Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Last Year’s Mistake
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Hardcover, 320 pages, Simon Pulse
Genres: YA, Contemporary

Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

My Review

Put the past behind you, unless it just so happens to strut right into your school. In that case, Kelsey’s got no advice for you. She’s still trying to figure it all out for herself. When her ex-best friend/crush from her old school comes back into town, Kelsey’s life is flipped upside down. Especially now that she’s got a bunch of new friends and a hot new boyfriend to keep her company. She doesn’t need David anymore. At least that’s what she tries to tell herself.

So maybe Kelsey isn’t the most decisive character in the world. She’s actually a little too wishy-washy and she always takes the blame for things that aren’t even her fault. But she does have a good heart and she just wants everyone to get along. Now David on the other hand, he’s the supposed-to-be nice guy who is actually kind of a jerk. Kelsey has a good life now and she’s happy, but David’s intent on inserting himself into it, despite Kelsey telling him to back off. And while David is sweet and charming sometimes, he needs to be more respectful.

Maybe having such flawed characters is a good way to say that people aren’t perfect and so they shouldn’t be written that way, but it’s hard to tell if that’s what the author intended. Although, it is true that high school is a place where everyone has flaws, so these characters definitely fit right into their setting.

Another thing to think about before you start reading this book is that the story is told in alternating Before and After chapters. If you’re not a fan of multiple points of view or other types of non-linear storytelling, I’d say this book isn’t for you. The switches from past to present are just too disruptive. However, the past scenes are fun and entertaining, they just shouldn’t be where they are. Consequently, the plot could be more developed and the romance could have really brought some umph to the story if those past chapters didn’t break everything up all the time.

All in all, Last Year’s Mistake is an interesting contemporary tale of first loves and first heartbreaks. The book definitely has some flaws, which could or could not be intentional, but its storyline will still have you weary of mistakes coming back to bite you!

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from the Book Review Board of Missouri to review. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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