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The Last Forever

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Endings and beginnings sit so close to each other that it’s sometimes impossible to tell which is which.

Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all she can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s so hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home.

Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in a small coastal town at Tessa’s grandmother’s. Despite all the warmth and beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost.

Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more importantly, he understands her. A secret stands between them, but Tessa’s willing to do anything to bring them together—because Henry may just be her one chance at forever.

320 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2014

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About the author

Deb Caletti

27 books2,266 followers
Deb Caletti is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of over twenty books for adults and young adults, including Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, a finalist for the National Book Award, and A Heart in a Body in the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. Her books have also won the Josette Frank Award for Fiction, the Washington State Book Award, and numerous other state awards and honors, and she was a finalist for the PEN USA Award. She lives with her family in Seattle.


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5 stars
336 (19%)
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514 (29%)
3 stars
555 (32%)
2 stars
224 (13%)
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87 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 233 reviews
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,670 reviews701 followers
February 2, 2014
This book was sort of all over the place for me. I couldn't really connect with the MC because her narrative was such a jumble.

I was hoping for some serious swoons, Henry seemed to have so much promise. Alas, I was a bit disappointed in that aspect. In fact, it all of the relationships just didn't really make sense to me. I feel like we didn't get enough of a meeting between anyone before they were all BFFs.

I can definitely see the appeal, I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy the journey that Tessa is on, it just wasn't enough for me.

**Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
March 23, 2014
I really don’t even feel like I can effectively review this book because all I want to do is flail all over the place and shove it in people’s faces so they read it too. This book was absolutely perfect for me, I picked it up on a Saturday morning and before I knew it I was halfway through and dreading the book ending. This book is emotional, this book is funny and this book is engrossing.

We meet our MC Tess as she is grieving the recent loss of her mother to cancer. She is living with her father and just going through the motions of day to day life. One afternoon the two of them pack up her father’s truck and head out to finally see the Grand Canyon. Once that’s done, they decide to see Vegas, and then they just keep going North until they get to Tess’s grandma Jenny’s house. At this point Tess’s father takes off to deal with his grief on his own and we see Tess start to plant new roots on the island of Parrish as she meets the locals and forms relationships. Ok, the small town feel of this was so awesome! I loved this little town, I loved how everybody knew everybody’s business and just how there for each other they were. Every character that Tess meets on this island became someone I felt like I knew and cared about. Even poor 8 year old Kenny Travis who had created quite the name for himself as the town’s little klepto.

While all of the secondary characters in this novel were fantastic the heart and soul of every page was Tess herself. Man, I loved this girl so much. I could relate to all of her thought patterns and I felt like her and I were kindred in a way. She was sarcastic & funny but it was her crushing thoughts about some of the regrets that she had that made me feel like I wasn’t alone as I read through the pages. She didn’t do everything she thought she could have as her mother was dying of cancer and the guilt of that was eating away at her. She also had this strained bond with her father that would boil over at times but always came back to a place of complacent understanding in the end that I understood so well. This girl quickly became my favourite MC that I have read about in a very long while.

As we watch Tess come to terms with everything that has happened in her life we also see her open up to love. She meets Henry Lark on the island and is smitten with him almost immediately (yes, he touches her and there are sparks that she just can’t forget) but this relationship is so not your typical YA romance. These two bond over intelligent discussion and they genuinely care about one another. The thoughtfulness that passes between them in their thoughts and how they go out of their way for one another was fantastic. The relationship isn't filled with cheesy cliches and it doesn’t take the path anyone can expect it to but I love how it all comes together in the end and how it helps Tess so much when she needs it most.

Another awesome addition to the novel is all of the botany in it. At the beginning of every chapter there is a little explanation about a different type of seed. I had thought that these would quickly become something that I would skip over but I loved the trivia! The things I learned about seeds are crazy, I mean they are scary little things when you learn what is inside them and what they are capable of. This all ties into the novel because Tess has a rare pixibell plant she is trying to keep alive that belonged to her mother after it was passed down by her father. I feel like even this plant became an important character in the novel because I was rooting for its well being and crying when things weren’t looking so good for it.

So I think that is the last tidbit of information I will include in this review. Remember it: this novel made me fall in love with a plant, that’s gotta be saying something!

