Say Goodnight, Gracie (Charlotte Zolotow Book Series)
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Say Goodnight, Gracie (Charlotte Zolotow Book Series)

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by Julie Reece Deaver
     
 

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There are friends we can't imagine living without.

Morgan and Jimmy were kids together, whirling around the porch on hot summer days. They've been friends forever, and by now they know each other inside out. They do everything together—from cutting high school to go into the city to coaching each other at dance auditions and acting workshops. They

Overview

There are friends we can't imagine living without.

Morgan and Jimmy were kids together, whirling around the porch on hot summer days. They've been friends forever, and by now they know each other inside out. They do everything together—from cutting high school to go into the city to coaching each other at dance auditions and acting workshops. They even argue well. A perfect friendship. Best friends. For life.

So how could life be so right and then be so wrong? After a terrible accident, Morgan suddenly has to face life alone. Without Jimmy around, though, it's like the best part of her has died. How could he do this to her? And why is love so hard?

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A wrenching novel, with power and appeal.”
ALA Booklist
"A wrenching novel, with power and appeal."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064470070
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/2009
Series:
A Charlotte Zolotow Bk.
Edition description:
20th Anniversary Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
416,920
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

There are friends, I think, we can't imagine living without. People who are sisters to us, or brothers. Jimmy was one of those. I never thought I might have to go through life without him. I never thought he might be killed by a drunken driver or anything else. Who thinks about things like that when you're seventeen? If I had known ahead of time what was going to happen to him, I would have gone crazy. I guess I did go a little crazy. My Aunt Lo, who's a hospital psychiatrist, says grief travels a certain route--that if you could plot it out on a map you'd have a line that twists and weaves and eventually ends up near the point of departure. I say "near" because although you may survive the grief, you won't ever be exactly the same. It took me a long time to learn that, and sometimes the whole experience comes back on me and I have to learn it all over again.



"Hey, Morgan," I remember Jimmy saying. "Watch!" It was the summer we were ten. The summer he discovered Fred Astaire and fell in love with dancing. (In fact, by the time we were fifteen he was as tall and lanky as Astaire and was dancing professionally at the local dinner theater.)

"Come on," he'd say. "Dance with me."

"I'm reading." I'd be sitting on the Woolfs' porch swing, and Jimmy would take the book from me and grab my hands and pull me to my feet. "But I can't dance," I'd say.

"You have to," Jimmy would answer. "Somebody has to be Ginger Rogers . . . ." He would have memorized one of their routines from an old movie on TV, and while he did all the actual dancing, I remember whirling around and around the porch those hot summer days so longago and never wanting to stop.



When I think about it now, I realize that Jimmy and I started out our lives as friends. Our mothers had been high school friends who happened to reacquaint in the maternity wing of Geneva Hospital the week we were born. Because of our mothers, who were a bit fanatical about recording the history of our childhood with pictures, there are lots of photographs of Jimmy and me. The last time Jimmy and I looked through the album was an end-of-summer day, a day hot enough to melt rock, and we were in the kitchen trying to cool down with iced coffee. The rest of the house was jumping with music and noise and postadolescent energy. Besides friends and neighbors, Jimmy's folks and my aunt were there. I was feeling sentimental that day, so I dragged out the album and made him look through it.

"Ah, just what I've always wanted to do," he said. "Trip down memory lane."

But I made him look anyway. One of the first pictures in the album was taken of Jimmy and me when we were just a few days old.

"You were pretty cute," he said. "But I had more hair."

"Big deal. Two strands more."

"Two more's a lot more, Hackett."

Other pictures, carefully labeled by our mothers, show the evolution of our friendship: Jimmy and Morgan's third-birthday party (Jimmy smearing cake into Morgan's hair, very touching), Jimmy and Morgan's first day of school (I wouldn't go into the classroom unless he was holding my hand), the last day of summer camp, Jimmy and Morgan's graduation from junior high (he graduated with honors, I flunked gym), Jimmy and Morgan in his secondhand MG, Jimmy and Morgan turn seventeen. This last picture, one of my favorites, was taken in Jimmy's backyard. In it we have our arms casually draped around each other's shoulders, which pretty much shows what our relationship was like. We never looked at each other as the objects of romantic love. I liked it that way. So did Jimmy. "What we have is better," he said once. "Lovers come and go, but friends go on and on."

