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The Last Thing I Remember (Homelanders, Book 1) Hardcover – April 28, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Homelanders Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Charlie West lived the life of an ordinary teenager—good student, black belt in karate, motivated—until he wakes up strapped in a chair next to a table of blood-splattered instruments of torture. He manages to escape from his unknown captors only to discover that an entire year has passed, of which he remembers nothing. Finding himself pursued by those he perceived as the "good guys," he must run to save himself and to discover the truth. Yet when Charlie learns of a plot to assassinate a government official, he risks all to save a stranger. This first book in the series may lack cohesiveness, but it remains a compelling thriller. The first half unfolds in painstaking, if not excruciating, detail, while the second half speeds to an ending with no real resolution. Readers presumably will have to hope that the sequel will explain more fully this tightly wound mystery. Klavan spends a good deal of time aptly portraying Charlie and other key figures, but some patriotic characters may come across as overzealous and off-putting.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Charlie is a squeaky-clean high-schooler who gets good grades, dreams about joining the Air Force, and loves practicing his karate—and it’s this last skill that comes in especially handy when he wakes up tied to a chair next to a tableau of torture instruments. In an attempt to understand how he landed in such dire straits, he flashes back to the last thing he remembers: a seemingly typical day at school. So begins the fantastic first half of this post-9/11 thriller in which each bit of recovered memory directly informs how Charlie deals with his mysterious captors. The excitement plateaus once Charlie escapes and realizes that he’s wanted by more than just a band of terrorists, but the chase scenes, gunfire, and fistfights never let up. The rah-rah patriotism may put off some readers, particularly given Charlie’s apparent unwillingness to moderate his black-and-white views. On the other hand, this is just the first book in the Homelanders series, so there is still plenty of time for Charlie to develop shades of gray. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595546073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595546074
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar award five times and won twice. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Don't Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Empire of Lies. He is currently writing a series of thrillers for young adults called The Homelanders. The first two novels in the series are The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. His satiric video commentaries can be seen on PJTV.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The last thing Charlie West remembers is going to sleep after one of the best days of his life. That morning he wowed his high school classmates with a black belt demonstration at school, only to have the girl of his dreams write her phone number on his arm. Later in the day Sensei Mike encouraged Charlie to follow his dream of being an Air Force pilot, and even an argument with his friend Alex couldn't take away the buzz of an unforgettable day. Charlie falls asleep on top of the world only to wake up strapped to a chair battered, bruised, and bloody. As Charlie tries to make sense of the situation he soon discovers he is being held captive by men who want him dead. Using his black belt skills he finds a way to escape only to find out things are much worse than he could have ever imagined.

Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan takes his first foray into young adult fiction with this riveting first installment of The Homelanders series. This is a fast paced thrill ride carried effortlessly along by the first person narrative of Charlie West. From the intriguing opening hook we are whisked along on an action packed jaunt that is full of twists and turns and is impossible to put down.

In the midst of the shootouts and riveting hand to hand combat scenes, Klavan builds character depth through Charlie's flashbacks of the last day he remembers. We soon find out that Charlie is not just a good kid, but someone that has a strong faith and a great love for his country. It's these solid foundations that help Charlie find the strength to face the overwhelming circumstances in front of him.

The Last Thing I Remember does everything the first book in a series should.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as a gift to my grand-daughter so I took a Sunday afternoon and read it myself. It was a good read for a young person, full of suspense and held my attention through to the end. Which sometimes, if the book isn't good, I will just get up and leave it. I didn't have that problem with this book. The only disappointment was finding the sequel won't be out until next year. It's nice to be able to read a book without having to cringe at the language and message, especially when it is geared to our young people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished "The Last Thing I Remember" the other day, and my stepdaughter finished it last night. (It speaks well for the book, no doubt, that she started it last night at bedtime and didn't go to sleep until she'd finished it!)

We both liked it -- the action was good, the premise was very interesting indeed. My stepdaughter felt that it was begging to be made into a movie -- which, given the bankruptcy of ideas currently reigning in Hollywood, seems a safe enough prediction.

She felt, however, that the book didn't have enough of a point to it. I disagreed on that -- a boy who suddenly finds himself in strange and dangerous circumstances, who must figure out who he is and what to do next, seemed a fine premise to me.

On the other hand, we both felt that the book leaves too many issues unresolved. (Why does our protagonist not remember ANYTHING of the past year?... we've seen nothing to even suggest how this could be possible. We get a brief glimpse of his parents reacting to his predicament, but not enough, and nothing at all from his Sensei; that didn't feel right either.) Granted, it's the first book in a series, but leaving such major issues unresolved makes the ending unsatisfying. Perhaps it would have been better to resolve the major issues, at least partially, and leave one or two minor questions as enticement to read the next one. As it is, I may read the next Homelanders book, hoping to figure out what happened -- but it'll be out of irritation, not excitement.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy TLTIR for the most part. Reading an adventure story with a center-right perspective was also refreshing; they don't seem to be thick on the ground these days. I found it a bit heavy-handed at times, but not annoyingly so.
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6 Comments 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let it first be said that I hold the so-called Young Adult and Teen genres to the same standards that I hold books aimed at an older audience. Just because kids and teens happen to be younger does not mean their books should be of lesser quality in any way.

And so that's what I have in mind as I write this review--which I may rewrite one day in the future, after I read the other novels in what could potentially be an incredible series. But whether this Homelanders series becomes another Great in the realm of YA/Teen really rather depends. It depends on how complex, both in terms of plot and thematic concerns, this series becomes.

Should The Homelanders fulfill the potential I sensed in the 3 hours in which I devoured it (we'll get there later), I'd rewrite this review in a heartbeat and give The Last Thing I Remembered a hearty 5-star. However--and I don't want to spoil anything--if Homelanders doesn't go to that level of depth that it could achieve, it'll get a 3-star for being a run-of-the-mill, America-rules-EveryoneElse-drools thriller. I'm not a fan of those whatsoever.

But since I haven't read the sequels, I'll tell you what I do know about The Last Thing I Remember.

1. It's ridiculously fast-paced. It took me 3 hours to read, but I was reading late at night and into the morning, where I was reading at 2/3rds if not half speed.

2. It's 100% kid-friendly over the age of, say, 10. No bad words, no suggestive language, the main character is a morally-grounded good student.

3. It was a lot of fun to read, part of its appeal. I found myself trying to think of all the reasons Charlie woke up in this chair. Aliens, wizards, alternate universes, ultracomplex conspiracies. It gets your imagination going, that's for sure.
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