|Thank you, Amulet, for sending this ARC my way.|
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.
The Last Thing You Said fascinated me. I was not expecting to love this story as much, so having it twist my heart several times, break me into tears and steal my breath with every single scene was amazing. I would totally recommend going into this novel blind, or at least knowing as little as possible.
Let's discuss Lucy. Our main character is a strong one. She has been through the worst event in her life, losing her best friend Trixie and being left behind by Trixie's brother, Ben, after some flirting and chaos. She is completely shattered, and just by reading from her point of view you can tell how awesome her life was before the accident. She feels so real that picturing her past life is possible and surprisingly easy. Her feelings are really well-described and justified. The anger she feels is totally understood, but what I loved the most was the way she expressed the love she hated to feel for Ben even after what happened a summer ago, even after how unfair he was to her. Now she works helping Emily, Ben's cousin, and that can only mean having him around, while having her heart a little bit more broken with each second her eyes catch him.
Although I really liked Lucy as a character and as real-life girl, I think Ben is my favourite one by far. His personality is very attractive and intriguing, since he has suffered a great change because of Trixie's death. Him being so impulsive, rude, jealous and mean are clear signs of pain which you can easily find in real life after major trauma like the one he has been through. The way he sees the world, how he thinks of people, how scared he is to let his heart feel again... it is all so real that I could never hate him for being such a bad friend and son to both Lucy and his parents. I can not hate a character for being angry at life for taking his sister away. Ben is so three-dimensional that I can not help but feel sorry for him and want to try and help him.
I must admit I did not like the character of Simon, not because of who he is, but because of who Lucy and Ben can not be because of him. He is the new guy in town, renting the house next door to Lucy's for the summer. He is cute, nice, a listener... he is due to make Lucy feel something again. For that, I am glad. But having him in the way is annoying indeed, just because Ben is hurting really bad and having Lucy taken away (as selfish as it sounds, after everything he has done) is shattering him even more.
Let's take a quick look into the plot building. It is a fantastic one, there is no denying in that. Life is shown from its worst angles: loss and betrayal. Economic problems, family and friendship are also some of the topics discussed, brilliantly discussed. And let's not forget about the amazing character development we witness within these pages.
Grief is so well-written that it is impossible not to believe in the situations these characters find themselves in. It is clear to me that the author has been through some similar situation, as she says herself in the novel, because the way she portrays what it means and how it feels to lose a best friend and a sister is simply overwhelming. I could feel every ounce of pain both Lucy and Ben carry throughout the story. Not once have I thought their reactions were forced or insufficient but rather the opposite. I think every single thing either Lucy or Ben do is justified by their back story. The anger, the sadness, the helplessness... everything, is on point.
I would like to recommend this novel to all those readers who love reading dark and intense summery love stories which have to deal with the loss of someone important.