Title: THE LAST THING YOU SAID
Author: Sara Biren
Release date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief.
Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.
Note: This review is based on a finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.
THE LAST THING YOU SAID is a beautifully written, heartachingly sad, and absolutely breathtaking story of friendship, loss, and love. Told from the perspectives of Lucy and Ben, the story takes place over the four months of summer, nearly a year after the death of Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister Trixie. It is a poignant, emotional, and heartrending read that is easily relatable and easy to love, whether or not you’ve experienced the pain of loss.
On the day that Trixie died, Lucy lost more than just her best friend, she lost Ben and the possibility of something more between them. Ben’s guilt at not being able to save his sister has caused him to push Lucy away, leaving them both heartbroken, angry, and alone with their grief.
They managed to avoid each other during the school year, but when summer rolls around they can’t seem to stay out of each other’s way, serving as a constant reminder of Trixie’s absence, of how things used to be, and of what might have been. Their interactions are often filled with silences or angry words, but until they are willing to confront their feelings for one another, they won’t be able to move forward. And unless they are able to find a way through their sorrow, they won’t be able to move on.
Sara Biren’s debut is exquisite and fragile and incredibly affecting. The author perfectly captured the emotions – the anguish and emptiness and anger – that follow the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one. She revealed wonderful and touching memories of a character readers never got to meet, but didn’t make her into a saint. And she gave readers two characters who made mistakes, who were hurting, who were lost, who needed each other, and whose love story was not yet finished.
An impressive and expressive first from Author Sara Biren, THE LAST THING YOU SAID is gorgeous and delicate and without a doubt promises to be a tearful read.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
A note on the printing…
The finished hardcover was printed in purple ink, which enhanced the reading experience, adding to both the beauty and sadness of the story.
About Sara Biren
Sara Biren lives just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their two children. A true Minnesotan, she is a fan of hockey, hotdish, and hanging out at the lake. She enjoys seeing live bands, watching movies with her family, and drinking coffee. Her love of cheese knows no bounds.
Sara is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.