Book Review : The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

January 8, 2014 Book review 2 ★★

The Last Forever is a book about the grief and the endless, never-ending journey you go through after the loss of a parent.  However while the subject was intense, I never fully connected with the characters and just didn’t feel it.

Book Review : The Last Forever by Deb CalettiThe Last Forever by Deb Caletti
Published by Simon Pulse on 1 Apr 2014
Genres: Family, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
two-stars

Beginnings and endings overlap in this soaring novel of love and loss from bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti, whose writing SLJ has called “reminiscent of the best of Sarah Dessen.”

Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all she can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home. Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town.

Despite all the beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost. Her most cherished possession—a rare plant of her mother’s—is starting to wither, and with it, Tessa’s heart and her hope. Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more important, he understands her. Though secrets stand between them, each has a chance at healing...if first, Tessa can find the courage to believe in forever.

First line of The Last Forever:

“In those early months, when the beautiful and mysterious Henry Lark and I began to do all that reading, I often skimmed over the name. “

My Thoughts on The Last Forever:

I didn’t hate this book, I just didn’t enjoy it.  If I have to sum up how I felt, the word I would use is indifferent.  I didn’t connect with the characters and the direction the plot took didn’t work for me.  A lot of the story is Tessa’s thoughts and I would have preferred less thinking and more action.  And that is not to say that Tessa was boring as I did feel a lot of her thoughts on grief were very insightful.  I think if you were in a similar position to Tessa and grieving a parent then this book might mean a lot more to you.

“I don’t call anyone, though, because a loved person dying can make you feel distant from everyone, not just the person who’s gone.  There’s grief and then there’s the loneliness of grief.  The way it’s just yours and yours alone.”

I think those lines feel very poignant and true.  And there are a lot of similar quotes that I have marked at that really dig deep into the sadness and aloneness you feel after such a huge loss.

The romance between Tessa and Henry felt very one-sided and I very quickly developed some theories on it.  I think if the romance had been different it would have lifted this book more for me as I felt some lightness was needed.  What did work was the sparky dialogue, I think without this I might have DNF’d the book.

Another issue I had was that at the start of every chapter, there was a description of a plant and not being a botany fan, I just skimmed these.  They did connect with the story but just didn’t appeal to me.

The relationship between Tessa and her father infuriated me.  His way of dealing with the loss of his wife was to disconnect with his daughter and smoke as much pot as he could.  He redeems himself a little but as a father he was a disaster.  However I loved the relationship between Tessa and her grandmother.  I was so happy to see a responsible adult enter her life and one that I knew she could lean on when necessary.

Overall though, this just wasn’t a ‘Trish’ book.

 

Rating Report
Characters
two-half-stars
Setting
two-half-stars
Pace
one-half-stars
Did I feel it?
one-half-stars
Overall: two-stars

 

Who should read The Last Forever:

I think if you have recently lost someone important in your life, this book might strike a chord with you.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

two-stars

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