Filled with mystery and drama, The Last Time I Saw Her by Alexandra Harrington is this summer’s young adult novel to read.
A year after leaving town without warning, Charlotte Romer returns home to River John, Nova Scotia. She left behind her only remaining family member, her brother Sean, who struggles to keep the lights on and food in the fridge, but remains a staunchly protective older brother. She also left behind her best friend Sophie, who was recovering from a life-changing accident and felt abandoned when Charlotte disappeared.
When Charlotte shows up unannounced to Sophie’s eighteenth birthday party one summer evening, tensions are high. It isn’t the homecoming that Charlotte had hoped for. As the days roll on, it becomes clear that something happened the night of the accident, and Charlotte is determined to find out what it is. But the more she searches for answers, the more the questions arise.
Family and friends are pitted against one another in this tale of broken relationships and unpredictable secrets.
The first half of the book was slow-moving—like a leisurely River John summer—but the second half picks up the pace as Charlotte rapidly connects the dots of the different mysteries enveloping her. There is an almost dizzying number of subplots pulling Charlotte in different directions, which require varying background information and draws out the start of the main plot. In the end, however, they all come together in a spiderweb of connected mysteries.
Our protagonist, Charlotte, is funny and relatable. It was easy to become immersed in the story through her eyes, to feel her grief and hurt, her joy and gentle happiness. I appreciated her wit, quick thinking, and commitment to the truth.
The slow-burn romance that develops with a childhood friend of Charlotte’s is also very well done and had me rooting for the pair the whole way. There are some brief but explicit scenes, so keep that in mind if you’re a younger reader.
Harrington’s writing is captivating, with lyrical descriptions and natural dialogue. She’s a welcome new voice in YA fiction and I’m looking forward to reading what she writes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Harrington is a writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she has worked as a restaurant manager, fiction editor, and waitress. She has a degree in journalism from the University of King’s College in Halifax. The Last Time I Saw Her is her first novel.
- Publisher : Nimbus Publishing Limited (June 3 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1771089369
- ISBN-13 : 978-1771089364
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