Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review: The Last Thing You Said - Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said 
Sara Biren
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Amulet Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #ContRom2017, #NGEW2017, #DebutAuthorChallenge

The last thing she said --
It's a good day to have a good day." She leans in close to me and whispers, "BRB, Lucy. Promise me."
I knew this books would elicit tears, when a few escaped as I read the author's introductory note.

This is a sad story of what happens when a life is cut short. It's about those who are left behind, and how they are supposed to survive without that person. I lost several friends too soon, and therefore was able to relate to this story. Biren deftly portrayed people in the throes of grief. The primary focus of the story was Ben and Lucy, but she also included Trixie's parents and other family members. I appreciated that Biren did this, because she showed that grief, and how one deals with this grief, is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Her life was short, but she did - she lived it.
This story really hit home for me on so many levels, as I lost several friends way too soon. It made me reflect on how I dealt with those losses. The coincidence that I finished reading this story on THIS day, which is always a little sad for me as I remember my good friend who I lost in a plane crash, was uncanny. It was many years ago, but I still hold a little piece of him in my heart and a little bit of the pain is still there too. So, yeah, I could relate to this story, and found that the pain and ache permeated this story was so real.
"Tell me a Trixie." I smile. This has become one of our favorite activities, a way I can keep Trixie alive.
The parts where memories of Trixie were shared were among my favorite parts of this book. I swear! Every one of them brought a smile to my face, and made my eyes shiny. These vignettes were so beautifully crafted, and radiated with love for their cherished friend and sister. They were just perfect. The picture of Trixie painted for us, was one of a girl who loved recklessly and lived her life out loud. She brought joy to those who she loved and who loved her back, but she had flaws, and I liked that Biren included those too.
Be really brave. BRB - our code.
The broken relationship between Ben and Lucy was so painful! There were times when I thought my heart just could not take any more. These two were so deep in their hole of anguish, that they were missing out on their best means for survival. It is here that I will thank Biren for giving both Ben and Lucy such wonderful support systems in the form of Guthrie and Hannah. Guthrie was this fabulous strong but silent type, who has this zen-mystical quality. And Hannah! Hannah was loud and showy and sometimes crass, but she was thoughtful, understanding, persistent when necessary, and perceptive. She knew exactly what Lucy needed and when. It was really touching the way she shared in Lucy's pain and wanted to help her remember Trixie, even though she never met her. #FriendshipGoals.

I really loved the way Biren worked the inuksuit into the story. The whole purpose of the inuksuit as a form of communication to say you were here or to tell someone they are on the right path. Ben used these structures as a way to find his way back: back to Lucy and back to himself. It was very poetic and beautiful.
I stack the rocks and they fall and I stack them again until I find balance.

Ben was so careful and methodical about it, so intent on achieving balance where there should be none.
And the ending image featuring the inuksuit just made my heart leap with joy.

Overall: A lovely and poignant story of love and loss which hit me right in the feels, and is leaving me wanting more from Sara Biren.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book

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  1. Great review Sam! I'm reading/reviewing this in about a week or so but although it sounds depressive (what is it with YA these days), it also sounds like I'm going to enjoy. :)

    1. It was a little sad, I mean, the girl died, and it was really tragic. But the joy was when they were remembering her, the awesome support system they each had, and the journey back to each other. I hope you enjoy it!