Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Review: The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

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I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Last Forever by Deb CalettiThe Last Forever by Deb Caletti
Published by Simon Pulse on April 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
Buy on Amazon

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.

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!


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16 Responses to “Review: The Last Forever by Deb Caletti”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Beautiful review, Jenni. I love how much you loved this book. I didn’t this would be my kind of book at first, but you’ve changed my mind with your review. You and I have similar tastes when it comes to contemporaries so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy this too.
    The main character sounds wonderful and I love small-town settings too, so I’m curious to see how this town was written.
    Great review, Jenni!

  2. Maya

    Ooh, I really like the look of this! The idea of weaving a bit of botanic knowledge into the story sounds fab, and I’m glad the romantic aspects are atypical and not cliched. Plus, I have a bit of a thing for road trip in novels. I’ll be keeping a look out for this, Jenni – lovely review!

  3. Savannah

    YAY Jenni! I really love the dynamic between father/daughter and the family drama. For me, it made it much more realistic. Great review!

  4. Tina

    Oh yay I’m so happy you loved this!! The synopsis totally reads like a Sarah Dessen novel haha. I surprisingly haven’t read anything by this famous author yet but here seems like a great start. I am so happy you loved the main character so much! I so often can’t stand them so now I’m excited. Awesome review!

  5. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    Uh, yeah… you fell in love with a plant. Nuff said. 😉 I’ve wanted to read this since I first saw the synopsis. First of all, anything with “road trip” in the description has me jumping up and down with glee. But after reading your review, now I HAVE to read this. I want to learn about seeds too!! lol So glad to hear you loved this one, Jenni! 😀

  6. Vi

    Oh, you’re making me so happy bc I just got this in the mail for review. Now I wanna read it right away! And a new love for botany?! Cool!

  7. Amanda @ Book Badger

    Wow Jenni, this book sounds powerful, and I’ve never heard of it, shame on me! It sounds beautiful Tess sounds like a wonderful character, and the relationship sounds almost perfect. If it made you fall in love with a plant, then it has to be good! Adding it to be tbr list! 😀

  8. Kaina

    I just realized that I haven’t read contemporary in so long! This looks like the perfect novel to start again. I love books with road trips and small towns. And is it kind of weird that I’m really interested in the seed trivia? But most of all I love it when contemporary novels make my FEELS go all over the place 😀 Will have to read it ASAP. Great review! 🙂

  9. Jasprit

    This review is gorgeous Jenni, I admit that when I first saw this book around I really did think that it wouldn’t be my sort of read, but you have definitely convinced me to give this book a go. I love they way you’ve described Tess’s character and these small snippets about seeds we get at the beginning of each chapter, that is something that I can’t wait to read!

  10. Pili

    This sounds fantastic and even though anything with romance in it and contemporary is something I cannot deal with emotionally, this is the kinda book I’ll have to add to the “contemporaries to read” list!
    Thanks for a great review, Jenni!!

  11. Anatea

    I just love the feeling when you read a book, and you just want to make people read it right away so you can chat with them about it. When you feel about the book that way, than it means it’s really great! I’ll try to read it pretty soon!

  12. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I’m so glad that you loved this book. I unfortunately didn’t. I was rather bored with it. I did find the starts of the chapters cool with the plant stuff though. I ended up not finishing this one because I just couldn’t keep myself engaged in the story. Great review chick!!