Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
April 26, 2016
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From the critically acclaimed author of The List comes a stunning new novel about a girl who must say goodbye to everything she knows after a storm wreaks havoc on her hometown.This book's description and its prologue had me expecting something different, I think. While I don't have to like a main character to like a book, I do have to understand why they are how they are and/or care about them. The Last Boy and Girl in the World's protagonist Keeley, was someone I found irritating and obnoxious, but more than that I didn't fully get why she behaved how she did and there wasn't enough change in her character.
What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?
While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.
And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.
There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.
It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.
Keeley was wildly uncomfortable with anything remotely or heavy. She had a need to make a joke, to try to make people laugh. Even when it was incredibly inappropriate (and she recognized that it was, but still did whatever). As much as I did not like how she behaved, if I'd understood the why I think it would have been okay. (The way she couldn't let people be sad or something be negative, even as there were very legitimate reasons brought to mind a character who'd had an abusive childhood and needed everyone smiling or happy. Only, there didn't seem to be that history for Keeley.)
The book description mentions that, "Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang," but having read the book that feels misleading. Yes, Keeley and one other character do want to have fun, there is the goal of spending all the time they can together but it's not 'her friends' and I don't think there were any canoe races, at all.
The Last Boy and Girl in the World was a long book and, for me, it was slow. There was not enough change in the plot or in Keeley. The changes that were there seemed to long in their coming. The book also, perhaps ironically given Keeley's personality, was not as fun as I had been expecting.
It does handle some of the friendships in the novel, the history of families, friends and the town realistically and in ways that were not always expected, or the easiest choice.