The Last Forever
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 1st 2014
by Simon Pulse
Endings and beginnings sit so close to each other that it’s sometimes impossible to tell which is which.
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 so 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 at Tessa’s grandmother’s. Despite all the warmth and beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost.
Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more importantly, he understands her. A secret stands between them, but Tessa’s willing to do anything to bring them together—because Henry may just be her one chance at forever.
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review-
I really don’t even feel like I can effectively review this book because all I want to do is flail all over the place and shove it in people’s faces so they read it too. This book was absolutely perfect for me, I picked it up on a Saturday morning and before I knew it I was halfway through and dreading the book ending. This book is emotional, this book is funny and this book is engrossing.
We meet our MC Tess as she is grieving the recent loss of her mother to cancer. She is living with her father and just going through the motions of day to day life. One afternoon the two of them pack up her father’s truck and head out to finally see the Grand Canyon. Once that’s done, they decide to see Vegas, and then they just keep going North until they get to Tess’s grandma Jenny’s house. At this point Tess’s father takes off to deal with his grief on his own and we see Tess start to plant new roots on the island of Parrish as she meets the locals and forms relationships. Ok, the small town feel of this was so awesome! I loved this little town, I loved how everybody knew everybody’s business and just how there for each other they were. Every character that Tess meets on this island became someone I felt like I knew and cared about. Even poor 8 year old Kenny Travis who had created quite the name for himself as the town’s little klepto.
While all of the secondary characters in this novel were fantastic the heart and soul of every page was Tess herself. Man, I loved this girl so much. I could relate to all of her thought patterns and I felt like her and I were kindred in a way. She was sarcastic & funny but it was her crushing thoughts about some of the regrets that she had that made me feel like I wasn’t alone as I read through the pages. She didn’t do everything she thought she could have as her mother was dying of cancer and the guilt of that was eating away at her. She also had this strained bond with her father that would boil over at times but always came back to a place of complacent understanding in the end that I understood so well. This girl quickly became my favourite MC that I have read about in a very long while.
As we watch Tess come to terms with everything that has happened in her life we also see her open up to love. She meets Henry Lark on the island and is smitten with him almost immediately (yes, he touches her and there are sparks that she just can’t forget) but this relationship is so not your typical YA romance. These two bond over intelligent discussion and they genuinely care about one another. The thoughtfulness that passes between them in their thoughts and how they go out of their way for one another was fantastic. The relationship isn’t filled with cheesy cliches and it doesn’t take the path anyone can expect it to but I love how it all comes together in the end and how it helps Tess so much when she needs it most.
Another awesome addition to the novel is all of the botany in it. At the beginning of every chapter there is a little explanation about a different type of seed. I had thought that these would quickly become something that I would skip over but I loved the trivia! The things I learned about seeds are crazy, I mean they are scary little things when you learn what is inside them and what they are capable of. This all ties into the novel because Tess has a rare pixibell plant she is trying to keep alive that belonged to her mother after it was passed down by her father. I feel like even this plant became an important character in the novel because I was rooting for its well being and crying when things weren’t looking so good for it.
So I think that is the last tidbit of information I will include in this review. Remember it: this novel made me fall in love with a plant, that’s gotta be saying something!