Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Amulet Books
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 turned out to be one of those books that I devoured in one sitting, as I needed to see how it would turn out for these characters. I foolishly started it just before bed, thinking I could read a couple of chapters and then put it down for the night, with the plan to return to it the next day. That did not happen, instead I ended up reading it in one go, staying up till the early am and paying for it dearly the next day at work. It was totally worth it though, there was just something about the story and the characters that made me unable to leave them until I knew how it all worked out for them.
Lucy and Trixie have been best friends for almost their entire lives, an inseparable pair, you wouldn't see one without the other. Lucy also just happens to be in love with Trixie's brother Ben, and she suspects that he might feel the same way. Just as it is seems that everything might work out for them, Trixie's heart gives out due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Ben hasn't really spoken to Lucy since, Lucy is struggling without Ben to lean or and without her best friend by her side. The anniversary of Trixie's death is looming closer, and Lucy and Ben keep finding themselves thrust together. The summer seems to be offering them a chance to heal and find their way back into each other's lives.
Recently I have read a ton of contemporary reads that deal with grief and I have enjoyed them all. What I particularly liked about this book was how it explore the uglier side to grief, how it can change us and turn us into people even we don't recognise. Every person copes with loss differently, some allow their own guilt and sadness to turn into anger that they aim at those who don't deserve it. It is horrible, it is also true to life and just how some people learn to cope. That is how Ben coped, by assigning blame to Lucy that she didn't deserve. It was hard to read and I will admit that sometimes I wanted to reach into the book and shake his character.
Sometimes I had to question myself and why I was so eager for these two to find their way back together. Ben could be a truly awful person and he was completely in the wrong, but I still felt for him. I am there, thinking he is a total asshole, whilst also really wanting it to work out for him and Lucy. Damn you, Sara Biren, you are good!
This was such a quick read for me as I couldn't leave it until I was done. It's a very enjoyable read and a great contemporary. It wasn't without its problems, mostly it had the over the top drama that usually bugs me in a book. I might have also totally hated the relationship that developed between Lucy and the renter next door, he came off far too creepy and clingy and I wish that was addressed more. This book just really worked for me though, it was such a great exploration of grief and how it can tear people apart but also bring them back together.