--
For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Ladybug Lynn.
351 reviews1 follower
April 6, 2014
One of the best books about grief and loss and recovery. Tessa's grief over her mother's death is raw and real. As someone who also lost her mother after a long illness, I can testify that the book is true to life. At times, gut wrenching difficult to read but beautifully written and ultimately hopeful. The love story is not what you would expect and the book was so much richer for that aspect of it. Loved ever page even as cried through most of it.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,010 reviews150 followers
September 23, 2014
I liked Tess. I liked her dad and the fact that he was allowed to have a total crisis while still very clearly loving his daughter. I liked the complicated journey their grief took them on. I liked the fact that her mother's death lived in her heart and in the heart of this book without everything becoming maudlin. It felt like a very real grief, one that will always ache when you poke at it, but not always in a bad way.

Really, I was with this book up until the reveal. Not that it was a surprise, because it wasn't. Rather, I hated the manner in which Tess found out.

I wish this book had lived up to my idea of its potential. It came so close to delivering the kind of story I've hoped to read from Deb Caletti again, but in the end it never quite made it there for me.
Profile Image for Jamie-leigh Haughn.
168 reviews835 followers
May 5, 2014
I was sent this book by Simon and Schuster for review a few months ago and I finally got to it!

I went in to this book not knowing what to expect and I really enjoyed it! I was expecting the story to be an epic love story, but it wasn't at all. It really focuses more on family and personal growth. This is something that I usually don't enjoy but I really like the way this one was handled. The book had a bit of a slower start and parts of the beginning were a bit hard to follow, but once you get used to the writing style its smooth sailing from there.

The story follows a girl named Tess who has recently lost her mother to cancer. Her father is a bit irresponsible and suggests to her that they go on a road trip, but they end up getting much much more than a road trip! The story also follows Tess and her journey to save her mother's plant that she had taken care of her whole life, Pixiebell. Pix plays a huge role in the story in so many ways.

The characters in the book are very relatable and interesting. Tess is a great character, she is hurt but still has a lot of love in her heart that she doesn't always know what to do with. Her grandmother Jenny plays a huge role in this story and Jenny ended up being my favourite character in the whole book. There is a lot of character development and growth throughout this whole story both for Tess and her father, especially with her father and it was a really nice relationship development as well between the two.

There is a love story in this book, of course! However, it may seem to be the focus of the book for a bit but it really isn't. The relationship is kind of weird and awkward..Henry, the love interest is a good character as well, he is more complex and you will find something a little mysterious and even off about him and his relationship with Tess. It all makes sense in the end!!

The side character, her friends Sasha and Larry are great! The interactions between the group of friends is really fun to read. They all work at the town library and that is where a lot of this story takes place, which was also really cool as a reader who enjoys reading and the library. Books play a big role in this story and that is nice to see.

There is a pretty big twist in this story, and it makes a few things totally make sense that you may be questioning, and I just happened to have guessed the twist, that being said, I don't think its very obvious! I just had a lucky guess!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good self discovery book or a book focused on family. It was great!
Profile Image for Rain.
696 reviews116 followers
May 18, 2018
I don't like the writing style at all >.< also, in this last chapter there were already two stops of the road trip and the author shows nothing about them?? What's the point then?
Profile Image for Lory Blanco (areaderheart).
627 reviews13 followers
July 12, 2016
This book was magical. There were so many elements to this book that I just loved so much. We have the main character Tess, who has recently lost her mother and she is trying to deal with the grief and guilt of it. One day her father decides he wants to go on a road trip and they leave their lives behind and embark on this journey. But soon she finds herself on this tiny island where her father grew up. Here she meets Henry Lark. And she immediately feels a connection to him. I loved their relationship. Its definitely not your typical Ya romance that you would expect. They connect more on an intellectual level. And of course Henry has his secrets.
All through this they are trying to figure out how to save a plant. Yes a plant, people. It has been in the family for years and recently it has started to die. They embark on this journey on trying to save it. All I can say its the first book thats made me fall in love with a plant.

I really recommend this book. Its one of the best books about grief, loss and recovery Ive ever read.
Profile Image for Kalla [A Bookish Nerd].
244 reviews26 followers
August 17, 2014
Actual rating: 3 stars.

