Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Last Summer
(of You and Me)

by Ann Brashares

      Promotional materials speak of this book as the first adult novel from Brashares, but in reality, it is more a coming of age tale, complete with the angst of first love, family dysfunctionality and sexual discovery. The story revolves around two sisters and the boy next door. Taking place mostly in their summer haven of Long Island's Fire Island, there isn't really a lot of depth to the characters, and they often act like silly teenagers, rather than maturing adults. As the story unfolds, the older sister (Riley) and the boy next door (Paul) are 24, and the younger sister (Alice) is 21.

In love with Paul since her early teens, Alice decides that this is the summer to make or break the strands of connection she has felt for so long. The book lacks the magic touch of the Sisterhood/Traveling Pants series, and the attempt to take on the sexual awakening of two of these two characters seems awkward and forced. Brashares has a way with words, there is certainly no doubt of that, and that is one of the few strong points of the story; the way the language weaves the characters to the plot. It can surely be understood that Brashares has a desire to move beyond the four girls she created in her famous series, but this book struggles to speak to an adult audience without ever really succeeding. The sub-plots of Riley's health and the dysfunction of both families' parents plump out the narrative but don't give a true sense of fullness or completion.

The book will undoubtedly be more popular with fans of her earlier work, yet the best the casual reader can hope for is that this is a sign of better works to come from Brashares in the future.

The Book

Riverhead Books, published by the Penguin Group
June, 2007
Fiction; "Chick Lit"
More at
NOTE: NOT part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by the same author

The Reviewer

Laura Strathman Hulka
Reviewed 2007
© 2006