"Hey, Hackett, " Jimmy said. "You're out of coffee."

I looked at him. He was holding the coffeepot, and I realized he hadn't even bothered with the last few pages of the album.

"Make some more then!" I said.

"Now, now . . . don't look at me like that, Morgan. You know what those pictures do to me. It's all I can do to hold back the tears." I knew part of him was kidding, but part of what he had said was true. Of the two of us, I would classify him as more open with his feelings and more sentimental.

"Oh, make your coffee," I said. "But that's the last time I go down memory lane or anyplace else with you."

"We're going into the Loop tomorrow, aren't we? As usual?"

"I guess so," I said. Three times a week after school Jimmy and I caught the 3:25 into the city. Jimmy went to a dance class in the Loop, and I went to an acting workshop at Second City, which is an improvisational theater in the Old Town section of Chicago.

"Have you seen your aunt yet?" Jimmy asked. "She looks exceptionally entrancing today."

"I think she's in love again." I slammed the album shut and stood up and looked at my reflection in the window. "You know what I'm going to have her do this afternoon? Pierce my ears."

"You?"

"Yeah. What do you think?"

"You?"

"Why not?"

"You hate needles. You hate blood. You even get squeamish watching Bactine commercials."

"I just wanted to know what you thought, okay? Spare me the diatribe."

"You want to know what I think? I don't think you'll go through with it."

Meet the Author

Julie Reece Deaver has worked both as a teacher's aide and in television and has had her pen-and-ink drawings appear in such periodicals as The New Yorker and Reader's Digest. She is the author of Say Goodnight, Gracie, a 1988 Best Book for Young Adults (ALA) and a 1988 Recommended book for Reluctant Young Adult readers (ALA); First Wedding, Once Removed; and You Bet Your Life. Ms. Deaver lives in Pacific Grove, California.

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Say Goodnight, Gracie 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
ktmel More than 1 year ago
This was theeee best book ever! i swear! i read this book in 7th grade for a report and i fell in love. i didnt want it to end. i couldnt even put the book down. if someone says anything bad about this book, they have no heart. you really need to read this, if your looking for something attention catching, and this is coming from a girl who HATES reading! HATE IT! the title and cover caught my attention and i already knew it would b a good book. i loved it. i will never forget it. i cried while reading it. it was adorable. loving. sweet. sad. i felt i was in the book, i really did. i felt i knew the characters and as if i was there! i wish the world would read that book. this is defenitly a 5star book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book! We had to read it for our summer reading. It made me laugh so many times, and then I ended up crying right after! A really good book and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good read. -MeghanLynn
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No matter how many times I read this book it still gets me. I cry every time I read it. Came upon this book by accident in 7th grade or so and have never forgotten about it. I can't wait untoly daughter is a little older so I can share this with her. It is unreal how much you can feel the characters pain... when I saw this on preorder I was so excited. One of the best books that I have ever read. Ever.
Domino79101 More than 1 year ago
A long time favorite of mine. I highly recommend.
Juggalocoroni More than 1 year ago
Morgan is young, smart, and fun loving person. Jimmy, her closest friend, who happens to be born within a week of her, is making his dancing career fly by the limits... Then tragedy strikes all because Jimmy didn't ride with her home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lost my father to a drunk driver when I was 7. At 13 I read this book and it helped me grieve. I can honestly say I had not fully grieved or the reality had not sank in before reading this book. At that age you hardly meet people that understand what you are going through and this book said everything that I was feeling and made me not feel so ALONE. I truly thank Julie Reece Deaver. This book will always be important to me. I'm 27 now and I don't even know what happened to the one I had and suddenly thought about it. And when I saw the cover, I called my husband over and told him about it and started crying. It was a beautiful story and it will always be a part of me and my healing process, which, if you have unfortunately lost a loved one, you know, never truly ends.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jimmy and Morgan have been friends all of their lives. After seventeen years of friendship, the two know everything about each other. There is no one in the world that knows as much about Morgan as Jimmy does. He knows how to calm her, how to make her brave, and how to make her laugh.

