The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: June 5, 2018
Format: paperback | Source: purchased
Genres: young adult, contemporary
One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves—and each other.
Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama spills offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are cast too. Can she get revenge by staging a new romance of her own?
Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, just like they planned when they started dating. But Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was thirteen…
Vi has a crush on the girl next door. It makes her happy and nervous, but Cece has a boyfriend…so it’s not like her feelings could ever be reciprocated, right?
As the oldest, Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore. Except it’s hard to dream big when she’s so busy taking care of everyone else.
This was sweet! The Gilmore Girls meets Little Women description is very apt. I loved the small town setting and I liked that each sister had their own POV chapters. I think Kat’s might have been my favorite surprisingly but they all had their pluses, and Vi’s was a super cute f/f plot line. The whole book in general went out of its way to include many different LGBTQIA representations (bi, lesbian, gay, and I’m pretty sure unnamed ace as well), as well as Asian American and Latinx characters, most of it intersectional. It was super refreshing in the small town setting and noticeable from a readers perspective because it’s more than I normally see to be honest. And all of the romances were written so well!
My main gripe is how… earnest some of the writing was. The author went out of her way to include very current book and tv references that I think will get lost in the future but definitely makes it fun for today’s teen readers. Some of the current social topics felt forced too, as far how the characters spoke about certain things- it could have felt more natural. I found the writing tense took some getting used to as well, not my fave. There are also some trigger warnings to be mindful of, such as: dead parents, off page eating disorders, cheating, and some homophobia (including the f word, which really irritated me but is immediately challenged on the page).
Overall, I liked how each sister had real personalities and interests that differed from each other but didn’t feel like they were sorted into boxes. And there were a lot of examples of friendships being repaired, especially between girls, which I think is lovely and important.
How do you feel about books that use current references? Do you like reading small town contemporaries? Let me know what you thought of this book!