Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Sara Biren
Published: April 4th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Source: Paperback ARC from publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
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.
I was intrigued by this book when it landed on my doorstep. It seemed like the perfect summer contemporary read and I was looking forward to jumping in. I’ll be honest here, when I finished this book I was a little disappointed – in the characters mostly – but I still enjoyed the book overall.
Lucy and Ben haven’t spoken in almost a year. Not since the accident. Not since the words that changed everything. Lucy is trying to keep it together now that she’s babysitting Ben’s little cousin and can’t avoid him the way she’d like. Ben’s trying to avoid Lucy as much as possible so that he doesn’t make things worse than they are. With the anniversary coming up, they seem pushed together more frequently and are forced to confront the events of the previous year.
I was right when I thought this book would be perfect for the summer. There’s no doubting that. My issue with this book was that I didn’t really believe the characters. Ben said something horrible to Lucy after they came back from his sister’s – her best friend’s – funeral. It was said in grief and I could understand that – despite how awful it was. The thing I couldn’t get was the fact that Lucy dwelt on it for a year, was convinced that he hated her, and then the minute he says something nice to her it’s like it was all forgiven and forgotten. I didn’t like his apology, it didn’t feel sincere to me.
Ranting aside, I loved the back and forth between Ben and Lucy for the majority of the book. It had a ‘will they, won’t they’ vibe to it and I was curious to see where it would go. The way the family kept pushing them together – thinking that they needed to rely on each other to grieve together and come through it.
I loved the dual perspective so that we could see what both Lucy and Ben were thinking about the things that went on. Seeing Ben’s side was actually one of the reasons that I don’t like him so much, which is a good thing because I had a strong reaction to him as a character, even if it was negative.
For a somewhat serious contemporary this summer, this is definitely one to have on your to be read list.
About the Author
Sara Biren lives just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their two children. A true Minnesotan, she is a fan of hockey, hotdish, and hanging out at the lake. She enjoys seeing live bands, watching movies with her family, and drinking coffee. Her love of cheese knows no bounds.
Sara is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads