Early Departures
Early Departures

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Annotation: When the estranged best friend he blames for a fatal accident drowns, Jamal is given an unexpected chance to reconnect with his best friend and find closure through a temporary reanimation technology that allows his friend to come back to life for a short duration.
Catalog Number: #213500
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 471 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-274840-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-52563-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-274840-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-52563-4
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Estranged friends are given a chance to patch up their differences before one of them dies—again.Seventeen-year-old Jamal Anderson has not had a meaningful conversation with his former best friend, Quincy Barrantes, in almost two years. They were almost inseparable: always at each other’s homes, even developing a comedy show on social media together. But two years ago, Jamal lost his parents, and he blames Quincy for the accident. His grief over their deaths permeates every relationship as well as his ability to focus in school. Despite his sister’s efforts and the love of his girlfriend, Autumn, he is drifting until the night Quincy dies trying to save someone’s life. When a mysterious man offers Quincy’s mother a chance to bring him back through experimental technology, it seems far-fetched. But Mrs. Barrantes and Jamal now have the opportunity for a few more weeks with Quincy. Like everything else in Jamal’s life, this circumstance offers more questions than answers and forces him to confront why he allowed the breach in their relationship to continue. This is a page-turning narrative with a cast of fully realized characters and realistic dialogue. The skillful use of flashbacks and social media content fully engages readers. Despite the seriousness of the story, humor and moments of pathos will elicit empathy and connection. Jamal and Autumn are cued as Black and Quincy as Latinx.This thoroughly satisfying novel of love, loss, and reconciliation is not to be missed. (Fiction. 14-18)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Estranged friends are given a chance to patch up their differences before one of them dies—again.Seventeen-year-old Jamal Anderson has not had a meaningful conversation with his former best friend, Quincy Barrantes, in almost two years. They were almost inseparable: always at each other’s homes, even developing a comedy show on social media together. But two years ago, Jamal lost his parents, and he blames Quincy for the accident. His grief over their deaths permeates every relationship as well as his ability to focus in school. Despite his sister’s efforts and the love of his girlfriend, Autumn, he is drifting until the night Quincy dies trying to save someone’s life. When a mysterious man offers Quincy’s mother a chance to bring him back through experimental technology, it seems far-fetched. But Mrs. Barrantes and Jamal now have the opportunity for a few more weeks with Quincy. Like everything else in Jamal’s life, this circumstance offers more questions than answers and forces him to confront why he allowed the breach in their relationship to continue. This is a page-turning narrative with a cast of fully realized characters and realistic dialogue. The skillful use of flashbacks and social media content fully engages readers. Despite the seriousness of the story, humor and moments of pathos will elicit empathy and connection. Jamal and Autumn are cued as Black and Quincy as Latinx.This thoroughly satisfying novel of love, loss, and reconciliation is not to be missed. (Fiction. 14-18)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* If you could reanimate a loved one who died tragically, unexpectedly, would you? Reynolds (Opposite of Always, 2019) raises a host of ethical questions while confronting loss and heartbreak head-on in this exceptionally engaging friendship story. Jamal and Quincy were best friends for seven years. Growing up in Ohio, the two Black boys bonded over a love of comedy. Then Jamal's beloved parents died in a car accident when he was 14 and Jamal blamed Q. Q was experiencing his own devastating loss when Jamal abandoned him. Two years later, in the present, they have a blowout argument after which Q drowns d the novel takes quite a turn. At the hospital, a representative of The Center intercedes and offers to reanimate Q, for a short time, taking him back to his pre-accident self. Q's mother accepts the shocking proposal, but will not allow anyone to tell Q that he died or that his days are limited. The story moves back and forth in time, mostly narrated by Jamal, but Q gets his turn. The vivid, energetic writing reflects two protagonists who enjoy playing with words and enlivens a group of people trying to make Q's final days special, especially Jamal's girlfriend, Autumn, and older sister, Whit, who are supportive but also call out Jamal on his mistakes. This sophomore novel is a virtuoso performance.
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12

Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, returns with another charming and powerful YA contemporary novel with a speculative twist, perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon, Becky Albertalli, and Adam Silvera. What if you could bring your best friend back to life--but only for a short time? Jamal's best friend, Q, doesn't know that he died, and that he's about to die . . . again. He doesn't know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven't been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents. But what if Jamal could have a second chance? A new technology allows Q to be reanimated for a few weeks before he dies . . . permanently. And Q's mom is not about to let anyone ruin this miracle by telling Q about his impending death. So how can Jamal fix everything if he can't tell Q the truth? Early Departures weaves together loss, grief, friendship, and love to form a wholly unique homage to the bonds that bring people together for life--and beyond.


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