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Say Goodnight, Gracie

Say Goodnight, Gracie

5.0 14
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 even


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?

'Morgan and Jimmy have grown up together, and are close, loving friends. When Jimmy is killed in an automobile accident, Morgan falls apart and slowly begins a desperate spiral into depression. A wrenching first novel that combines a teenager,s emotional trauma with a love story in the best modern tradition., —BL. 'Memorable., —SLJ.

1988 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1989 Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (ALA)
1988 Young Adult Editors' Choices (BL)
Young Adult Choices for 1990 (IRA)
Children's Books of 1988 (Library of Congress)
1988 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)

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San Val, Incorporated
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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."


"Yeah. What do you think?"


"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. 14 reviews.
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
It has been quite a few years since I have read this book but I have never forgotten it. It is the kind of book that if you read it once you'll remember it forever. This book is very emotional and is great to just sit down and read whenever you get the chance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it so much. I have read this book 3 times already. The time I read it i was in middle school in the 7th grade, then I read it my 8th grade and also my 9th grade year, i might as well read it for a 4th time because it so goog. It is really sad when she finds out her best friend has died. She has no idea what she is going to do with out her best friend. If i lost my best friend right i would just lose. If u have ever felt like this then read this book. I give this book 2 thumbs up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book I have ever read. I got it at my school library in a study hall and couldn't stop reading it. I finished the book the day I got it. Thats how much I absolutley loved it! It relates to me and my best friend who is a guy and we grew up together and made me think what I would do if I lost him. This book made me laugh and cry it was amazing. I usually don't find books so funny that I would laugh or so sad that I would cry, but this book was an excption. Many of my friends recommened it to me and so did my school librarian! It was the best book I have ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I've ever read. I'm 13 and I cried for 2 hours straight. It hits you as if you knew Jimmy and you knew what it was like to have to let go of him. It's very touching and teaches you a lot!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is just so descriptive in the way the author describes Morgan's emotions. You feel as if you have just experienced a death yourself. The way the author moves the whole story along is perfect, and the ending is uplifting and beautiful. A must read, seriously.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't really read books often, but I had to check this book out for school, and I love it! I'm actually looking forward to read more amazing books like this! This is now my favorite book! I mean I really enjoyed this book, alot! All I can say now is WONDERFUL!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this novel. I read the book in two hours, thats how caught up in the book I was. I love how the book makes you feel, I laughed and cried the whole time I was reading. You can really relate to Morgan and Jimmy, well at least I can. I love this book and I would recommend it to anybody. I give this book FIVE stars!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was... it made me cry, and i just read it like on friday and today is sunday, and i always cry because to me, morgan was like me and Jimmy was like more than a brother.the way Julie Reece Deaver describes Jimmy's and morgans relationship is amazing, like the way they fight, how they both talk, and how funny and sweet and nice he is. But the part that really touched my heart is when Jimmy dies and morgan is suffering, and it hurts her.she's left all alone in this world and she is afaid of ever loving anyone as much as she did love him. Julie describes how morgan was suffering in a way that was like the only person that she could have talked to about jimmy's death is the one person that died, the one person she needed to talk ABOUT!!! i think this book is great, but it's sad, i wish jimmy had never died, i wish i found out what he was gonna do for morgan on her eighteenth birthday. i wish i knew how there lives would have turned out..... this book really touched my heart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im in the 7th grade and just started reading this book today as an english asignment. Now @ 11:25 at night i had to write a reveiw. I cried from Chapter 14 to Chapter 31. I, in a way, can releate to the book because my best friend is moving 3 states south. The 'romance/relationship' that Morgan and Jimmy had was so bueatiful that i wish i could have something like that, or had a Jimmy in my life. I couldn't put the book down. Not many books have touched me the way this one has.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book i have ever read, and i have real quite a few. it is touching, heartfelt, and reaches out on a subject that is very important.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is about two friends that shared there lifes together threw small and big. one day her friend dies and has to learn to cope with his death. when she tries and deals with it she can't handle it. he was her best friend and she felt like half or her was gone. she wasn't sure how she was going to make it in the future. when she realizes that she can go on with out him she throws away the one thing that can make her remember him. his jacket the one piece of him she had left. it was gone and so what the sorrow of loseing and friend that you can truly care about and love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great.i laughed,i cryed,and i felt like i was apart of the book many many weeks after i read it.