Book Club: The Last Days of Us

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Author: Beck Nicholas
ISBN: 9781489220493
RRP: $19.99
Publisher: Harlequin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Last Days of Us is a book I have been eagerly awaiting for ages, it’s even been on my shelf for a long time but I had to wait. Now that I’m on holidays I decided that I can pick what I want, I had to bring them all with me…. though I did get what I could on NetGalley so that they weren’t all print.

There is a companion novella called The Music of Us which I downloaded a while back but held off until I could read them together. This little snapshot is only loosely linked but an enjoyable enough read, a light escape while we were out roadtripping.

Speaking of road-tripping that’s exactly what The Last Days of Us is; it’s a road-tripping coming of age story about 5 Australian teens traveling the Great Ocean Rd to Melbourne for a concert. We learn a little about the scenery but I couldn’t quite get past the fact that it took days to get from Adelaide to Melbourne when I know it could easily be achieved in a day. I understand that taking your time and seeing the country is an adventure but I guess the fact that my cross country trips involve an SUV and a family means that the priorities change a little and I just want to get to the destination.

Nicholas has written a story that is totally character driven, the dragged out road trip is a wonderful vehicle to take the reader from start to finish but it is the characters who will keep you glued.

Zoey is a wreck, she lost her older brother and went completely off the rails; ruining friendships, splitting up with her boyfriend and making some terrible decisions. She has decided it’s time to get her life back on track and the catalyst in her mind for finding the girl she was before losing her brother is getting her ex back. Unfortunately for Zoey her ex is now dating her best friend.

There is a big part of me that understood where Zoey was at but I just couldn’t come to terms with her behaviour. She irritated me because for all her talk about making things better and getting her life back on track she plans to destroy her best friend to get it.

It took quite a lot of time to discover what it was Zoey did to break Finn’s heart but it all unfolded the way it  probably should. It was relatable, it was believable and it rang true for me… but Zoey’s behaviour still irritated me no end.

Joining Zoey on the road trip is her ex, Finn, and her best friend Cass, both who claim to care about her and promise the trip won’t be awkward. These are two more characters who irritated me. They were not very good friends to Zoey, and even though she had made some bad decisions these were the closest people to her, they really needed to cut her some slack.

Luc and Jolie round out the fivesome and they are cousins of Finn. Luc is the grumpy, over-protective older brother to 16 yr old Jolie who is eternally bright and optimistic. These two seem to be polar opposites but it doesn’t take long to realise that there’s more to these two than meets the eye. Zoey sees the glint of a completely different guy shining from behind the gruff exterior and the two really seem to understand each other.

The Last Days of Us is an end of summer road trip story that sees a change of perspective and a coming of age. It is a story that I really enjoyed with characters I could relate to, even when their actions seemed reprehensible. The bonds of friendship once fractured are quite fragile, the best of friends find themselves battling bitterness and a sense of not knowing one another anymore.

The long road back from the depths of grief can be a slippery slope and it can be difficult to try and work out what will be that magic cure to bring things back to an even keel, because we all know that things will never be the same. Sometimes it seems that getting as much as possible back to the way it was will work but people aren’t the same after suffering so there is no way to go back, you have to find a way to move forward.

The Last Days of Us is an engaging road-tripping tale that is just perfect for the long summer days we are currently blessed with and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a character driven YA novel with messed up leads trying to find their way.

Beck Nicholas can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

The Last Days of Us is available now through HQ Young Adult and from Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Young Adult 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading and reviewing the Last Days of Us so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.



21 thoughts on “Book Club: The Last Days of Us

  1. I actually flew through this book in a few hours, easy to read, and for me a really good exploration of the many facets of grief along with different ways people deal with loss. The impact of bereavement on parents, siblings, friends, children, partners, in laws and acquaintances is devastating and each person will respond or behave differently. I feel this book has conveyed this beautifully and within the context of the story I can understand that all the different behaviours exhibited by the characters are believable.

  2. I found this book very easy to read, engaging, and irritating at times – possibly because I am in my 40s and have forgotten what it is like to be a young teen and working through various life and growing-up issues that are quite emotional and traumatic. Very obviously a YA book (coming-of-age?).