Tessa is a teenager dealing with the recent death of her mother from cancer. She's depressed. She doesn't know what to do. Her father is addicted to weed and alcohol. He isn't coping well at all, and he isn't being a father figure for Tessa. All Tessa wants to do is just get through each day, and taking care of Pix, her mother's plant that her mother took care of her entire life. And then one day her father says they're going on a trip: an epic road trip that should be everything Tessa needs. But Tessa soon finds herself at her distant grandmother's in a small coastal town after her father hauls off and leaves. Pix isn't doing well at all, and Tessa knows that Pix will die if she can't find a way to help it. It's the last thing she has of her mother's, and letting Pix die just isn't an option. Enter Henry Lark, a boy who loves to read and plays the piano. Tessa falls in love with him. Along with the help of Henry and others, Tessa soon learns the fate of Pix, and somehow along the way, also learns how to find herself in the midst of grief.

San Bernardino to Barstow, Route 66, 70.6 miles. Interstate 40 east to Williams, Arizona, 319.5 miles. From Williams, Arizona Route 64 north, fifty miles to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.


This is supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for Tessa and her father. It's a chance to get away from the house that reminds them so much of Tessa's mother. It's supposed to be a chance to just let go and get away for awhile.

But Tessa isn't expecting to be left in Parrish with a grandmother that she doesn't know while her father "gets his life together". It's the ultimate betrayal. All Tessa wants is to go home. She doesn't want to be in Parrish with Jenny, her grandmother who had nothing to do with her. Or Vito, Jenny's annoying mutt.

And then she meets Henry Lark.

I watch his profile and then the back of his head, the thick wave of hair, as he descends the stairs, and I feel this energy between us, an awareness that we're looking at each other, only not looking. He feels it too, I know. He feels it until he must turn around. He smiles. I don't know exactly what this smile means, only that it means something. Something immense. It curls around me like smoke, or like the arm of true love, and I wonder then if it's possible to fall ten thousand miles into the Grand Canyon and be held safe at the same time.


I do not like Henry Lark. He's boring. Overrated. There wasn't anything about him that really stood out to me. Is he the worst love interest? No. But he's definitely not the best. There was just something about him that made me dislike him. I don't hate his character, but there were not many things that I liked about him. I know that Caletti portrayed Henry as an awkward boy and I'm sure that that was supposed to make the reader relate and like him, but it didn't work for me. More times than not, he stood out as jerk. He was aloof and distant, but not in an attractive way. It lessened the chemistry between Tessa and Henry. Maybe I'm crazy for not liking him, but oh well.

The book was slow at times. There were many times that Caletti could have edited out paragraphs and the story still would have flowed smoothly. I think that Caletti added in said paragraphs just to lengthen her story, not strengthen it. Taking out some paragraphs that weren't needed would have really made the story less slow. There were times when I skimmed pages because it just wasn't needed.

The characters. I didn't really connect to any of the characters. To be honest, I felt that some characters which I presume to be main characters in this book weren't in the book enough. They sort of just popped in at random times and weren't even really needed. And that's a shame. I think the only character I liked in this book was Vito, and he was a dog and said nothing! There also wasn't enough Elijah appearances in this book and that was really really needed as you'll find out later.

Those three reasons are why I gave this book 3 stars. When I began this review, I had this book at 3.5 stars but soon realized that I have more problems with this book than not. However, there were some good qualities.

I really enjoyed the plot with Pix. It's unique and sweet and had me tearing up at times. The relationship between Tessa and her mother is clear in this book, which is something really amazing because her mother isn't actually in it. I love that Tessa will go to extremes for Pix because it is the only thing she has left of her mother. She feels that if she loses Pix then she will lose her mother forever. As the reader, I could understand the deep connection between Tessa, Tessa's mother, and Pix. It was amazing and Caletti did a great job with it.

Tessa's father. I said I didn't really connect with any of the characters in this book and that's true, but I do want to talk about Tessa's father. Caletti did an amazing job of portraying the grief that he was going through. At the beginning of this book, all he really cared about was smoking weed and watching tv. Tessa had to do everything on her own. Gradually through the book, he starts to change. The reader sees small growth in his actions and how he handles things. Again, well done Caletti.

The quotes in this book were amazing. They were so good. So deep. I could totally relate to a lot of things that were going through Tessa's head. Caletti did a great job with this.

A few examples:

His lips are so soft, and he's not here with me at first because I've surprised him. But then, there. There we both are, and the kiss becomes that kind where you forget you're even in a room in a house in a town. You're just so present and transported that place has altogether disappeared, and it's only mouths and mouths and together and together and everything else has vanished, even- especially- sadness.


