Review: The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

The Last ForeverThe Last Forever by Deb Caletti

Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Page Count: 336
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: Arc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Endings and beginnings sit so close to each other that it’s sometimes impossible to tell which is which.

Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all she can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s so hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home.

Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town at Tessa’s grandmother’s. Despite all the warmth and beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost.

Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more importantly, he understands her. A secret stands between them, but Tessa’s willing to do anything to bring them together—because Henry may just be her one chance at forever.

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The Last Forever is filled with terrific writing that will tug at your heartstrings. It's an emotional story about love, loss, family, and learning to deal with changes.

The Last Forever is a bit different in that most of the plot revolves around a 'possibly only one in existence' Pixiebell plant that Tessa is desperate to keep alive. She places great importance on this plant because it belonged to her mother, and it is Tessa's last connection to her. Pixiebell plays an important role in this story because of what it represents, and each chapter opens with a short explanation about different types of seeds, which in turn symbolizes different aspects of the story.

After Tessa's mother dies, her father sort of checks out. He spends his time smoking pot and trying to deal with things by hiding from them. He decides that a spur of the moment road trip is in order, but when he has another moment of weakness, he drops Tessa on his mother's doorstep and runs away so he can learn how to deal with his wife's death. I didn't like that he went off to deal with his own shit, and left Tessa to deal with her problems by herself. That was very self centered and selfish. But it ends up being good for Tessa because she finally is able to get to know her estranged grandmother. As we watch Tess come to terms with everything that has happened in her life, we also see her open up to love.

Tessa loves to read and finds comfort in books, so she naturally winds up at the local library where she runs into and befriends the young employees. Tessa takes an immediate shine to Henry Lark, boy extraordinaire and kindred spirit who reads even more than she does and goes out of his way to be nice to her. Henry and his friends are very outgoing, and immediately set out to help Tessa find more information on her sickly plant. The author created a fantastic cast of (mostly) likable characters. I loved the small town setting, and how the residents all knew each other and welcomed Tessa with open arms. I loved, loved, loved how they all came together to help Tessa preserve her plant's seeds for the future (which made for an awesome ending!)

Henry was wonderful, but deep down I had a niggling thought that he was too good to be true. I loved how caring and thoughtful Henry was, and I adored every scene that he and Tessa shared. They really had a strong connection, and even though the relationship didn't go as I expected, I think things were as they were supposed to be.

I know books about teenage girls with dead mothers has been overdone in YA, but I still found this an interesting and entertaining read. It's a touching story about a teenage girl growing up and trying to figure out who she is. You may need tissues for this one, although I felt there was enough humor to balance out the heavier stuff.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
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  1. Well,it is Deb Caletti after all
    I have heard a lot about her, and your reference to the relationship as not going as you expected definitely has me intrigued about the ending
    GREAT review
    Your reader

    1. I like to classify her books as 'nice'. She has a way of balancing out the heavy with the light. This one is also pretty clean. I hope you get the chance to read it soon.

  2. I like Deb's writing so I am curious about this book. And I do have it on my shelf so I should get to reading it. Good review.

    1. It's definitely similar in style to her other books that I have read. As long as you enjoy a good contemporary, you should enjoy this one. Hopefully you get the chance to read it soon.


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