Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer of Reviews: Author Spotlight - Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 1:00 PM

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English. She lives in Georgia with her family. Gina is a member of the writing and blogging group YA Misfits and you can find her online at Last Year’s Mistake is her first novel. - See more at:

Title: Last Year's Mistake
Author: Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: June 9th 2015
Cover Rating: 4/5

Last Year's Mistake is one of those books that I can guarantee will satisfy your heart breaking contemporary romance needs. I have been in the mood for painful romances. I guess that says something about me but, oh well. 

I liked and disliked Kelsey's character. She was such a strong protagonist but she had a lot of faults. She was jealous, paranoid and overall, not a very good friend. You can tell by the way that she hurts people throughout the book that she is a bit selfish. She only thinks about her own pain and no one elses. I do admit it was wrong of David to do what he did before she moved but she reacted very childishly towards him and that made everything worse.

David wasn't exactly a good guy either. I just truly wanted to smack him and Kelsey upside the heads. David wasn't exactly Mr. Innocent when it came to hurting others. He definitely should have told Violet what was up from the start. And he should have definitely told Violet about the kiss. Even if they did break up and it was civil in the end. He will have that on his conscience for the rest of his life. If he has a conscience.

I feel like Ryan was a stand-in for David for Kelsey. I mean it can't be a coincidence that she ended up dating a baseball player after she moved. Whether that is the case or not, I will never actually know. But I do know that Ryan was a douche-canoe. It seems like everyone in this book had two sides of themselves. 

The book switched back and forth between the summer's that David and Kelsey met and progressed to them becoming best friends then it went to the present where Kelsey thought David was in her past forever. I enjoyed this because you got to see how they were when they were younger. But for some reason I feel like they grew up to be different people than who I thought they would be. They were both huge parts of each others world and then all of a sudden that just ended. What would have happened if Kelsey hadn't moved? So many possibilities.

The only true issue I had with the book was the immaturity and the blatant disregard for the feelings of others that these teenagers showed. Are teenagers like this now? Were they like this when I went to school? It's just scary to think that teenagers like this will be ruling the country and world soon. Replacing their elders. I'm not so sure I want someone who can't even respect their own feelings having a hand in controlling the future. 

This book could have had many different endings. The way it ended is obviously one. Kelsey could have stayed with Ryan. David could have stayed with Violet. David could have spoken up sooner. Ryan could have not attacked David. There are just so many endings that I imagined. And towards the end I was actually scared that the book wouldn't end the way it did. But that also would have been a first for me. Not having the two main love interests ending up together just doesn't happen. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

1) Did you always want to become an author?

I've wanted to be an author since I learned to read. I was writing stories in second grade and still haven't stopped.

2) Have you ever been to Rhode Island and Connecticut? 

Absolutely. I was born in Connecticut and lived there until 2013, when we transferred to Georgia for my husband's job. The town where Kelsey lives in Connecticut is 100% based on the town where I went to high school. And I've been to Newport several times - it's one of my favorite places. The scene where Kelsey and Ryan are watching the boats at the marina was dreamed up from a picture I took while doing the exact same thing.

3) Who would you pick? Ryan or David?

I love different things about both of them, but when it comes down to it, David is kind of my dream guy.

4)Are you currently working on any new books?

Always! I have another book coming out from Simon Pulse in 2016, and I just turned in the newest draft to my editor. I also have a project on my agent's desk, and am about to start drafting a brand new manuscript.

5) What is your favorite genre to read?

I love YA, especially romance. But I also have a soft spot for the spooky, creepy variety. Combine the two, and I'm hooked.

6) How would you describe your book to a potential buyer/reader?

As a sweet, realistic story of a teenage friendship that fell apart and came back together as something more.

7) Do you have any song/songs that helped motivate you to write this book?

“Back to December” by Taylor Swift, “Come Back to Me” by David Cook, “Paradise” by Coldplay, “Broken” by Lifehouse, “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard, “Stay” by Alison Krauss, and “Faster” by Matt Nathanson.

8) Do you believe its true that the people we love the most are the ones that hurt us the most?

I think that if you don't care about someone - or at least care what they think - then they don't have much power to hurt you. Pain caused by someone you loved or trusted tends to resonate harder and longer, in my opinion.


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