Instead, tonight, we have simply shared a meaningful event. And next we share this: a look between us that says we've gone from here to there, from shame to a shaky, mutual forgiveness; from a time when our lives felt like a to-scale model, three feet equaling one and a quarter inches, to now, where the whole wide world is ours.




So, The Last Forever wasn't terrible. I was expecting more from Deb Caletti, but it wasn't a bad book. Would recommend for people who like to read grief-based books and romance.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,268 followers
April 4, 2014
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Tessa lives with her father after her mother died of cancer, and they still haven’t really learned how to live with just the two of them.
When her father than wants to go on a crazy road-trip to the Grand Canyon, Tessa has to go, and takes with her ‘Pixiebell’, a plant that was her grandfathers, which her mum looked after. Unfortunately though, Pixiebell starts to look a bit ill.
What is wrong with Pixiebell? And can Tessa save it before it’s too late?


I didn’t enjoy this book at all, I just found it boring.

I couldn’t connect with Tessa. I felt sorry for her because her mum was dead and her dad was an ass, but I couldn’t feel sorry for her stupid plant, and her preoccupation with it was annoying. I also didn’t get her need to keep telling us her darn geographical location via co-ordinates; I mean did we really need to know that?

The storyline in this just didn’t interest me, and the writing didn’t suck me in. I was bored from pretty early on, and although some of the little bits about plants were mildly interesting, the rest of the book was just ridiculous. The whole storyline was basically about a plant for pity’s sake! And it wasn’t even all that interesting a plant as it turned out. Tessa was more interested in the plant than her father, her grandmother, her dead mother, the boy who wanted to be her boyfriend and pretty much anything really. I personally could not have given two hoots about the stupid plant, and why anyone would want to go all the way to Alaska, just to preserve some freaking seeds that they could have just posted there was also beyond me.
There was some romance, but it didn’t interest Tessa, and it didn’t interest me either.
To be honest I didn’t like this book, and I found it pretty darn boring, you cannot believe how pleased I was to finally make it to the end.
Overall; dull and boring,
4.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for Leah Wolff.
281 reviews21 followers
May 24, 2017
I have absolutely fallen in love with this book. Deb Caletti is a wonderful author, but sometimes her books can be a little hit or miss. This one is a definite hit and has quite possibly taken the spot of my favorite Caletti book. Yeah, it's that good. I read it in about 6 hours just because I couldn't put it down.

I think I loved it so much because Tessa was so relatable, at least to me. It's like I was reading about myself. She could be really sensitive and then sarcastic, but all around just real and raw. Her emotions weren't exaggerated or crazily displayed. I felt everything she felt. I loved that she was a book worm just like me and I completely understand her point of view on things.

**spoiler starts here

I knew there was something weird about Henry. She always had to ask him to kiss her or hold her, yet he told her he loved her and acted so perfect. However, I definitely didn't see it coming that he was in love with Elijah. I didn't like Elijah from the start, but I thought his attitude was just the way he was, not because he was in love with Henry. But it makes a lot of sense.

Even though this book was slightly predictable in the sense that OF COURSE she's going to go put the seed in the vault, I loved how it happened and that she actually did get to go and preserve Pix. I think that was really good closure for her because she wasn't there for her mom when she died.

Everything in this book was insightful. I loved the real pain and loss but also the real love-the relationships Tessa was able to build with Henry, Jennie, and even Sasha and Larry. There were so many quotes that I took from this about life and loss in general.
Profile Image for Cherie LaBissoniere.
4 reviews1 follower
November 26, 2015
Deb Caletti has a way of speaking to me through her writing. She gives me hope, eases my fears, and makes me feel a deep love that cannot be explained. Her books are magic and this one is no different.
Profile Image for Myndi .
1,359 reviews49 followers
November 21, 2017
While it took me a bit to really get into this book, once I did I was hooked. I think it takes a good look into the grieving process, especially focusing on the guilt the ones left behind often feel. It also shows how when you love someone, it doesn't always have to be a romantic love.

