Monday, September 6, 2010

Freshly-Brewed Monday Book Recommendation

I didn't plan this. I really did just finish  The Last Best Days of Summer. It's been in a pile since I bought it in May, but I got side-tracked by Suzanne Collins maniaville, (go Katniss!) and a bunch of other books in the heap. Cut to September, now my boys start school in a few days, the season is winding to a close and I find myself writing about a wonderful book called The Last Best Days of Summer. Finishing this sweet hopeful book and knowing the last week of a glorious summer is slipping out of reach seems meant to be. Finishing a near-perfect book and a near-perfect summer is always bittersweet.

Twelve-year-old Lucy thinks August is the most perfect time of the year. August is when she spends time with Grams at the lake house. Grams is the person Lucy feels most known by. The person who makes her feel safe and centered. That is, until this summer. Grams is a different person this summer and it couldn't be happening at a more confusing time. Lucy's best friend sends her off with a stack of teen magazines, hoping Lucy will study up on how to increase their popularity and Lucy eagerly leaves behind Eddie, a friend with Down's Syndrome who she enjoys but only will admit it deep down inside. How can Grams be losing it when Lucy desperately needs her so much.

I love Valerie Hobbs' simple straightforward writing. She lured me in with Defiance (Imagine bringing together an eleven year old boy with cancer, a spunky old neighbor lady and a cow named Blossom. Are you hooked yet?) I have been eagerly awaiting this one and it did not disappoint. Once again she brings together characters who are so different from one another and manages to create this amazing harmony. Stuff that really does happen in life, but often feels artificial in print. With Hobbs it feels anything but artificial. My heart went out to sweet Lucy, grappling with the indescribable pain of losing her childhood, coupled with her beloved Grams, losing her memory, drifting away from Lucy when she needed her most. And innocent Eddie, who was so very unaware of the difficulties around him, but who added so much to the story and to Lucy's growth throughout the book.

This book has that "girlfriend" quality I remember longing for and looking for in books as a young reader. A book that provided a friend hidden in the pages. Someone who could articulate her frustration like I often could not, someone who's life felt a little out of control but she was muddling through anyway. This book will touch many girls' hearts. I know I will recommending it and giving it to many!


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