By: Heather Dowell
*Previously published on Heather’s blog here.
Lila and Gavin were best friends growing up, but for the last seven years, they’ve had their own lives. Gavin has no idea why their falling out happened, but it’s the summer before college and he want to change things. Fate (or shall we say a sneaky mother) intercedes, and Lila and Gavin wind up working the same summer job at an ice cream shop. It’s clear Lila wants nothing to do with Gavin, but when he discovers her bucket list, he believes helping her check off every last item may be the answer to restoring their friendship. Lila reluctantly agrees to let him help, and the fun starts there.
While completing the list, Gavin becomes suspicious of Lila. Why does she only have two weeks to complete the list? Why is she settling for an online college when her dream was to attend an art’s school? And why did she stop talking to him all those years ago? He wants answers, but Lila’s not giving them. And the more time they spend together, the more he wants their adventures to blossom into a summer romance that never ends.
Lila can’t help falling in love with Gavin, but they can’t shift from friends to lovers. She’s accepted that her future plans have gone out the window, but she can’t ask him to make similar sacrifices, especially if they’d be in vain. He might lose a friend either way, but she’ll do whatever it takes to lessen the sting, even if it means shielding him from the truth.
The stakes in this book made me so emotional I sobbed four times. Some possibilities are worse than dying or cancer, and Gavin and Lila know this more than anyone. These neighbors to lovers have never been so close, but Lila’s secret could ruin them forever. Even so, I desperately longed for them to pursue their love despite possible consequences. But sometimes making memories is worth a bit of heartbreak.
The Last Summer is a love story that readers of young adult fiction and new adult contemporary romance will swoon over. If you’re a fan of my favorite movie (which is also a book), A Walk to Remember, you’ll love this as much as I love Gavin and Lila.