If you're anything like me, you're going to spend a majority of this book really pissed at Tessa's dad. I even stopped reading to lecture my husband about how to treat our kids... I also spent a lot of time confused about how to feel about Jenny...and wanting to know what on earth happened between her and Tessa's mom. But the biggest part of the story, for me, was Henry...and how he helped Tessa grieve, move on, find something to help her say goodbye. Henry is probably my favorite character, though there are some great ones in this story. I was pleased with how things ended up for Tessa and Henry in the end. I was pleased with the ending as a whole actually, it was a really great ending to the book and the story that the author was trying to tell.

I think fans of YA Realistic Fiction will really enjoy this book. I found this book by searching Sarah Dessen in What Should I Read Next, so I feel like fans of Dessen will also really enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Taylor Orth.
15 reviews
Read
May 28, 2019
Student Name: Taylor Orth Date Submitted: May 13
Book Title: The Last Forever Lexile: 720L

Personal Response:
I did not like this book at all. It took a long time to get into. The plot was very boring and repeating. This book is a very stereotypical book. I could predict what was going to happen next based on some other books I've read. This book is too sad for me.

Summary:
The main character’s name is Tessa. Tessa goes through a hard time after her mother passes away. She had to go through difficulties of keeping her family together without her mom there. Tessa's dad fell into a depression and couldn't keep the family together. Tessa is continuously trying to keep her family, friends, and boyfriend but her depression was taking over. Her dad comes up with an idea that they should take a roadtrip. They end up in a tiny coastal town. There Tessa finds it harder to stay happy.

Recommendation:
I would recommend this book to girls who like reading books that don't really have a happy ending.Some of the girls in my age group might find interest in this book. I think teen ages 13 to 17 should read this book.




Profile Image for Stephanie A..
2,278 reviews62 followers
May 29, 2017
Solid writing and a vivid setting, as expected; loved Tess, her whole family, the stuff with the plant, her grief coping mechanisms, and the seed facts, but also:

A lesser grievance: why could it not be written as a normal story instead of constant foreshadowing and repetition of "but we're not at that part of the story yet."
3 reviews
September 5, 2017
If a book that walks the path of a girl and her very special plant sound intriguing, then I highly suggest you read this novel. Deb Caletti created a realistic fiction book, “The Last Forever”, that follows the path of a 17 year old girl, Tess Sedgwick, and her father. Sadly, Tess’s mother had passed to cancer and it was just too much for Tess’s father to handle. Before she passed she had left a plant, Pix, with Tess. Tess’s grandfather had gotten the seeds to this rare plant and passed it on to his daughter, Tess’s mother. With only a few days left in the school year, Tess’s father packed his things and took Tess on a road trip. Leaving their hometown, in California, they decided to visit the Grand Canyon and stop at Tess’s grandmother’s house, Jenny. Tess’s father had left Tess at Jenny’s house, Tess’s father’s mother’s house, in a small town called Parrish Island. Tess had no idea when her father would return or why he left. Ultimately, Tess begins to plant new roots in Parrish Island. She meets this guy, Henry Lark, and spends most of her time at the library, where Henry works. By the time Tess’s father returns, Pix begins to slowly perish. Together, with the help of Henry and the town, Tess tries to save Pix. With this novel being published in 2014, it is easier to relate too than most books regarding war or events that happened hundreds of years ago. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the fact that Deb Caletti was able to create images with words. In the end, you realize that nothing lasts forever but something new always follows the passing of something old.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,610 reviews164 followers
February 23, 2014
3.5 stars

The motif of motherless daughters has been well mined by YA authors over the years. Whether dead mothers or absent, either physically or emotionally, we have seen this thread before.

But perhaps we have not seen it quite as it is presented here.

Tessa's mother died of cancer about a year ago, and during those intervening months, she has realized that there is no such thing as "forever." Everything changes. Her relationship with her boyfriend isn't what it once was - not that it ever was all that much anyway - and her friendships are altering as well. But perhaps nothing changed quite so much as her relationship with her father.

Always a rather flighty man - he's bedecked in a pony tail and smokes pot not so much as a pastime but more as a necessity - he has become untethered since his wife died. It's as if he has forgotten that Tessa is his daughter, that she is HER daughter, and that she grieves too.

Tasked by her mother to watch over a Pixiebell plant, supposedly the last of its kind, Tessa looks upon it as her last living link to her mother. There is symbolism aplenty here, almost to the point of being heavy handed. Caletti begins each chapter with a description of some sort of plant, and the description in turn becomes the theme of the chapter. Again, it's a bit much, but some of the plant descriptions were humorous.

