A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend, and the small town lies that have kept them apart. Leah Konen’s The Last Time We Were Us is perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Sara Zarr, and Gayle Forman.
Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are finally getting invited to all the best parties, and, with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.
Then Jason Sullivan comes back to town. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd . . . and before he attacked Innis’s older brother and got sent away to juvie. All of Bonneville still thinks he’s dangerous, but Liz finds it hard to believe what people say about her childhood friend. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything.
But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out? Liz will have to decide if she can trust herself—and her heart—before it’s too late.
|File size:||890 KB|
|Age Range:||13 Years|
About the Author
Leah Konen is the author of The Last Time We Were Us, Love and Other Train Wrecks, and The Romantics. She grew up in a two-stoplight farming town in Washington State before moving to suburban North Carolina, where there were many more stoplights and lots of sweet tea. After studying journalism at the University of North Carolina, she headed to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. When she’s not working on novels and articles or writing for fashion brands, she enjoys devouring new books; spoiling her dog, Farley; biking around Brooklyn; checking out live music, and binge-watching TV. Find her online at www.leahkonen.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"We're all just trying to be the best version of us, the only way we know how." Liz used to go by Lizzie and her life used to be simple. But the summer before her senior year is anything but as she has to sift through the expectations of her friends and family to figure what she might really want. Thanks to her best friend MacKenzie's concentrated efforts, she and Liz are on the verge of popularity. Liz is getting invited to the best parties. Everyone is certain that if Liz plays her cards right she'll have Innis Taylor--the hottest and most popular guy in Bonneville--as her boyfriend. When her childhood best friend, Jason, comes home unexpectedly from juvie the obvious thing to do is ignore him. Liz doesn't owe Jason anything. She isn't even sure she can give him the friendship that he's asking for. Liz never wanted to believe that Jason was capable of attacking someone but the rest of the town is convinced that he is guilty and still dangerous. Liz has every reason to avoid Jason and everything to lose if anyone catches them together. But the more Liz remembers about who she and Jason used to be together, the more she finds herself drawn to him and the secrets he keeps alluding to that surround his arrest. Liz will have to learn how to trust Jason again as she remembers his role in her past and decides if he deserves a place in her future in The Last Time We Were Us (2016) by Leah Konen. The Last Time We Were Us is Konen's second novel. This book explores a lot of the themes covered in Matthew Quick's Every Exquisite Thing. However, the idea of finding yourself and the value to be had in teenage rebellion is handled more effectively here and without the obvious disdain Quick displays for his heroine throughout. The Last Time We Were Us is a subtle, sexy story about figuring out who you want to be when everyone already seems to know you. Liz remains extremely aware of who she is and of her own values--even if that sometimes means deeply disappointing those closest to her. While this story has action and twists, it remains largely introspective with Liz working through some of her largest conflicts on her own as she tries to choose the kind of person she wants to be moving forward. This book is one of those formative stories where the writing is so smart and so on point that it often feels like have your own thoughts and ideas spoken back to you. Konen's evocative descriptions of Bonneville and a varied (though probably all white) cast help to further develop the story. The Last Time We Were Us is a thoughtful exploration of what place nostalgia and memory have in life as you grow older and how, even when you try not to, the past can irretrievably shape your future. The Last Time We Were Us is a story with a hint of mystery, romance, and a healthy dose of feminism. Cannot recommend it highly enough. Possible Pairings: The Game of Love and Death by Martha A. Brockenbrough, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
The Last Time We Were Us is set in the summer but this is by no means a light and fluffy beach read. It reminded me of I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios for its raw and rough tone and its cusp-of-possibilities perspective. It is the perfect best-friends-falling-in-love story, but with far more depth - a story about one girl's strength and belief in herself, a story about standing up and a story about family. When Jason Sullivan is released from jail, Liz Grant's summer is shaken. She knows that she should stay away from Jason, but she is undeniably drawn to her childhood friend. But secretly meeting with Jason complicates her relationships with her parents and sister and threatens the budding romance between her and Innis Taylor, the brother of the boy whose face Jason permanently scarred. Complicated is perhaps an understatement. The Last Time We Were Us is the perfect mix of romance and social issues. It's heavy and light all at the same time, mixing wedding planning (Liz's sister is about to get married) with jail sentences, sweet kisses with the heavy topics of first-time sex and whole-town resentment. Liz is meeting with Jason behind everyone's backs and still developing a sort-of relationship with Innis. You know it's going to end badly but you can't help but hope that maybe there will be a shred of good in that bad, that maybe there is more to the story or that Liz can help or that she and Jason will be together in the end. Liz's time with Jason waxes from soothingly easy to a giant mess of pain and feelings, guilt and anger. But they have a chemistry that burns hot and is based on a history of friendship and childhood memories. It makes this story both exciting and heartfelt. This book raises some great issues about beauty, abusive relationships and prejudice that I would love to dissect with readers. I can't say anything else here for fear of spoilers but that's the thing about the best kinds of books, they make you think and question and change your views and sometimes even confirm the way you felt about something all along. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Oh look at how pretty that cover is. And the synopsis, a bad boy returns and turns the summer of a girl upside down. So dreamy, it has to be good. Right? It should be amazing, please be amazing. I have so much hope… But sadly no, The Last Time We Were Us was a mashup of some of the worst YA offenders and almost the entire read annoyed me. The plot that sounded so very good, was instead a blend of awful people, places and things. The Last Time We Were Us featured a mother trying to force her teen daughter on the “upstanding citizen rich boy”, said horrible douchy rich boy, a sister who threatens to kick our young heroine out of her wedding every time she breaths wrong, a best friend only concerned with being popular and boys liking you, and the dreamy bad boy really just being super bland. Between the peer pressure to have sex, ’cause that’s what makes boys swoon and want to make you their one and only, the desperately trying tension of “the incident” that happened and the repellent social-climbing of the mother I was super turned off. Now I will say that there were a few things I really enjoyed. The kids cursed. They are teenagers, they do that. They had sex. They did not have fuzzy fairy tale time under the sheets. However these few things were not enough to make me enjoy this read. Leah Konen did have some good runs in her writing that saved this from being a completely bad read, but was sadly so mired in stereotype that even with the best of writing could not have saved The Last Time We Were Us. Original review @ 125Pages.com I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
2 stars might be too high. The synopsis sounded like something I would devour. BFFs to more, but it's forbidden and it's set in the south? Count. Me. In. Sadly, it was quite disappointing. Right off the bat, I didn't like Liz. She's whiny and bratty and painfully self-absorbed. She seemed to let everyone make her decisions for her and by the end of the book, when there should be some growth, it felt like she was just being rude instead of standing up for herself. The secondary characters weren't anything special. I wanted to see swoons from these southern boys, but I didn't get any. The big reveal about what happened was pretty lackluster and the interesting thing that happened at the end was too little to late. I kept reading because I was expecting some spark or something to change everything. Ultimately, it just wasn't for me. **Huge thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**