Thursday, April 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said
Author: Sara Biren
Publication: Amulet Books (April 4, 2017)

Description: Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

My Thoughts: This is an excellent story about the different ways people deal with grief. Lulu lost her best friend when Trixie had a heart attack and drowned one summer day. Ben lost his sister. They also lost their relationship with each other.

Lulu has loved Ben since she first met him when Trixie brought her home with her from Kindergarten but it is only the summer when she turns sixteen that Ben returns her regard. But when Trixie dies, Ben blames his fascination with Trixie on not being able to save her. He takes out his anger on Lulu. He is consumed with guilt, drinking too much, hooking up with too many girls, and withdrawing from his family.

Lulu has found a new friend in Hannah who is a recent arrival in town and a potential new boyfriend in Simon. He and his mother are renting the house next door for the summer. But her heart is still fixed on Ben. In their small northern Minnesota town, it's impossible to avoid people you don't want to see. Their lives keep crossing and Ben keeps hurting her.

We also see how Trixie's death affected the adults in the story. Both Lulu's parents and Ben's parents are still dealing with their own grief as the summer progresses. 

I loved the setting of this story because I'm a Minnesota girl. I've been to all the real places that were mentioned. I loved the way Trixie was not forgotten. Lulu often told Trixie's young cousin Trixies about the things Trixie said and did. We learn to see Trixie as a girl who knew how to love and how to make each minute special.

I heartily recommend this story to any fan of contemporary young adult fiction.

Favorite Quote:
When they reached the safety of the firm, solid earth, Trixie looked at her best friend with a smile and said, "Always remember that the thrill of the view is worth the terror of the climb."

Lulu would remember those words for the rest of her life. 
I received this one for review from Amulet Books in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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