    Not that I am an expert on that genre but think this is a very good book for that category.

  3. 16 year old Zoey who lost her brother Dan 6 months ago in a car accident has been on a destructive course. She has pushed away her best friend Cass and lost her boyfriend Finn. Cass and Finn are now an item and Zoey is trying her best to get her life back to some sort of normality and she wants Finn back.

    She is going on a road trip with Finn, Cass and Finn’s cousins Luc and Jolie to Melbourne to see their favourite music artist Gray. The Kombi is packed and the group are off on an adventure. There are light and dark moments but there is a sense of freedom in the adventure that they are all on. Zoey seems to come into her own while on the trip.

    There are secrets, broken friendships, romance, regrets and a future to look forward to.

    The Last Days of Us is a coming of age story that is a young adult fiction book. I don’t usually read this type of book but it was surprisingly a good read. It was engaging and I felt I was that young girl on her last school holiday and who doesn’t love a good road trip!

  4. As always thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for providing me with this book.

    The last days of us is a young adult book, telling the story of 5 young ones on a road trip to a concert for a loved musician. The story follows main character Zoey, ex boyfriend Finn, best friend and new girlfriend of Finn, Cass and siblings (Finns cousins) Luc and Jolie.

    Zoey has recently experienced the loss of her older brother, and has been going through a lot of issues afterwards in typical grief, unsure of what to do with herself she has made some wrong decisions.
    Through this book though she realises that getting her old life back isn’t what she really wants or needs.

    Early on in this book I picked up that Jolie wasn’t well, so I wasnt surprised to see what appeared later on in the book. I’d have to say Jolie was my favourite character of this book, bubbly, happy, living for the moment.

    I’m not usually a reader of YA books and reading this book I understood why.
    Although a very easy and quick read (you could easily read this book in a few hours), it lacked the suspense and drama of my usual reads. Everything that happened was predictable and safe.

    The last days of us was a great, easy reading book and perfect for those who want a quick book to read and one where you don’t need to think.
    For me personally, I found it a tad boring and was happy when I had finished it. This has nothing to do with the writing- it is well written- but more personal preference.

    I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

  5. A story about coming of age, its tribulations, melodramatic at times but delivered in its Ya term. Quiet a slow delivery to start with, however along the way we get to see their road trip and stops. Some things were repeated, and I found that it was to dramatic at times.

    The authors writing was good, just the delivery I found a little lacking. The emotional side of things did pack the punch.

    The premise about the road trip was a good underlying story line but a few things irked me within it, the vengeance to destroy others along the way. Overall, the book didnt keep me as engaged as I had hoped. THis book lacked luster , and found it hard to stay engaged .

    I do enjoy the Ya genre this was a quick read, delivering grief, romance, Friendships just found for me It needed more depth – suspense , something to keep the reader intrigued and less drama 😀

  6. A really easy read that flowed consistently through out! I surprisingly read it in one afternoon on a day that soared over 40 degrees! Needless to say I didnt venture far from the pool!

    I thought this was a teenagers book but Beck delved into some serious issues and brought a tear to my eye on a few occasions. I will be sending to my 19 year old daughter to read as well.

    I realised early on Jolie wasn’t well but thought maybe diabetes or some such disease . Beck certainly gas a talent for that style of writing and I enjoyed reading thru Zoeys eyes and think it would relate to a wide variety of readers.

  7. I thought The Last Days Of Us was such an emotional and enjoyable story.
    Six months ago, teenager Zoey sadly lost her older brother Dan in tragic circumstances, and her life changed forever.
    Unsure how to handle her grief, she partied hard, and pushed away her best friend, Cass, and her (now ex) boyfriend Finn. She chose to shut out her parents too.
    But one day, after an incident that leaves her shaken, she comes to the realisation that she needs to try and get the pieces of her life back together, including Finn.
    Only now, Finn is dating Cass.
    When Zoey is invited along to experience a road trip with Cass, Finn, and Finn’s cousins- siblings Luc and Jolie, she opts to go along.
    The trip sees them travelling from Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road in a Kombi, as they head towards their final destination in Melbourne to see their favouite musician, Gray, perform live in concert.
    I felt for Zoey as she made quite a few bad choices that she knew were wrong and paid for them by losing the support and care of Cass and Finn.
    I think that Cass in particular could have handled the situation better, having been friends with Zoey from quite a young age.
    My favourite character was Jolie, as she was such a bright and bubbly-natured young woman, with equal amounts of maturity and innocence thrown in.
    I would gladly recommend The Last Days Of Us to young adult readers that enjoy reading coming-of-age novels with a cast of teen characters.
    Thanks to Harlequin and Beauty And Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read and review!

