In the town of Waterby on Fire Island, the rhythms and rituals of summer are sacrosanct: the ceremonial arrivals and departures by ferry; yacht club dinners with terrible food and breathtaking views; the virtual decree against shoes; and the generational parade of sandy, sun-bleached kids, running, swimming, squealing, and coming of age on the beach.
Sisters Riley and Alice, now in their twenties, have been returning to their parents modest beach house every summer for their entire lives. Petite, tenacious Riley is a tomboy and a lifeguard, always ready for a midnight swim, a gale-force sail, or a barefoot sprint down the beach. Beautiful Alice is lithe, gentle, a reader and a thinker, and worshipful of her older sister. And every summer growing up, in the big house that overshadowed their humble one, there was Paul, a friend as important to both girls as the place itself, who has now finally returned to the island after three years away. But his return marks a season of tremendous change, and when a simmering attraction, a serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, the three friends are launched into an unfamiliar adult world, a world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.
Review Copy received by Penguin Group Canada.
Ann Brashares is fairly well known in the world of Young Adult for her Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series, I have not read the Sisterhood series however when I saw that The Last Summer (of You & Me) was her first attempt at Adult fiction I was curious. The premise of the story is interesting, and it seemed like a perfect summer read. However, although this book wasn't bad, it was also lacking in a few areas. There were a few things that I found Brashares could have elaborated on, or went a little deeper with.
The Last Summer (of You & Me) was supposed to be a love story between Paul and Alice that spanned years. But that was not the sense that I got from reading this book. The love story was not believable. It felt like something that just happened. For me it wasn't real. I got no sense of the struggle they went through from loving each other for so many years. The relationship between Paul and Alice was also supposed to be conflicted because of Riley-Alice's sister and Paul's best friend- but I didn't get why. Why was their relationship going to be a problem for Riley? Brashares did not do a very good job of showcasing the emotions that her characters were said to be feeling. Even amidst tragedy I couldn't feel the intense sadness that the protagonist was said to be feeling. For me, this was not a good thing.
This book is hard for me to review, because I couldn't connect with the characters or their emotions. I liked the idea of the novel, but I think I was expecting more than what I got.
The Last Summer (of You & Me) was released as a Mass Market Paperback on July 5th, 2011.