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The Last Best Story

Review

The Last Best Story

Rose and Grant have been best friends since the start of high school and have worked side by side on their high school newspaper, the Gazette. In Maggie Lehrman’s THE LAST BEST STORY, the two are now at their senior year prom and Rose and Grant are no longer communicating. For some inexplicable reason, Rose quit the Gazette two months prior and left behind Grant, the editor-in-chief, and their future together as star journalists in college.

Now, Rose is at prom with a new guy, trying to forget about her old life and have a normal few months before college. Grant, being completely blindsided when Rose abandoned the Gazette and their friendship, is determined to win her back as a reporter, friend and maybe something more. Meanwhile, at the prom, a security alarm is set off and the high school goes on a lockdown due to someone being loose inside the building with a gun. Forgetting their past, Rose and Grant team up for one last story for the Gazette that could save their friendship and the safety of their classmates.

"Lehrman crafted the characters beautifully, providing just the right amount of detail to understand them, but also kept the mystery palpable."

At first, Lehrman’s novel appeared to be a quintessential fun summer beach read. However, there is much depth to the novel, the storyline revolves around a potential school shooting and the character’s responses to that all within a few hours. Lehrman’s depictions of the situation were raw and realistic which I appreciated, as some YA novels seem to tackle serious pressing issues in a more superficial way. Also, the novel briefly discusses how race and sexuality impact the events at hand for Rose and Grant’s friends. Indeed, her writing was flawless; the reader could truly envision themselves in the character’s shoes and felt attached to the decisions they were making.

Even though the plot took place within a few hours, there were numerous flashbacks woven in throughout the novel so the reader could truly grasp the meaningful friendship of Grant and Rose and other anecdotes that provide a glimpse into their background. In addition, the two character’s perspectives alternated, which I found interesting as the reader could fully understand both of their thoughts and feelings as they reflected upon the situation. Lehrman crafted the characters beautifully, providing just the right amount of detail to understand them, but also kept the mystery palpable.

Just like Rose and Grant learned by the conclusion of the novel, readers can take away the message that appearances are deceiving. Indeed, as they place all of the pieces together, we learn that it is easy to jump to wrong conclusions without accurate facts. In a setting of high school, where gossip thrives, the characters are led down an incorrect slippery slope punctuated with preconceived notions. Due to the mysterious element of the novel, I was unable to put it down. I finished the book in one sitting, trying to decode all of the evidence and figure out who the shooter was, what motivated them to do it and if the information at hand was truly accurate. Personally, I was surprised with the end results and was in awe of the tactics Lehrman used to keep the reader engaged and guessing.

Reviewed by Ryan H., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2018

The Last Best Story
by Maggie Lehrman