Saturday, June 29, 2013

ARC Review: Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Famous Last Words
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (July 2, 2013)

Description: Sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum” (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up?

As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and most important—herself.

My Thoughts: This story was sweet and cute and, oh so, satisfying. Sam D'Angelo is spending the summer before her senior year working for the local newspaper as an intern. Her main job is writing the obituaries. Her fellow interns are AJ and Tony. She loves being in the newspaper office even though it is separating her from her best friend Shelby who is spending their "last summer" partying and drinking. 

Sam gets involved in writing feature obits which make her look into people's lives to write about what made them memorable. She also gets involved in investigating the mayor or a nearby town who seems to be hiring lots of people who never show up for work.

Sam also has to deal with romance. She and Shelby had a falling out when Shelby got a little drunk and told a fellow student who just happens to be the captain of the football team and student council president that Sam had a crush on him. And Sam did—when she was in junior high. But it was still an embarrassing thing for a friend to do. Then there is Tony at work. He is handsome and a real flirt who makes a play for Sam until Sam gets the assignment he wanted. Best of all, there is AJ who becomes her friend. It takes her quite a while to realize that AJ would like to be more than buddies.

I loved the family relationships in this story too. Sam has a great relationship with her lawyer parents. They are supportive and really care about her life. Sam also has a great relationship with her widowed grandmother who has lived with them since her husband died.

This was a story about growing up and accepting changes. Friendships changed. Relationships changed. And Sam changed as she started to learn what was important to her and what she wanted.

I really liked this story and can't wait to share it with my high students next Fall.

Favorite Quote:
That's the strange dichotomy of me. I love to watch idealized versions of kids my age, and yet, I don't know how to live among them. It's not high school I have the problem with; it's me in high school. I'm like the ugly stepsister trying to jam her big nasty foot into that delicate glass slipper. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to take a look! The cover is cute, but I wonder ow long skinny jeans will be in style!


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