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He Forgot to Say Goodbye


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About the Author

Benjamin Alire Saenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.


Gr 9 Up-In dual narratives, Jake Upthegrove and Ramiro Lopez share their thoughts and the events of a few days in their hometown, gradually discovering that they share an immense hole in their lives from absent fathers. Jake is from the wealthy part of El Paso, and Ram is less privileged. Both have distinctive relationships with their mothers; Jake's cold and unloving, Ram's warm and supportive. Seniors in high school, they have an interest in their futures, girls, and the world around them. Jake is cynical and angry, while Ram is more content with his life until his brother's heroin abuse catapults him into a re-examination of his relationships and friendships. Jake's attempt to make peace with his mom by agreeing to an 18th birthday party does the same. The worlds of each narrator seem unlikely to intersect, but as the teens gain basic respect for one another and develop a friendship, these differences are revealed as insignificant. Thought-provoking, this novel is accessible without being simple, and readers are sure to admire these boys' attempts to come to terms with their lives. Self-absorbed but not annoyingly so, with raw language perfectly in tune with the characters as developed, the dueling voices reveal an essential humanity and goodness that transcend the details of socioeconomic class.-Carol Edwards, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"He Forgot to Say Goodbye is a story about what it is to become a man...I have, in fact, now spent a lot of quality time with Ramiro and Jake and can say that this one is right up there with my all-time favorite YAs." - Richie Partington, Richie's Picks
"He Forgot to Say Goodbye is a beautiful, powerfully moving story with three absolutely unforgettable teen characters. Saenz has done a remarkable job of creating two memorably idiosyncratic voices that just - well - detroyed me! Effen brilliant!" - Michael Cart, former president of YALSA and ALAN

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