Last Things is the newest YA from New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West. Her award-winning The Books of Elsewhere is one of my favorite MG series. I was excited to hear that she was writing another YA, especially after reading her most recent book, The Collectors, last fall.
This story simply hummed! This story kept me turning pages well past midnight. *cough 2am cough* Not that reading this in the dead of night is the best idea. Because no. It is creepy, it is heebie jeebie, it is deliciously spooky. It might make you rethink the wisdom of reading alone at night next to an uncovered window. Just me? Oh, okay.
I don’t want to give away too much about what makes it creepy, because the reveal in the story is part of the creep factor. If you’ve ever been alone in the woods at night, or even if you haven’t, you will feel all those feels reading this book. The setting of the northwoods is actually another character, and in ways you might not think.
It’s not a mystery, per se. It is simply a story of a boy. He’s got some skills, shall we say. He may have made a mistake. Everything is not as it seems, and neither is everyone.
I did love the rest of the characters too. Thea and Anders and even Frankie. I did not like Sasha, but that is not surprising. But the story! This book reverbed with the bass of metal. I loved all the song lyrics and the way that West describes Anders’ love of music. West’s poetic sensibilities (she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart) shine here.
Here is a bit of the synopsis from GoodReads:
“High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home.”
When things start to happen, everyone blames Anders. When he can’t control that, will he lose everything that’s dear to him? And what is going on with this Thea girl? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? Does she?
Can he trust her? Does he have any choice? And what happens when he has to choose between her and someone he has known most of his life? I wasn’t sure about Thea. I wasn’t sure about Flynn. I wasn’t even sure about Aunt Mae. But that’s nothing to how shell-shocked Anders is when he finds out the truth.
And when they go into the woods, what will they find? Will they be in time? Light and dark, choices, and a serious dose of “We don’t know a damn thing” make this a story that will reverberate with you long after you’ve finished reading. What would you give up to get everything you ever wanted? What do you want more than anything? What do you really want?
A headbanger’s delight, or just for anyone who loves a good goose-bumpy story. Get ready for a wild ride. Happy Book Birthday to Jacqueline West! I think we have a winner here! Look for this in my Halloween Reads wrap-up come October, where you will find more creepy reads!
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Greenwillow Books, 2019