this second chance, Jamal was determined to mend their friendship, but he was also racing the clock as he tried to repair the two years of damage. If you could, would you opt to come back to life? To take tha Me: Jamal shut out his lifelong best friend, Q, after losing his parents in a car accident, but when he saw his former friend in danger, he didn't hesitate to help. Unfortunately, he was too late. However, Q was chosen for a new program, which would bring him back to life, temporarily. Given this second chance, Jamal was determined to mend their friendship, but he was also racing the clock as he tried to repair the two years of damage. If you could, would you opt to come back to life? To take that opportunity to say goodbye? I am not sure how I would answer that question, but in theory, I think there is something really beautiful about it, and that beauty permeated this story. As with Opposite of Always, I alternated between laughter and tears as I read this book. I was filled with pain and sadness, but also a lot warmth, hope, and happiness. It had been two years since his parents' deaths, yet Jamal was still grieving their loss, even if he didn't acknowledge it. It kept him from planning for his future and from fully committing to any relationships. He had this deep fear of losing more people who mattered to him, so he decided not to get too attached. This broke my heart at first, but at least he eventually was pushed forward in this story. I found it really special that the catalyst for this change was his best friend. That he was able to work through his pain and loss by fixing his broken friendship with Q. I am actually ugly crying as I write this, but I swear, there is a lot of humor in this book. I smiled a lot as I spent time with Jamal, Q, and the rest of their "family". The flashbacks were especially heartwarming. I shared memories of younger Jamal and Q as they worked on their comedy show, as well as some precious recollections of his parents. I must say, Jamal was one lucky man. He was surrounded by people who cared deeply for him. Besides Q, he had a phenomenal group of women, who pushed him, challenged him, and supported him. The relationship between him and his sister was simply extraordinary, and I could not have picked a better girlfriend for Jamal. Q's mother also played a huge role in his healing journey, and it eased my pain knowing they had each other. This book was really emotional but so beautiful. It's about loving out loud and treasuring every moment. It's easy to think you always have more time. More time to tell or show the people who are important to you that they are, in fact, important to you. This book was a really heartfelt reminder to not put those moments off. It was about love, "family", second chances, and seizing the day. Maybe I am a bit sappy, but I was I was extremely touched by this story. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  19. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for this ARC I loved the way Early Departures is structured. I love the idea of bringing someone back, of having that last goodbye, of living that last few hours like they're the most important hours on earth. What I loved most about this book is how each and every character connected with each other. There was so much love here, so much care and I had goosebumps at the most random moments. While reading I kept thinking: This is an important book. And I ke Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for this ARC I loved the way Early Departures is structured. I love the idea of bringing someone back, of having that last goodbye, of living that last few hours like they're the most important hours on earth. What I loved most about this book is how each and every character connected with each other. There was so much love here, so much care and I had goosebumps at the most random moments. While reading I kept thinking: This is an important book. And I kept thinking how I was reading something absolutely amazing. The fact that I was always scared of what would happen next, that I was constantly on my toes, waiting for the other shoe to drop has to be 100% attributed to Reynolds' absolutely fantastic writing. Absolutely amazing!

  20. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Early Departures is an emotional story about forgiveness, family, and second chances. Of taking each moment as they come, never knowing if we will ever get another. It begins with a friendship falling apart and breaking down. When words don't make sense anymore and bonds that were thought to be permanent are broken. Jamal is still reeling from the loss of his parents. He's angry, hurt (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Early Departures is an emotional story about forgiveness, family, and second chances. Of taking each moment as they come, never knowing if we will ever get another. It begins with a friendship falling apart and breaking down. When words don't make sense anymore and bonds that were thought to be permanent are broken. Jamal is still reeling from the loss of his parents. He's angry, hurt, and in pain, lashing out at the world around him and unable to open his heart again for fear of being hurt. For me, Jamal reflected all these moments, the mistakes we make, and the words we unleash when in pain. It was painful to see that, in some ways, this is how we lose people - when we let our fears take over - but it also felt deeply relatable. In the aftermath of a deep trauma, the ways we view our tomorrows, our existence, our relationships, and our permanence change be altered forever. But, at the end of the day, we have to figure out if we want to be defined by what we've lost. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda B

    Early Departures is a 2020 release that I didn’t hear about until later in the year. If I’d heard about it earlier, it definitely would have been one of my most anticipated releases. I loved Reynolds’ debut, Opposite of Always. So, I hoped that Early Departures would delight and destroy me as much as that book did. I was not wrong. Reynolds manages to make me fall in love with the characters, to become so invested in them, and then kill them. But this is a contemporary novel with a science ficti Early Departures is a 2020 release that I didn’t hear about until later in the year. If I’d heard about it earlier, it definitely would have been one of my most anticipated releases. I loved Reynolds’ debut, Opposite of Always. So, I hoped that Early Departures would delight and destroy me as much as that book did. I was not wrong. Reynolds manages to make me fall in love with the characters, to become so invested in them, and then kill them. But this is a contemporary novel with a science fiction twist, so he brings them back to life. In this book, the story follows Jamal. Jamal has dealt with some hardships in his life. His parents died and he lives with his older sister (who is very pregnant). He has a girlfriend, Autumn, who is one of my favorite characters in the book (alongside Jamal’s sister.) We meet Q very early on in the book. But we slowly learn exactly what happened that ended Jamal and Q’s friendship. We also get tidbits from Jamal and Q’s old YouTube videos. I liked this because it gave us a bit of insight into how their friendship was before their falling out. Jamal is kind of a little shit. But in a sort of understandable way. I think I liked Autumn so much because she never failed to call Jamal out when he was being a shit. Jamal is still dealing with the death of both his parents and he doesn’t really deal with it very well. He blames Q for their death, but never communicates that. He’s a young man that doesn’t know how to share his feeling. He’s also definitely a bit selfish. But he had great character growth. He realized that his actions were wrong and forgiveness helps everyone. I didn’t always like him, but I was always invested in his story. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastically narrated. The narrators (I think there were two) really brought this story to life and I highly recommend the audio for anyone that wants to read this book. This was a heartbreaking story about love, friendship, and loss. It’s about forgiveness and grief and it’s beautifully written. I will say that I definitely cried quite a few times while listening to this story, so prepare yourself for this one. It was one of my favorite reads of 2020.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Minglu Jiang

