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The Last True Love Story

Review

The Last True Love Story

THE LAST TRUE LOVE STORY by Brendan Kiely is a journey, but not just physically. It’s an exploration into music, belonging, history, generations and family --- everything that you could want in a book. It’s almost like picking up an old vintage photograph, but then putting it into a modern frame. This story is set in contemporary times, but the memories and stories central to the plot give it a distinctly vintage tone.

"Any reader will find that this story definitively checks off all the elements of a classic, vintage, 'good ol' adventure,' full of music, laughter and the occasional disaster, but nevertheless, plenty of fun."

The book follows the story of Hendrix, a 17-year-old boy caring for his Grandfather, or “Gpa," his father figure, who is starting to lose his memories from Alzheimer’s. His Gpa is desperate not to lose the memories of his wife, and Hendrix wants to give his Grandfather one last memory --- the chance to revisit his hometown in New York and relive all his old memories, one last time. Once he gets to know Corrina, a girl frustrated with her life in California, he decides to combine two trips into one (and, of course, impress the girl he likes) --- and take Corrina, Gpa and the family dog on a journey across America. As they cross through state after state, Hendrix and Corrina begin to discover why they’re running --- and start to wonder if their trip will solve all their problems.

One of the first things that will impress readers in this story is the utterly honest portrayal of Alzheimer’s. Hendrix’s grandfather has his good days and his bad ones, but his disease isn’t made “convenient” for the story --- often he will have struggles with his memory at all the wrong times, making the book feel all the more realistic. Poetry and music play important parts in the lives of all the main characters, and anyone who has ever been interested in either will connect with the deep meaning that both hold for the characters.

More than all this, though, is the struggle that most teens can connect with --- the panic of searching for belonging, and the desire to shape your life into something that changes both you and the world. Besides the plot, the physical setting of the novel is also interesting, as the author creates such a vivid description of all the places the main characters visit that it is almost like a journey within the novel. While the ending to the story is very “open-ended”, it definitely closes on a hopeful and satisfying note. This book is a quick read, but the struggles of the characters definitely make it feel “heavier," and while there are moments of lightness, readers may be surprised at the amount of depth and occasional sadness in the story. However, any reader will find that this story definitively checks off all the elements of a classic, vintage, "good ol' adventure," full of music, laughter and the occasional disaster, but nevertheless, plenty of fun.

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on October 13, 2016

The Last True Love Story
by Brendan Kiely

  • Publication Date: September 5, 2017
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • ISBN-10: 1481429892
  • ISBN-13: 9781481429894