Early Departures

Justin A. Reynolds

fiction contemporary speculative fiction young adult
emotional reflective sad fast-paced

320 pages | first published 2020

Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again.

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again.

He also doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save his life, rescuing him from drowning only to watch Q die later in the hospital. Even more complicated, Jamal and Q haven’t been best friends in two years—not since Jamal’s parents died in a car accident, leaving him and his sister to carry on without them. Grief swallowed Jamal whole, and he blamed Q for causing the accident.

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? An impossible chance that would grant him the opportunity to say goodbye to his best friend? A new health-care technology allows Q to be reanimated—brought back to life like the old Q again. But there’s a catch: Q will only reanimate for a short time before he dies . . . forever.

Jamal is determined to make things right with Q, but grief is hard to shake. And he can’t tell Q why he’s suddenly trying to be friends with him again. Because Q has no idea that he died, and Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin the miracle by telling him. How can Jamal fix his friendship with Q if he can’t tell him the truth?

What the community thinks

summary of 73 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

emotional 100%
reflective 89%
sad 84%
funny 63%
hopeful 52%
inspiring 42%
challenging 15%
adventurous 10%
dark 10%
lighthearted 5%
tense 5%

Pace

fast 57%
medium 26%
slow 15%

Strong character development?

Yes: 89% | It's complicated: 10%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 94% | It's complicated: 5%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 89% | It's complicated: 5% | No: 5%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 100%

Average rating

4.13