I bought Maggie Harcourt’s The Last Summer of Us during my trip to Topping & Company Booksellers in Bath. As it’s a summery story about three best friends on a road trip, it seemed like the perfect choice for me on my own trip across the UK!
I picked The Last Summer of Us to be one of my summer reads – and got stuck in shortly before summer ended. The Last Summer of Us begins sadder than expected: Limpet (an affectionate nickname) is attending her mother’s funeral and feels suffocated by grief, so leaves the rest of her friends and family to meet her two best friends, Steffan and Jared, by the lake. Shortly after, the three teenagers – who are all struggling with family, life and the future in their own ways – spontaneously embark on a journey through the countryside, cramped together in Steffan’s old car.
Limpet, Steffan and Jared were difficult characters to get to know. The Responsible One, The Rich One, The Quiet One. All three are uncomfortable over-sharing, anxious about how they are meant to continue after their last year of school; and find it tough to come to terms with the fact that their parents, the people who they’re supposed to look up to, are far from perfect. But I adored the times when the friends just got to be free, happy, and themselves, and the little moments they shared, from Jared ‘saving’ Limpet from potential axe murderers to Steffan playing the violin, so absorbed that he doesn’t notice his travel buddies approaching.
The Last Summer of Us is a different take on the road trip novel and even though I never felt close to Jared, Steffan and Limpet, all flawed and full of angst, I appreciated the chance to take a trip through the Welsh countryside, surprise ostriches and all!
Published: 1st May 2015