What would you do if your town was flooding and no one was going to do anything to save it?
That’s pretty much the premise behind The Last Boy and Girl in the World. I though, going in, that this might be an apocalyptic story where the world is ending and floods are destroying the earth, but it turned out to be much more realistic (and better) than that.
Basically, Keeley’s town gets some record-breaking rainfall that floods a good portion of the town, wrecking buildings, etc. Instead of rebuilding, their governor decides that to prevent flooding of that proportion from happening again, they should build a dam and make the town’s valley into a manmade lake. They’ll buy off everyone’s property and say goodbye to a potential future disaster. It’s pretty straight forward.
Amidst that turmoil Keeley is struggling to handle her own problems – best friend issues, boy angst, and family drama – and things turn crazy really fast.
I liked the way Siobhan Vivian began at the end. The entire first chapter built up the suspense so much that I was dying to figure out how Keeley came to be where she was. It made the narrative that much more enjoyable, because I had all these clues about what was going to happen, but I didn’t know anything concrete. Piecing the puzzle together made me feel like a freaking ninja, and I enjoyed it immensely. (Who here DOESN’T want to be a reading ninja?)
I’m a big ol’ sucker for a book that centers around female friendships (or really just friendships in general), and I liked that this book is both a romance book and a friendship book. Growing up is hard on friendships, and having grown apart from many friends over the course of my lifetime, the mounting tension straining Keeley’s relationship with her best friend since childhood really resonated with me. Their problems are portrayed subtly enough that you don’t really catch them all at first, but then as things progress you look back and are like, “Oh… I totally see what she means about that.” Losing your home is hard. But losing your best friend is even harder.
But hey, life is a bittersweet mess sometimes, isn’t it? And even though there is a ton of angst and turmoil in Keeley’s life, there’s also some pretty smokin’ romance happening. I don’t want to give anything away, but things are not what they seem at first in the romance department. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles either, so I’m glad that while this could easily have become a love-triangle, it really never devolved into that. I want to say more, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself and then you can come and talk to me about and we’ll compare notes.
This story moves slowly, which might irk some readers, but I felt the heartfelt prose and interesting character development more than made of for that. If you like books that are character-driven, this will definitely appeal to you. But if you’re looking for something that’s more on the suspenseful/thriller side of things, you may find the speed to be an issue. But this is a beautiful book, and I definitely recommend it to all lovers of Contemporary YA.
Rating: 4.3/5 stars