The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are 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.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

“Everything is not what you think.”

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. 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?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 2.5 stars! This book wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination because I did feel the need to see how things played out and read the book in its entirety as opposed to calling it quits. However, my inability to connect with the characters definitely played a major role in my lower rating, which is quite a shame because after I read the book synopsis, I felt like this book had enough of my favorite tropes to really be a read I would enjoy and I couldn’t have downloaded it any faster.

♥ Review: I’ve said it before and yet I’ll say it again: writing reviews for books that I feel/felt generally indifferent about is such a difficult task. It’s easier to flail about books that I love and even easier to write a review when I’m impassioned by all the things I didn’t like about it, but neither was the case with The Last Time We Were Us. So, it’s likely this review will be brief, and I think I actually mean it this time. (As I tend to say that on occasion, and then my wordiness gets the better of me.) I think my major issue with the book is that for it to be 368 pages, I don’t feel like very much happened. There was quite a bit of redundancy in regards to our protagonist waffling about her feelings for both guys and fighting with her friends and family about the decisions she made concerning both boys. While I can’t deny that I made quick work of the book, reading it all in a couple of hours, parts of the story seemed to drag on and on, and I really only continued to see who she would pick in the end. Another problem I had was something that I briefly mentioned earlier, and that was my inability to connect with the characters of this book. Liz, as with typical teenagers, was heavily influenced by others and her hopes of popularity, and was happy to let others dictate her life choices. That is until a particular guy reemerged in her life, and then she dug her heels in and started making decisions for herself. It was okay and relatable up until a certain point, but then it became repetitious and a little aggravating. Furthermore, it was harder to root for either love interest because I didn’t see why she’d like them besides the fact that she had years of friendship with one and that the other was Mr. Popular that everyone else wanted so maybe it was a challenge for her. I felt like both were entirely too secretive and brooding, and maybe that was just her type, but it made it rather boring for me. More than that, I felt like every character in this story was outright selfish and had a lot of growing up to do, even the adults who were supposed to be parenting these kids. There was a little growth from everyone, but ultimately, I felt like it was too little too late.

I will note that there were some pretty great quotes, most having to do with girl sexuality. However, those bright moments weren’t enough to pull this rating up by much. I feel like had the overall story and characters been given more depth instead of filling the pages with unnecessary drama after a certain point, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more.

♥ Teaser Quote:

I spent a summer trying to figure out what was right, weighing the words of everyone else, cursing myself for my inability to be what others expected of me, when there was only one answer, really.
     Lizzie or Liz, it doesn’t matter—I can only ever be me. I can only ever follow my own heart.
     But it was so achingly wonderful to know that when I do, the people who really matter, they’ll be right there beside me, even if I make a mistake or two in the process.
~quote taken from the eARC of The Last Time We Were Us at 98%

Book Rating Breakdown
General Book Feels
Angst Me So Good

♥ Rec It? Maybe. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t necessarily love-or really even like it all that much either. While there were some pretty great quotes sprinkled throughout, I struggled to get through certain parts of the book. As for other readers, I think there’s a lot of wiggle room for people to fall to either side of the spectrum between like and dislike. So, it’s my suggestion that if your interest is piqued by the summary, either borrow it from the library or wait until it goes on sale before you purchase.

♥ A very special thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An eARC of these title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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