Naima Rodriguez is aware she’s not like other people: between her OCD, her GAD, and her PTSD, she’s juggling the entire alphabet of things that make it hard for her to interact with other people. Especially without her dad, a fallen Marine, around to be her buffer and understand all her little quirks, like separating the marshmallows from her Lucky Charms into six—and only six—bags. Her dad understood her, but no one else does, and Naima doesn’t really care.
Dew hasn’t really death with the deaths of his parents and his anxiety—both social and not—makes it hard for him to interact with others, so he uses his trusty voice recorder to filter his observations. But when he finally meets Naima, he understands that helping someone else might end up being the very thing he needs to heal himself.
Six Goodbyes We Never Said wasn’t an easy book to read. Both Naima and Dew have things going on that make their lives harder and sharper than other people’s. They’ve both experienced unthinkable loss, and they feel broken. But sometimes only another broken person can truly understand. The characters are vibrant, although Naima’s jagged edges make her a difficult character to sympathize with at times. She knows she’s hurting other people, but she does it anyway, and that’s not easy to read.
Candace Ganger is an author, a contributing writer to HelloGiggles, and a marathoner. Six Goodbyes We Never Said is her new novel.
(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)