Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: Last Summer by Holly Chamberlin

Last Summer by Holly Chamberlin tells the story of two families who have lived next door to each other for as long as they can remember. They have been there for each other through deaths, divorce, and the ups and downs of life. Their fourteen year old daughters have also grown up together and have become best friends over the years. All that changes during the girls' ninth grade year. 
Under the pressure of seeing her best friend bullied and not wanting to speak up and possibly become a victim, Meg betrays Rosie, who then suffers an emotional breakdown in the latter part of the school year. This book traces the course of events that occur the summer following the girls' freshman year, as they try to forgive and test their friendship once more. 
The story has four different perspectives: Jane (Rosie's mother), Frannie (Meg's mother), Rosie, and Meg; as well as diary entries from Rosie that tell the depth of the bullying she went through, by others and herself. Each perspective gives the reader a chance to get to know each character and identify with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions as the summer wears on. 
I loved this book. Any novel that addresses the issue of bullying hits me hard, and this one was no exception. I identified the most with Rosie's diary entries, as they became more helpless and empty as the year wore on. This may sound a bit too cliche, but the entries were heartbreaking. Reading Meg's perspective gave me insight on her longing to be forgiven by Rosie. I also enjoyed both mothers' points of view, as they not only wanted to help their daughters, but also rekindle their own friendship. 
All in all this book is a must read for the summer. It's a tear-jerker, but definitely worth it. 

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