Review: ‘The Last Time We Were Us’ by Leah Konen #SRC

The Last Time We Were Us by Lean KonenI love stories that don’t give up all of the inside information immediately. It’s like the difference between those people who have no filter and tell you everything right after you say “nice to meet you,” and the ones who wait to see if you’re worthy before they tell you the important stuff.

Lizzie Grant, who now goes by Liz, is quite shocked to see Jason Sullivan working at the gas station. Isn’t he still supposed to be in juvie? His dad still hasn’t sold the house next door to Lizzie where they lived before Jason got sent away. They can’t even bear to speak his name in their house, even though he and Lizzie had been best friends until middle school. His crime caused Lizzie’s sister, Lyla, to have her heart broken.

That’s all behind her now, as she and MacKenzie are going to have the most epic summer ever. Lizzie can tell that Innis Taylor is so close to asking her to be his girlfriend. He’s a perfect Southern gentleman, one she could never imagine dating until she started hanging out with MacKenzie. But now Jason’s reappearance has thrown a wrench into the works, and Lizzie is both repelled by and drawn to him. He’s never told her what happened that fateful night, and she wants to know he could do that.

This is the perfect example of realistic fiction; something that could be true, but isn’t. I’ll take that a step further and say that it also feels like the character’s emotions are appropriate for the action, that it would be how real people would react. Also, there doesn’t seem to be some huge, dramatic (over-the-top?) climax that we’re heading for. Don’t be fooled, though: this does not in any way mean that nothing happens. Sometimes it’s the silence between the sentences that tells the story.

Love, secrets, gossip, redemption, the social ladder, rumor, lies, propriety, doing what’s right – it’s all here in this novel of a proper town where everyone know everyone’s business…or so they think.

Be sure to also read my review of Ms. Konen’s superb The After Girls.

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen was published May 10, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books. Ink and Page picked this book up from the fabulously stocked Plano library. Yay.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Contemporary Fiction Romance


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