I’m on a roll where YA Fiction is concerned, so let’s bring on the next book that had me glued to my seat.
Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book group
Year Published: 2009
Stand alone or series: Stand alone novel
Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects her father’s attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return to New York before the summer’s end. But soon Ronnie meets Will, the last person she thought she’d ever be attracted to, and finds herself falling for him, opening herself up to the greatest happiness – and pain – that she has ever known. In the tradition of his beloved novel A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks brings us a deeply moving story of a young girl’s first encounter with heartbreak – and love.
In my books … Now, I probably wouldn’t have stumbled onto Nicholas Sparks if I hadn’t been searching for a male writer of the romance genre. I use the term romance loosely here, because Mr Sparks is more than that. He’s a great writer who happens to write emotionally uplifting stories of love – parent-child love, first love, second chance at love, young love – and does it extremely well. The Last Song is no exception, and it’s interesting o note that he finished the screenplay for the movie starring Miley Cyrus first before completing the book. I’m happy to report that I liked both the book and movie versions. This book is not just a coming-of-age story cum young/ first love, but also a heart-achingly sweet tale of redemption, forgiveness as well as finding and staying true to yourself and your heart. As usual, Sparks uses the narrative format powerfully to drive home timeless lessons of love and forgiveness, delivered with some humour and an insightful understanding of young hearts.
If you loved A Walk to Remember, you won’t go wrong with this one. Other than one of the characters dying of cancer, the similarity ends there. For one, the protagonists display some maturity of character even if they did get into trouble, and eventually gain wisdom through their rite of passage. For another, it’s set in a lovely small beach town, which suits the setting of a tight knit community angle perfectly. Was it any wonder, then, the book captured my imagination and wrung quite a bit of happy and sad tears out of me? Be forewarned, and arm yourself with a pack of tissues when you pick up this book.
Favourite Quotes/Parts: There were some really good and meaningful ones from Ronnie’s dad, Steve Miller, some he shared with Ronnie towards the last days of his life, and some in his letters to her, like this particular one:
“Love is fragile. And we’re not always its best caretakers. We just muddle through and do the best we can. And hope this fragile thing survives against all odds.” “Sometimes you have to be apart from the people you love, but that doesn’t make you love them any less. Sometimes it makes you love them more. “
IMB Rating: 4.0, liked it