When Tessa's father decides to go on a road trip to see the Grand Canyon, she packs up Pixiebell and heads with him. Even though she still has a few school days to go. Even though she leaves before she lets her boyfriend or BFF know.

After gazing upon the natural wonder, her dad suggests they keep going, head north to Portland, Oregon. Tessa realizes at this point that she has no say in the matter, but when they arrive at the home of one of her father's friends - a female friend named Mary - Tessa is none too pleased. Worse, her father decides to extend the trip to Parrish Island, his hometown near Seattle, where they will visit his mother, Tessa's grandma Jenny.

Jenny has been largely absent from Tessa's life, and the girl has only vague memories of visiting when she was two. Tessa's all for a family reunion, but when her father bolts the following morning with no notice to Tessa, she is devastated. Her mother died, and now she's been abandoned by her father as well.

Fortunately, the one place Tessa knows to turn to that can provide her solace is books, and there is a library on the island. This proves to be a bastion not only for emotional succor, but it introduces her to new friends as well, none more important than Henry Lark.

Tessa is captivated by him, and she feels an immediate connection. They bond over Pixiebell, which Tessa has noticed is beginning to look ... ill. Henry helps Tessa learn more about the plant, and, of course, more about herself as well.

There are several plot threads running through the book. Tessa's relationship with Henry, for one, and hers with Jenny. Pixiebell's increasing fragility and all that it represents is another, as is Tessa's relationship with her father. She is furious with him, and rightly so. She imagines that he is seeking his balm from Mary, and that outrages her perhaps more than being abandoned with a grandmother she does not know.

The love story between Tessa and Henry tends to occupy center stage, largely because it is through this lens that Tessa views herself most critically. She loves him, even as she realizes that there is much about him that we do not know. Henry's mystery is quite easily solved, so much so that the only person it shocks is Tessa; we readers know long before she does what secret Henry hides. Jenny knows, or suspects, but does not tell Tessa, a betrayal Tessa feels to her marrow, even if Jenny's reasons for doing so are valid.

You will need some tissues, as there are several heartbreaking moments. You also will need to remind yourself that Tessa's father is a fictional character because otherwise, you might want to seek him out and punch him in the face.

Tessa's circle of friends on Parrish Island includes requisite Quirky People, and her quest to immortalize Pixiebell is loaded with symbolism and allegory. But despite these obvious manipulations, this is an engrossing story that will hook you and make you care. Tessa is lovely, her struggle occasionally crushing, and her victories warming.

There is quite a bit to enjoy about this book, and Caletti tells her story in an approachable, engaging style. If occasionally Pixiebell's importance feels too heavy handed, we have Tessa - lovely, wonderful Tessa - to make up for it.


Published on cupcake's book cupboard
@VivaAmaRisata
Profile Image for Trish at Between My Lines.
1,042 reviews289 followers
March 10, 2021
The Last Forever is a book about the grief and the endless, never-ending journey you go through after the loss of a parent. However while the subject was intense, I never fully connected with the characters and just didn’t feel it.

First line of The Last Forever:

“In those early months, when the beautiful and mysterious Henry Lark and I began to do all that reading, I often skimmed over the name. “

My Thoughts on The Last Forever:

I didn’t hate this book, I just didn’t enjoy it. If I have to sum up how I felt, the word I would use is indifferent. I didn’t connect with the characters and the direction the plot took didn’t work for me. A lot of the story is Tessa’s thoughts and I would have preferred less thinking and more action. And that is not to say that Tessa was boring as I did feel a lot of her thoughts on grief were very insightful. I think if you were in a similar position to Tessa and grieving a parent then this book might mean a lot more to you.

“I don’t call anyone, though, because a loved person dying can make you feel distant from everyone, not just the person who’s gone. There’s grief and then there’s the loneliness of grief. The way it’s just yours and yours alone.”

I think those lines feel very poignant and true. And there are a lot of similar quotes that I have marked at that really dig deep into the sadness and aloneness you feel after such a huge loss.

The romance between Tessa and Henry felt very one-sided and I very quickly developed some theories on it. I think if the romance had been different it would have lifted this book more for me as I felt some lightness was needed. What did work was the sparky dialogue, I think without this I might have DNF'd the book.

Another issue I had was that at the start of every chapter, there was a description of a plant and not being a botany fan, I just skimmed these. They did connect with the story but just didn’t appeal to me.