    Okay so apparently there's a cover before a synopsis? Okay so apparently there's a cover before a synopsis?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mori

    Okay... still processing but I did cry, twice. And this was beautiful

  24. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    If you are looking for a good cry, then this book is it!. I could use a hug now right about now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara McClure

    This is the book I needed in 2020. ❤️❤️❤️

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ekene

    Definitely had a good time reading this

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tima Kadri

    *4.5 This book had me tearing up the entire last 50 pages. The only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because of a few things that irked me but otherwise this was a brilliant book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Ambos

    beautiful and heartfelt story about loss and friendship.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sam - Spines in a Line

    That was probably the saddest book I’ve ever read and I’m just gonna cry myself to sleep now Thanks to HCC Frenzy for an ARC to review! Find the full review at https://spinesinaline.wordpress.com There’s a lot of death in this one and while Jamal’s best friend, Q, is brought back to life (albeit briefly), the book is largely about grief and working through it. So it’s gonna be heavy and you’re probably gonna cry. The clearest message here is about love, the power and strength of love but also the i That was probably the saddest book I’ve ever read and I’m just gonna cry myself to sleep now Thanks to HCC Frenzy for an ARC to review! Find the full review at https://spinesinaline.wordpress.com There’s a lot of death in this one and while Jamal’s best friend, Q, is brought back to life (albeit briefly), the book is largely about grief and working through it. So it’s gonna be heavy and you’re probably gonna cry. The clearest message here is about love, the power and strength of love but also the importance of sharing with others how you feel. By the end of this book you’ll feel the need to run to your best friend and tell them you love them. While there’s no escaping the sadness and heavy hits of this book, Reynolds provides some levity with humour throughout, as both Jamal and Q are aspiring comedians and we get flashbacks of their early internet videos. The author also doesn’t leave us directionless in this grief. There’s a lot of emphasis on working through it and the importance of therapy, as well as a great cast of characters that are so supportive of each other. I don’t know if there’s been another book where I’ve liked the entire cast but this group know when others need support, when they need constructive criticism, and are always available to have the difficult conversations. At times it felt like a lot of “learning moments” but it’s so easy to love this family with how open they are in wanting the best for everyone. One of my fave reads of the year by far. Just have a happy book ready for you when you finish.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    An honest, heartbreaking and yet humorous look at death and saying goodbye, Justin A. Reynolds brings his trademark style and humour to this incredible story you’ll have to read to believe. What would you do if you could bring someone back from the dead? Even if it was only for a short time? That’s exactly the question Jamal must face when his ex-best friend dies in his arms. When Quincy’s mother and Jamal are taken to a secret facility they are offered a mind-blowing option - reanimate Quincy. B An honest, heartbreaking and yet humorous look at death and saying goodbye, Justin A. Reynolds brings his trademark style and humour to this incredible story you’ll have to read to believe. What would you do if you could bring someone back from the dead? Even if it was only for a short time? That’s exactly the question Jamal must face when his ex-best friend dies in his arms. When Quincy’s mother and Jamal are taken to a secret facility they are offered a mind-blowing option - reanimate Quincy. But it will only be for a few days. For Jamal, it’s a chance to make things right with his once best friend, to heal the hurt between them, a chance to finally speak his mind and a chance to say goodbye, a chance he never got with his parents. But Quincy’s mother doesn’t want to tell Quincy he only has a few days left on earth and Jamal isn’t sure that’s the right way to handle things. This book just felt so incredibly authentic. The grief, the hurt Jamal is carrying, and most especially the wonderful, broken but still clicked-in friendship bond the two boys share. Flashbacks in the form of videos the two boys made show the depth of connection they share. This book is honestly hilarious. Jamal and Quincy both have a wonderful sense of humour and are constantly making witty quips and jokes. Quincy dreams of making it big as a comedian. But it’s not just Jamal and Quincy that bring the laughs in the book. Despite the topics of grief and loss, the death of Jamal’s parents and the impending death of Quincy, there are some wonderful light-hearted moments in this book and that’s what brings home the message about living well and enjoying every minute. As much as I adored Jamal and Quincy, there are some fantastic side characters, especially Jamal’s sister and Quincy’s mother, both who play important roles in the story. Looking for a meaningful yet lighthearted novel that will have you smiling, crying and rejoicing all at once, then look no farther than Early Departures. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

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