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The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

The Last Forever

by Deb Caletti

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This book was magical. There were so many elements to this book that I just loved so much. We have the main character Tess, who has recently lost her mother and she is trying to deal with the grief and guilt of it. One day her father decides he wants to go on a road trip and they leave their lives behind and embark on this journey. But soon she finds herself on this tiny island where her father grew up. Here she meets Henry Lark. And she immediately feels a connection to him. I loved their relationship. Its definitely not your typical Ya romance that you would expect. They connect more on an intellectual level. And of course Henry has his secrets.
All through this they are trying to figure out how to save a plant. Yes a plant, people. It has been in the family for years and recently it has started to die. They embark on this journey on trying to save it. All I can say its the first book thats made me fall in love with a plant.

I really recommend this book. Its one of the best books about grief, loss and recovery Ive ever read. ( )
  miss_booklion | Nov 6, 2016 |
I received this free eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Deb Caletti and I just don't get along. I've read numerous books of hers and I just can't do it. The covers trap me. The synopsis sounds amazing. And then I start to read the book and I. Just. Can't. Get. Through. Them!

This is probably a fantastic book that all readers will love, but I've learned that she is just not meant for me. I will most definitely recommend her to other readers who enjoy similar books, but for my personal preference I cannot keep trying to read her.

I really do appreciate getting this free eARC though, even though it didn't work out for me. ( )
  JeracaFite | Apr 14, 2015 |
I must be in the ‘mother recently died’ phase of my reading. LastForeverFirst it was Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw and now it’s The Last Forever by Deb Caletti. Tessa’s mother died three months earlier of cancer. She and her hippy, pot smoking, old tv show watching father, Thomas, are having a rough time of it. The only tangible thing Tessa has from her mother is a rare plant, a pixiebell, that has been kept alive since her grandfather Leopold stole the seed decades ago. Her mother took it everywhere and so will Tessa. She’s determined to keep it alive.

When her father suggests a road trip to the Grand Canyon a week before school ends, Tessa has no recourse but to go. She packs the pixiebell and its flower pot in an old shoe and cushions it well in a box so it won’t get tossed around on the trip. The road trip takes a few extra turns and Tessa and Thomas end up at his mother, Jenny’s house in Parrish Island, WA.

Her father leaves suddenly saying he needs time alone leaving Tessa with a grandmother she hasn’t seen or heard about since she was a toddler. It is certainly awkward.

It is in the Parrish Island library that Tessa meets Henry Lark, who will become the love of her life. It is also in Parrish Island that the pixiebell starts to droop. Tessa and Henry and a cast of several others vow to save the plant.

What did I like about The Last Forever? So many things. Caletti has developed wonderful characters: Tessa and Thomas, Henry, Jenny, the library staff of Sasha and Larry, Jenny’s art class students. The list goes on. They are colorful and caring. If I had to pick a community in which to live, these would be the people I’d like to live amongst.

Second, the library plays a prominent role in the story. As a librarian, that’s heart warming.

Third, every chapter starts with information about a seed. I love gardening and flowers and seeds. They intrigue me. That’s why I’ve read A Garden of Words by Martha Barnette, Who Named the Daisy by Mary Durant and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales by Marta McDowell. Seeds are fascinating.

FortunesOf IndigoSkyeI learned something from this book. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault does actually exist (you’ll find out how it fits into the story when you read the book). It is located in the permafrost of the mountains of Svalbard, Norway and is dedicated to retaining the diversity of food crops.

And finally, it’s just a fun story. There are twists and turns that keep you reading.HoneyBabySweetheart

I’ve read several of Deb Caletti’s books: The Fortunes of Indigo Skye, The Nature of Jade and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart. I haven’t been disappointed yet. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Dec 3, 2014 |
Enough language in the first 8 pages that I'm not going any further.
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
One of the most wonderful things about The Last Forever is Tessa’s self-awareness. The book may belong in the Young Adult category, but Tessa is not a typical YA heroine. She fully recognizes when she is overreacting or pulling a typical teenage tantrum. She acknowledges her behavior and consciously chooses to continue or to stop depending on the situation. Life is not one big conspiracy against her happiness, as it feels with so many other teenage heroines. She’s been through some horrific experiences and is understandably emotionally fragile as a result, but she knows that things will improve over time. It is a key difference in her attitude that prevents the story from bogging down into the dregs of teenage angst which is the death knell of many a YA story.

Ms. Caletti always creates the most realistic characters, as she does yet again in The Last Forever. The entire cast is not perfect or even close to being so. They each have their own quirks and foibles that make them human and relatable. What makes Ms. Caletti’s characters relatively unique is the fact that they never stay as full caricatures when it would be so easy to make them that way. Even Tessa’s father, who starts out as a stereotypical quirky, irresponsible, and emotionally distant dad gets his act together and takes steps to improve his fractured relationships. No one is so irredeemable that they cannot learn and grow from the mistakes they make, and they all do just that. It adds an air of hope to even the most depressing of situations.

This is not to say that The Last Forever is not without its problems. It is definitely not Ms. Caletti’s strongest novel. For one, the story is a bit too predictable. One instinctively knows where Tessa’s relationship with Henry is heading as well as her quest to protect her mother’s legacy. Then there is the general feeling of repetitiveness to the plot. It is not Ms. Caletti’s fault that there is an influx of novels dealing with grief, specifically the loss of a parent and its impact on the survivors. Unfortunately, there is a trend of this type of story line, and her version of it blends into all of the others. Given Ms. Caletti’s strong performances in both Stay and He’s Gone, both of which were different and surprising, The Last Forever is somewhat disappointing.

Still, Ms. Caletti’s weaker novels are still better than most books written and published these days. Tessa’s journey through the grief process is wonderfully poignant without being overly sentimental, while Tessa is refreshing in her understanding of herself. The Last Forever remains a beautiful ode to love and the meaning of forever.
  jmchshannon | Apr 1, 2014 |
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In those early months, when the beautiful and mysterious Henry Lark and I began to do all that reading, I often skimmed over the name. Svalbard. I'd see all those consonants shoved together and my brain would shut off.
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"After her mother's death, it's all Tessa can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. Even the rare plant her mother entrusted to her care starts to wilt. Then she meets Henry. Though secrets stand between them, each has a chance at healing...if first, Tessa can find the courage to believe in forever"--… (more)

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