The relationship between Tessa and her father infuriated me. His way of dealing with the loss of his wife was to disconnect with his daughter and smoke as much pot as he could. He redeems himself a little but as a father he was a disaster. However I loved the relationship between Tessa and her grandmother. I was so happy to see a responsible adult enter her life and one that I knew she could lean on when necessary.

Overall though, this just wasn’t a ‘Trish’ book.

Who should read The Last Forever:

I think if you have recently lost someone important in your life, this book might strike a chord with you.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
13 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2019
Personal Response
The Last Forever was a halfway decent romance novel, but it took me quite a while to get into it. The beginning of the novel was not very interesting, but at like the tenth chapter or so, it slowly became interesting. Most of the romance parts of the novel were also confusing to follow. Something that I did like, was the fact that at the beginning of every chapter there was a paragraph about a different type of plant. Altogether, The Last Forever was not the worst romance novel, but I have read better ones in the past.
Plot Summary
The Last Forever is a novel that covers the life of a teenage girl whose mother died when she was at the age of 7 and has to live with her father who smokes pot and is not the most responsible. Tessa is in her senior year of high school and is getting over the loss of her mother. With that being said, Tessa’s father takes her out of school and goes to Las Vegas and was to be heading to the Grand Canyon, but later ends up staying with her grandmother she did not even know. The stay was only supposed to be a few days but later ended up being a month or so. Tessa met a guy named Henry Lark, who is a great musician and works at the local library. They both fall for each other in a way, but their relationship ended very badly. During this whole relationship, the plant that has been alive since her grandfather planted it was not in the greatest shape. The plant called Pix was knocked out of its pot by the dog, Vito, and was later losing its coloration. This caused Tessa to freak out for this was the closest thing she still has from her mother. Tessa and Henry ended up taking this plant to a professor at the University of Washington to see what was wrong with it and it turned out to have nothing wrong with it. It was just a life cycle for the monocarpic Fragaria. Since this plant was so unusual Tessa was allowed to take it to Svalbard, which is a vault that preserves special seeds forever. At the end, Tessa and her father went back to their original home and no longer were greatly affected by their loss. Altogether, this novel was a great way to show that good can come from the bad in life.
Recommendation
I would recommend this novel to anyone in the seventh grade or higher. I say this because it was a pretty basic romance that was pretty easy to follow but was not as interesting as I thought it was going to be. Altogether, a seventh grader could easily follow and understand the novel.
Profile Image for Savannah (Books With Bite).
1,399 reviews184 followers
March 31, 2014
Given the chance I read Deb Caletti books all day. Her books are so well written and have so much in store for the reader! I just love them.

Plot: This is about a girl who’s life is changed in an instance. Nothing seems the same so her dad drives her across country on a whim. I can tell you that this story pulls you in immediately. You feel the plot so sad, so wanting to break out of the mold. The plot moves at a steady pace allowing the reader the right moments to immerse themselves in the story. I felt compelled to follow, to know, to help them grieve in their life.

Family: One thing I loved about this book is that is has to deal with family. Family is big part of everyone’s life and when something throws it off, the whole story turns into an adventure. I loved Tessa’s thoughts and her character. She is quite grown up for her age and really thrives to do something for her mom. I also enjoyed reading about her dad and her relationship with him. It seem realistic and really put the story and their background into perspective.

Ending: Finding peace or rather learning how to deal with the changes is a big part of this book. So many changes left and right, you have to wonder if Tessa and her dad, will learn to deal with it. I can see that they definitely needed a change. And this change, no matter how drastic, did help them in the end.

This is a great story about love and loss. The climatic chases and drive across country puts the reader firmly into the characters shoes. There are even minor characters who played bigger parts then I never expected. The Last Forever is a fantastic read!
Profile Image for Taylor.
766 reviews424 followers
April 26, 2014
I'd read one of Deb Caletti's other books, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, three months ago and I really enjoyed it. I was doubtful but I thought it was really funny and I loved the characters.
I'd actually forgotten how much I liked Honey, Baby, Sweetheart so when I started The Last Forever, I was once again doubtful. I'll never doubt Deb again!

