Parents' Guide to

The Last Forever

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Heartfelt, realistic depiction of teen going through a loss.

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In The Last Forever, author Deb Caletti spins a sweet, compelling tale with a wonderful message: that extraordinary things only become so because of the importance we place on them. The book realistically portrays the way teens deal with loss and the ways in which grief can get mixed up in the other emotional ups and downs of being a teenager. Once Tess and her dad arrive at the Puget Sound island where Tess's dad grew up, the story begins to take shape and to get more interesting. Tess meets many new, intriguing people, including the paternal grandmother she's never known. The small town is populated with eccentric adults and teens, but Tess' relationship with Henry, the boy she falls in love with, isn't well drawn and is too one-dimensional. This is a shame, because Henry's character has a lot of potential and doesn't get a chance to shine.

Tess is funny, sarcastic, and self-deprecating. She's never funnier than when she's playing out the film version of a scenario in her head and then has to face the less-than-ideal reality of the situation. She finds it hard to open up emotionally because she knows she'll completely fall apart when she does. This is a heartfelt, realistic depiction of someone going through a loss. Her father and grandmother are excellently written characters. Caletti has written a fun and sweet read, with a few laugh-out-loud and tear-inducing moments.

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