Title: The Last Thing You Said
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Tough Issues
Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5
This book was heavy. I read it in one 3-hour sitting about a week ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. That's a good thing, I suppose, right?
Death is a complicated situation. It can either bring people together, tear them apart OR both. The majority of this book is spent watching death tear people apart. And I don't just mean the main characters, Lucy and Ben, I mean everyone. The mothers and fathers and aunts and uncle, you get to see it all. Death really messes up a family but the worst part is, the person who died, would never want her family acting this way.
Trixie. This book wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for Trixie. Last summer, Trixie, Ben, Lucy and Clayton(Lucy's brother) were all relaxing in the water. Then Trixie decided to have a swimming race to the island no too far from where they were floating. Her heart gives out during the race and her friends are unable to save her. Swimming was something she loved. She died doing something she loved and it took almost the entirety of this book for people to realize that. Yes, it is still a tragedy. And that tragedy ripped families apart because those families let her death do that. And that is not something Trixie would have wanted, at all. The bits and pieces we get about her and her life throughout this book paint a picture of a loving, caring, beautiful girl with a soul that matches. The author didn't just tell us that Trixie was an amazing person and expect us to go along with it. No, she showed us who Trixie was and that is exactly the right thing to do. So, after her death, we are left with Lucy and Ben, her best friend and her brother, and we get to see just how badly losing Trixie messed them up.
Lucy is our main character. We get to see things through her eyes, past and present. I really enjoyed her flashbacks and her Trixie's(you'll find out what these are if you read the book). With these we got to know Trixie even though she was dead. It's always nice to get a back story on a deceased character instead of the author just saying 'blah blah is dead' and moving on. Now, Lucy herself, I have multiple feelings towards her. She had moments where I was sad with her and then there were moments where I wish she would just stop the stupid crap she was doing. She was definitely a case of smart girl making stupid decisions.
Lucy and Ben are left to navigate life without Trixie and it really shatters their worlds. Ben turned self-distructive and that made this entire situation even harder to bear for Lucy. He hurt Lucy and that made losing her best friend AND seeing him anywhere extremely hard. Especially since Lucy is playing nanny to Ben and Trixie's little cousin so she sees him almost every day.
I loved Ben. Don't get me wrong. I was half and half between wanting to hug him and wanting to rip his face off. I also think that he was forgiven way too easily, especially after the HORRIBLE shit he said and did. But, love isn't just another 4-letter word, it is encompassing and full of every emotion you could possibly think of. Love is raw. Love is giving someone all the trust in the world that they won't rip you apart but it is also forgiving them if they do rip you apart. Love is the most sought after thing in this world. So why shouldn't it hurt like hell? Why shouldn't it give you every emotion this world has to offer? Life isn't worth living if you don't get to feel everything it has to offer. With that being said, I hope he gets his anger issues under control because he can be a great guy when he doesn't let his rage control him.
Simon... UGH. I don't even know if I want to go there, but I guess I have to. He was a fricken creeper. He was so disgusting and lowkey controlling. I have no idea how Lucy could stand to do that entire 'relationship'. God, just thinking about it makes me sickened. I would rather lick a skunk than have been in Lucy's shoes that summer and I'm so glad he got put in his place. I'm not sure if this is how the author meant for Simon to be perceived but I can't really imagine what else she would have been aiming for.
The setting of this book was really beautiful. It took place in a small town on the water. The residents all seemed to know each other and it was a pretty nice feeling. I don't know if the author based it off of an existing town or made it up entirely but either way she definitely made it come to life. The author is also very talented in making real, believable characters.
So, with all the back and forth emotions this book made me feel, I can say that I loved it. I hated some of the situations and I got angry at some people, but if a book doesn't made you feel SOMETHING then it has no right being a book. Lucy's parents were okay people. Her brother was a mooching ass-hat. Ben's parents weren't exactly the greatest. I understand they lost a daughter but they still had a son. Sadly, this is the common situation if a parent loses a child and has other children.
Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.