  8. The Last Days of Us by Beck Nicholas is a Young Adult book with a message that not everything is as it seems nor to take life for granted.
    Five teenagers leave Adelaide in a derelict kombi on a road trip to Melbourne to see their favourite musician, Gray, perform live. With the end of summer approaching Zoey, who six months ago lost her brother in a tragic car accident and partied her way to oblivion, estranging her best friend, Cass and pushing away her now ex, Finn. After Zoey’s behaviour reaches dangerous heights she realises she needs to pull herself together and get her old life back, including her ex-boyfriend. Only problem is Finn is now dating Cass.
    Zoey agrees to go on the road trip with Finn and Cass on the last week of the holidays, they are joined by Finn’s cousins, attractive bad boy Luc and his younger sister Jolie. Zoey sees the trip as a chance to win back Finn and make things right with Cass but not everything goes according to plan when Zoey finds herself attracted to Luc and wondering what she ever saw in Finn.
    As the five see some of the wonders that Australia has to offer on their trip – all motivated and planned by Jolie – we go deeper into the lives of the each character and piece together their thoughts and feelings.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to people with Young Adult readers in their care. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to read this novel.

  9. Thank you Beauty and Lace for allowing me to review this book.

    This book was an emotional roller coaster which looks at love, loss and grief. It was a great book which looks at young adults and the challenges they face. It allowed me to put myself in a teenager’s shoes and see what it really is like these days growing up in a modern world.
    Things like love and loss don’t really change no matter what your age is, but it makes our stop and think that teenagers have the same emotions just like adults.
    The story line was well thought of.
    Congrats Beck Nicholas on a great novel. Looking forward to reading your other title.

  10. last days of us. beck nicholas. Okay this is a reader I have not heard of before, but I have just finished reading this book, and found it very engrossing. It is really the story of a girl in and out of love… that is what she thinks anyway, and wanting to get back with her first love, thru an accidental touch of death, disturbs the surface of her love. I found that this book related literally a lot to when I was growiing up, in the teen years, and also imagined I was in love with a fella… that of course did not work out for me, and I will leave the readers to read the story to find out what the results of this book are. I have put it in my bookshelf and in a few months time, will go back and read it again, and perhaps enlighten myself about how teens go thru a little of love life. good reading, and thank you Michelle for sending it to me.

  11. Zoey’s life has gone totally off the rails since the death of her brother. Her pain is all consuming and she shuts everyone out of her life. Zoey’s boyfriend, Fin, finds solace in the arms of her best friend Cass.

    When she is invited on a road trip with Cass, Fin and his two cousins to see their favourite musician, Gray, Zoey sees this as the opportunity to get her life on track and get back the happiness she once knew….with Fin.

    The Last Days of Us is a heartfelt coming of age story of friendship, finding yourself and living in the moment. Zoey is the main focus, as she is the narrator, but every character had their own story and all were paramount to the plot.

    Zoey’s main focus on the road trip is to get her boyfriend back but as the trip progresses and she becomes friends with Fin’s cousin Jolie she learns to see the beauty in small things, to live life in the moment and find joy in every new experience.

    Zoey’s trip to awakening is heartfelt and filled with moments of despair. She does come to the realization that it’s not all about her, other people have pain, sorrow and loss too. I think she comes out of it a better person.

    Warning: tissues required.

