SYNOPSIS AND SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:
Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.
Local teen convict released early.
Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.
“Everything is not what you think.”
Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?
“You’re the one person who believes in me.”
Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.
In this novel we follow Liz going through an extremely complicated situation, which leads the reader to a state of confusion, uncertainty and a lot of controversy. Liz knows she should not befriend the boy who ruined her beloved's lives, but she cannot help but remember how right it felt to be with him. Us, readers, know that too, so we end up feeling Liz as if she were us, and we suffer as much as she does.
I think what makes this story so good is that you can believe the decisions and situations the characters are put in, as well as how they feel about certain things or people. It is easy to understand them, and so it creates a tight bond between book and reader.
I personally think the relationships established between some characters are a bit rushed, and I am one to love the way a relationship slowly grows and becomes a great and believable one. However, that did not stop me from loving each of them (whether I wanted the characters involved to end up together does not matter, I simply loved how they were done and led).
The characterisation is brilliant. Each character has its own features and becomes a whole defined person, one you could find in real life. As I mentioned before, their feelings are easy to relate to, and it just takes a bit of will to understand and respect them.
There is a sprinkle of mystery that I think should have been kept for a little bit longer, just because having wild guesses of what happened the night Liz's life changed is super fun and makes you theorise.
The Last Time We Were Us is a novel that broke my heart and drove me crazy, constantly making me feel confused and even lost. It contains the most complicated relationship/friendship I have ever read about, and it is so well-written that I can only applaud the author.
The constant battle between right and wrong, hate and love, head and heart... That is what will keep the reader awake and very alive, unable to put the book down. Family, friends, love, betrayal, uncertainty... all in Leah Konen's new novel.
*Thank you, HarperCollins, for sending me an ARC.