Author: Beck Nicholas
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.