Book Review #19: The Last Summer (of You & Me)
Author: Ann Brashares
Days to Read: 2 weeks
Synopsis (as taken from Chapter’s): Set on Long Island’s Fire Island, The Last Summer (of You & Me) is an enchanting, heartrending page-turner about sisterhood, friendship, love, loss, and growing up. It is the story of a beach community friendship triangle–Riley and Alice, two sisters in their twenties, and Paul, the young man they’ve grown up with–and what happens one summer when budding love, sexual curiosity, a sudden serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, launching the friends into an adult world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.
My Thoughts: I haven’t read anything by Ann Brashares since I turned the last page of Forever in Blue. I was obsessed with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was younger, because Brashares just knew. She knew how to portray a high school girl’s life so inexplicably well, and I felt such a connection to her characters. But as I’ve grown up and have been attending university, I’ve found it tougher for me to connect to characters in books because most authors target either young adults (every girl always has to be 16 it seems) or adults in their late 20s and over. Thankfully, Brashares wrote The Last Summer (of You & Me) to connect with post-secondary people struggling to determine their identity, falling in a more serious love, and losing those that are closest to them as they grow up. As soon as I began reading the first chapter, I was addicted. I went through this novel so fast (well, as fast as I possibly could with full time school, a social life and a relationship). Her writing was engaging as per usual, and portrayed such raw emotions. It’s tough writing about that “middle” age group, but she did such a wonderful job. While I couldn’t personally connect to any of the characters myself because none had traits like mine, I still did feel for each and every character in the novel for various reasons. The characters were stereotypical, however. Alice is the quieter, studious, beautiful one who is secretly in love with her sister’s best friend. Riley is the tomboy, who isn’t known as being beautiful; to make up for this, she has a loud personality and gets along with most people (guys in particular). Paul is the dashingly good-looking boy who is both charming, smart and lucky with a great personality. Of course, because this is Ann Brashares, each character has their hidden motives, secrets, flaws and fears that further the story along. It was a well-developed plot, but predictable. However, at one particular point in the novel, I was overtaken with emotions that I didn’t realize had developed. The climax of the novel came swiftly and suddenly–much like in real life–but I still wish Brashares had written more. The novel didn’t have a happy ending, nor was it sad. It merely wrapped up the remaining ties in a loose bow, never quite ending the story, but leaving no room for continuation either. All in all, I enjoyed it, and would recommend The Last Summer (of You & Me) to anyone looking for a quiet, haunting and realistic tale of three young adults whose lives take a turn–for the better or for the worse, that’s up to you to decide.
“Healing wasn’t always the best thing. Sometimes a hole was better left open. Sometimes it healed too thick and too well and left separate pieces fused and incompetent. And it was harder to reopen after that.”
“Alice would have liked to do the arriving instead of waiting. She would rather have done the leaving than getting left, but that was never the way it happened. For some reasons it was always Alice who waited and Alice who dove in.”
“You could feel things or you could find a way to shut down. But once you were feeling things, you couldn’t decide exactly what to feel. That was the trouble with letting them in at all. They made such a mess of the place.”
My Rating: 7/10
To check this book out, click here.