But after Jimmy is killed in a car crash, Morgan has a big void in her life -- one that used to be occupied by Jimmy's friendship.

The road to recovery is hard for Morgan. She doesn't know how she can live without Jimmy, this constant she's had her whole life. With the help of her parents, her aunt, Jimmy's parents, and a school friend, Morgan finally comes to cope with Jimmy's death.

Julie Reece Deaver writes a very touching story about losing a best friend. While hopefully readers never have to relate to this event, nevertheless, it is very touching and helps readers understand the importance of friendship and love.

SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE is a story to stay with readers for a lifetime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when my ELA teacher suggested it to me and said one of her daughters had read it and liked it. When i read this book i could't belive how heartwarming it is. this book shows a great example of what truelove and friendship is. ANYONE and EVERYONE should read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. If you are the type that likes a good cry this is definately for you! The thing that I liked about this book is that it was fairly realistic and not only did it make you cry, but it makes you laugh as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book i read it about three years ago, i chose it out of nowhere and i loved it within the first hour i read it completely it made me cry, and it taught me not to take things for granted its awesome i think every one should read it n yet after so long ive never been able to forgett about this book. ever!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually chose this book randomely..My teacher was telling us to hurry & get our books so we could go to class. So I saw it & picked it up. I read it & I loved it. This book made me cry & grieve, which is rare for me because i don't cry for things like books or movies. But for some reason I could connect to morgan. I could feel her pain. I love it, it was the best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in junior hight then again when I got older. Could not put it down!!!! I makes you glad to have people in your life that mean so much to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, Jimmy is one heck of a friend! I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It makes me appreciate the best friends that I have a makes me happy to have them with me. We go through magnificent times and we go through rough times, we have our inside jokes and we have our secrets, but I wouldn't have my life lived any other way. It was recommended to me by my Language Arts teacher, it was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born and raised in Sweden, with English as my second language, but when I was going to eight grade, my family and I went to the US and spent a year there. I had to go to school and reading books was of course mandatory. Say Goodnight, Gracie was the first book I read and I couldn't put the book down! I was rude enough to read it during supper, and I read in the car, where I usually end up sick after having read or such. This book is soo Good, it's great! The best book ever. Thank you Julie Reece Deaver, thank you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laughable, cryable, and everything in between! This book is in my top five booklist! I have recently read it and it is amazing and I could not stop crying!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book jumped out at me when i read the intro. It made me realize its okay to be sensitive sometimes and cry
Guest More than 1 year ago
My friend told me about this book and at first, the title kinda threw me off and made me go, 'This is gonna be boring.' But after I started reading it, I couldn't put it down and it made me cried at some parts...This is a great book if your looking for a teen type book that's not too much of the whole 'Like totally.' thing...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Say goodnight gracie is truley the best book ever written!This is the type of book you can just read over and over again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe the title speaks for itself. This is a great 'girl' book. It is such a touching book. I SO recommend this to any teenage girl
Guest More than 1 year ago
I trully loved the book Say Goodnight, Gracie. When I read it i just couldn't put it down! I cried when Jimmy died and what Morgan went through. I have never had the unfortunate tragedy of a best friend dying. Although i cannot begin to know how Morgan felt, but the book in its own way described those feelings as if the author herslef has gone through such pain and greif.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, it shows how hard life can be, and that you can over come it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was great ilaughed and cried i read it three times in a row and i did not got bored.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read!!! I don't like reading that much but let me tell you onces you start reading it, you won't want to stop!!!! This book is so powerful!!! It has the power to make you feel what the characters are feeling!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book i am not a big reader but when i picked up this book i fell in love with it i think it is a great story about friendship and the trials of being torn apart from the person/thing you can't live with out i think the author brought that out great in this book i have encouraged all my freinds and family members to read it i already have my 12 year old sister hooked on it i hope this review is 1 from many i plan on purchasing all of the books when they are available at my local bookstore signed katie larosa
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because you learn to love the charectors and you just want to keep reading it. This is the best book that I have read in my life .People should give it a try ,they will be supprised!