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The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt - Review

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Where did I get it? I can't quite remember... I thought I'd got it at YALC one year but it's not in the photos, and I can't find it in my emails... so I'm not sure! But it's been on my shelves for ages. 

What's it about? Limpet (a nickname) has just lost her mum. At the beginning of the book it's the day of the funeral. Limpet is kind of in a mess (obviously), but she has her best friends Steffan and Jared around. 

Both rugby players, they've been friends since they were really little and they riff off each other. Steffan and Limpet - it was he who gave her the nickname - have been friends sinxe Year 8 when Steffan saved her from bullies, and although she is friends with Jared she doesn't know him that well. 

Steffan suggests that the three of them take off for a few days after the funeral, on a bit of a road trip at the end of the summer, in his rusty old car. The book is set in Wales, so there's lots of gorgeous countryside to roam around in. 

Throughout the book lots of secrets come out. Life is changing and Limpet has to come to terms with the past in order to look to the future. 

What age range is it for? 14+, there's nothing salacious

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No 

Are any main characters people of colour? No 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? There's some discussion of difficult topics, yep, so be careful 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, pot, and alcohol 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, obviously. It's not graphic but again be careful 

Are there swear words? Not many 

What criticisms do I have? I just thought the plot was a bit thin. I felt like the book took a lot of time to say not very much. Not much happens, and I felt like Limpet's emotions were explained a bit too much rather than shown to us. I would have liked parts from the others' points of view, because I think that would have added to the understanding of the boys. as it is, they come off quite one dimensional and full of in jokes that fall a bit flat. I just felt like things were over explained, and I didn't like it very much.

I also think that a lot of what Limpet goes through in regards to her mum just wasn't realistic. The grieving process is a lot longer than what's portrayed and I found that a bit distasteful, especially as someone who lost my dad when I wasn't very old. I didn't like it. 

Would I recommend the book? Honestly, no. I didn't love it, and I liked the concept. I thought it had a good setting, and I'm definitely in favour of Welsh speakers in books, but I didn't think it lived up to expectation. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was browsing the shelves and it was near the end. 

What other books is it like? Hmmm... No I'm drawing a blank. 

How many stars? Two out of five

Where is the book going now? I'll probably donate it at some point!

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