  12. Initially I thought this book was a typical teenagers read and prepared myself to be bored, but I was surprised! It turned out to be so much more and describes grief and the stages of losing a loved one very well. It was well written and had me turning the pages and not able to put it down!
    I wouldn’t suggest it for someone dealing with raw similar emotions but I enjoyed it.

  13. The Last Days of Us.. not the usual book I would read but the title and the synopsis had my interest as I have made this same road trip.

    This is very much a novel for young adults and carries some really good messages about how others judge and make value judgments of our character based on what we do…… or in this case what Zoey has done so far in her young life. A loss in her past has led to Zoe making some bad decisions and while she is now trying to fix the “Sins of her past” and recreate her future with her ex-boyfriend ….she is learning it is not always easy to shrug off what has happened .. even with your best friends.

    This book provides a good insight to demonstrate that even when you have friends you need to be kind to yourself as others may not always be nice to you. What seems like an easy going road trip with friends to see a band will be a trial in itself for Zoey and her friends. Her ex-boyfriend and best friend who is now her ex’s girlfriend and his cousins seems a little tipped against the balance to appear fair on the face of it but Jolie the youngest cousin proves to be quite the ice breaker and provides a light hearted aspect to this pressure cooker of a trip. The trip is not without issues and situations typical of this age group and does provide a good description of the surroundings and what and how each character was feeling.

    It is not a difficult read and provides a realistic view of what issues face this age group. I would recommend this book to young adults as it does cover quite a lot of aspects of how we are actually perceived by others through our actions .. which I think is important to remember at any age but especially at younger ages. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for sending this book to me to review.

  14. Great young adult book, thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I gave it to my 15 year old to read before I did & she read it in one day. She kept asking me if I had finished it yet so she could talk to me about.

    Shows how grief is dealt in different ways by different people. It is agood example of how difficult teenagers can find life at times & things begin to spiral out of control around them.

    looking forward to reading other novels by Beck Nicolas, thank you

  15. Thank you Harlequin and Beauty and lace for the chance to read this novel.

    This is not something I would have picked up of the shelves, but after reading it, it is definitely one to recommend!

    A easy read but very well written touching on many emotions.

    Very much enjoyed reading this one.

  16. The Last Days of Us is a YA book that follows 5 teenagers as they road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne via The Great Ocean Road to see a concert. The story is about Zoey, her ex Finn, her best friend Cass (who is now dating Finn) and Finn’s cousins Luc and Jolie. Zoey unfortunately lost her older brother and that has thrown her life into chaos causing her to ruin friendships and her relationship with Finn. But now she is getting back on track which for her includes trying to get Finn back even if it means destroying her friendship with Cass. Unfortunately I found the characters very irritating at times as they don’t really care about hurting others only about what they want but I suppose that is very characteristic of their age group. Overall I found it an easy and enjoyable read to while away a sunny afternoon. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity.

  17. Great book I think for all as it shows how grief can affect young people and how they might deal with it, it was easy to read and follow, a book good for all ages

  18. This book somewhat fell of the radar so this is a little late but betrer late than never!

    The best aspect of the Last Days of Us is the characters. It’s based on 5 friends who decide to go to Melbourne to see a concert.

    There’s main character Zoey who’s still grieving the loss of her older brother. Her best friend Cass who is now dating Zoey’s ex Finn. Finn also comes along on the trip and brings his two cousins, broody Luc and effervescent Jolie the youngest of the group.

    You can sense there’s some unresolved history between Zoey a Finn and frankly I found it a little odd that the bestie would now be dating the guy that Zoey was so close to in the past.

    This is a typical road trippin/ growing up teen angst style book but I felt like the development of the characters is what sets it apart. In some places I thought it took a little too long to get to the nitty gritty but overall I enjoyed the ride.

  19. I really enjoyed this book. I think a great read for young readers. I personally felt on edge the whole read of what was going to happen next.

    I think the portrayal of grief in the book resonated with me the most. Everyone handles it differently and it was good to see other perspectives.

    Overall well written and I would give this book a 4/5 Star rating

  20. The Last days of Us is about love and losing a loved ones and they are all teenagers. They are going on a road trip to see Gary the singer because one of the girls is not well. A great read with ups and downs along the way.

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