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The Last Summer (of You and Me) Paperback – May 6, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants author delivers her first novel for adults, a treacly tale about the tribulations a trio of longtime friends encounter. For as long as she can remember, 21-year-old Alice has spent summers on Fire Island with her parents and older sister, Riley. Riley, 24, is a beach lifeguard, more boyish in both looks and spirit than sweet, feminine Alice. An island neighbor and Riley's best friend, Paul, whose father is dead and mother mostly absent, returns to the island after two years away and must decide whether to sell his family's house there. More importantly, he and Alice finally act on an attraction they've felt for years, but they keep their frequent nuzzling quiet so as not to hurt Riley. Riley, meanwhile, has her own problems that could ruin Alice and Paul's clandestine romance and just about everything else. Brashares's YA roots are on display: the girls and Paul act like high school kids (Riley threatens to move out of the house unless everyone butts out; Paul and Alice are stricken with the most saccharine of puppy love), and anything below the surface is left untouched. It's a beach read, for sure, but a mediocre one. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
aA vivid elegy for youth...Brashares is wise as well as sentimental. She sagely remembers just how it feels to be young, lost, and in love. "The Last Summer (of You and Me)" is a weeper: If you donat grow misty thereas something a bit shifty about the state of your heart.a
a"The Miami Herald"
aNatural, insightful, and affecting. A-.a
aGet out your handkerchiefs. A perfect summer novel.a
a"The Vancouver Sun"
a"The Last Summer" is as much a treatise on loyalty and letting go of childish ways as it is on a summer of love.a
aAn unputdownable beach book calls for love, deceit, and sex. And "The Last Summer (of You and Me),.".has all those elements.a
aWould do nicely under a beach umbrella.a
a"The New York Times"
aCompelling...steeped in the familiar longings for lost time that readers seeking the carefree pleasure of a summer will enjoy.a
aKim Edwards, "The Washington Post"
aAnn Brasharesas new book will delight all of her "Traveling Pants" fansanow grown-up and ready for this very adult novel of love, loss and the beauty of intense family bonds.a
aAnita Shreve, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Pilotas Wife" and "A Wedding in December"
aFunny, deep and true, this one will keep you reading long after the sun has gone down.a
aAdriana Trigiani, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Big Stone Gap" and "Lucia, Lucia"
?A vivid elegy for youth...Brashares is wise as well as sentimental. She sagely remembers just how it feels to be young, lost, and in love. "The Last Summer (of You and Me)" is a weeper: If you don?t grow misty there's something a bit shifty about the state of your heart.?
?"The Miami Herald"
?Natural, insightful, and affecting. A-.?
?Get out your handkerchiefs. A perfect summer novel.?
?"The Vancouver Sun"
?"The Last Summer" is as much a treatise on loyalty and letting go of childish ways as it is on a summer of love.?
?An unputdownable beach book calls for love, deceit, and sex. And "The Last Summer (of You and Me)."..has all those elements.?
?Would do nicely under a beach umbrella.?
?"The New York Times"
?Compelling...steeped in the familiar longings for lost time that readers seeking the carefree pleasure of a summer will enjoy.?
?Kim Edwards, "The Washing
Top customer reviews
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The language is beautiful. It's hard not to reflect on one's own youth: the melodrama, observing the complications of one's parents lives as they work out their own crises all set against the background of the microcosm of the small world in a seasonal resort with its own unique traditions repeated each summer.
You can almost smell the variations of the sea's scents, feel the ever-changing weather, the sand which finds its way onto your person, between the sheets, in your hair, the never dry bathing suits, the rituals which mark the progression of the summer from Memorial Day on.
This is a novel of personal discovery and growth for the three main characters. It's real and honest. You might recognize your own struggles and the endless questions you asked yourself as you morphed from a pleasure-loving, irresponsible teen into an adult making careful and yet frightening decisions about your future. There is palpable anxiety as you consider the friends you grew up and the work it takes to bring them into your future (or not). How do you hold a moonbeam or a sweet, always fated romance in your hands and heart? How do you handle loss while honoring those vibrant loved ones who would never want you to stop living after they've departed forever?
-This is not a "beach read," it's actually a rather depressing story that leaves you with a bad taste and a need to follow it up with something silly and lighthearted.
-This is not a "coming of age" story either. The three main characters are adults. Somewhat confused adults with mixed feelings about their childhood, but still, adults who already "came of age" before the beginning of the book. Contrary to popular belief, a 25 year old is an adult.
-This is not a romance. It's obvious from the first paragraph who the two friends that start sleeping together are so this isn't really a spoiler, but Paul's behavior toward Alice is rather distasteful. He spends almost the entire book trying to punish her for his attraction in an intentionally mean spirited manner. He exhibits like a million red flags for future abusive behavior.
-A lot of reviewers don't really get why the "health condition" is kept a secret. They must not have ever known anyone with health problems they lied about. I think it's obvious that the character just didn't want to be treated like a sick person.
-I'm not sure about the print book, but the kindle version doesn't have spaces between changes of narrator, and it makes it hard to follow at times.
the ideas that the story is a romantic beach read or a coming of age seems to come from the situation of three childhood friends dividing into a couple (if you can even call them that) and a third wheel who gets "left behind." However poignant and relatable the story may be, and it is, I had a lot of issues with the author's decision to portray the asexual character as someone who is frozen in childhood, incapable of growing up and functioning in the adult world. That's not how asexuality works; it's what having sex people think about asexuals. I'm not sure whether to be happy that a well known author acknowledged that asexual people exist, or sad that she described them as lifelong children for whom abandonment is inevitable when their friends start having sex--I mean--BECOME ADULTS. That's the same thing, right?
Without giving any spoilers, the ending left me feeling sick.
Also, I have to say I was not a fan of the graphic love scenes. It would have been more romantic had the author left out specific details and just let the readers draw our own conclusions. Another thing is that the tragedy aspect of the book seemed to come out of nowhere, although it did help the theme along. Overall it's a decent book about growing up while still trying to preserve the childlike innocence we need more of in this world, but throughout the whole book I found myself getting annoyed with the author's focus on trying to merely say the same thing over and over again in various poetic ways, like she was showing off her own creativity or something. But you won't regret reading it if you like sappy romance novels.
By the way, whatever you do, do NOT read this book in the winter. They're not kidding when they say it belongs under a beach umbrella. I didn't hate it, but I didn't particularly like it either, partially because it made me long for summer during the winter.