The Last Forever is witty, emotional, and deals with some important things. The main character and her dad are working though the death of her mom and I feel like it really shows cancer and everything that goes with it in a very realistic way. Now, it not like The Fault in Our Stars. It won't make you cry. But like Tessa's memories of her mom going though chemo and losing her hair, Caletti showed all that in a realistic and actuate way.

My favorite thing about this book is how funny it is. I haven't laughed so much while reading a book in a while. Some parts are so funny to me, that I'll think of them randomly and just start laughing.

The characters are really relatable. Tessa is a big bookworm so it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll relate to her on at least one thing.

The Last Forever is kinda slow. At times it felt like it was dragging on and I would speed read for a few pages. But I did read this book in pretty much two days so I was never really bored.

Overall, if you're looking for a fun, witty read that doesn't take a lot of brain power, you should check out The Last Forever.
Profile Image for Adele.
542 reviews107 followers
August 1, 2017
I WOULD RATE IT 3.5 IF I COULD.
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I dont really know what to say about this book. Yes, the story line is really good. The story mainly focuses on family and personal growth. Beyond that though, when I think back on the book, the book didn't really amount to anything. The Last Forever is a pretty static story. Nothing really changes.

Even though I found the story to be some-what boring, while I was reading The Last Forever, it was kind of interesting. The book is nicely paced. There wasn't really any exciting ending.. There was one thing that happened in the story and I was like, WHAT?! The Last Forever is like one big journey.

The MC, Tess, is such a sassy girl. When the book starts, Tess was very…emotionally drained. She had had enough of her dads shenanigans. And everything happens to change when her dad takes Tess to her grandmothers house on an island. After a while, things start to look up for Tess. She gets the happy ending that she needs, and I really appreciate that.

When I finished the book I was left with a sense of happiness. Like I said before, nothing really monumental happened in this book, but I was still very satisfied with the ending.

And if Caletti ever decides to write a sequel to The Last Forever, I will gladly read it!
Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 4 books655 followers
Read
April 23, 2014
This was a very interesting book on loss and grief and relationships. Tessa lost her mother and her father goes a little crazy - okay maybe a lot, pulling her out of school a week before it ends, dragging her 1/2 way across the country and smoking pot. He was a bit of a loser who ended up getting his act together.
Caletti integrates facts on plants for each chapter. This is because Tessa possesses a special plant—a Pixiebell—that her mother got from her father. How he obtained the plant was enlightening. The quest to keep the plant alive and what it actually was, definitely made the book more interesting.

As I said, Tessa goes on a road trip with her dad. They eventually end up on an island where her grandma lives. She hasn't seen her grandma for a good 15 years. I loved how that relationship developed. On the island, Tessa meets Henry. He appears to be the boy of his dreams. But alas . . . I'm not going to spoil it for you.

For anyone who is looking to read about coping with grief, dealing with a difficult parent, relationships, plants :D, friendship, then you'll appreciate THE LAST FOREVER.
Profile Image for Trisha.
4,521 reviews156 followers
April 21, 2014
"My home is yours for as long as you want it to be. But are you running, Tess?"
"Running away can also be running to."


What a great great story. I found Tess to be quirky but hilarious. I thought she was snarky but WOW, the life she was handed was tough so I think she earned her sass. I loved her humor and her thoughts, her pain and her need to hold on to her mom and the memory.

But I also understood her anger. Her dad abandoning her (even though I saw his reasons too.) This was so well done. I never felt Tess came off as a bad person or an awful kid - she was just trying to deal with things the only way she knew how.

Jenny, Henry, Sasha. What a crazy crazy spot Parrish Island is and I fully enjoyed their quirky ins and outs. This was a fun but heart breaking story that I fully enjoyed.

"I've learned my lesson: Don't let a suburban ranch house fool you. Nothing is regular on Parrish Island."

Honestly, nothing was. It was just fun and sad and real.
Profile Image for Jeraca.
2,367 reviews16 followers
December 8, 2015
I received this free eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Deb Caletti and I just don't get along. I've read numerous books of hers and I just can't do it. The covers trap me. The synopsis sounds amazing. And then I start to read the book and I. Just. Can't. Get. Through. Them!

This is probably a fantastic book that all readers will love, but I've learned that she is just not meant for me. I will most definitely recommend her to other readers who enjoy similar books, but for my personal preference I cannot keep trying to read her.

I really do appreciate getting this free eARC though, even though it didn't work out for me.
Profile Image for Kirsten Feldman.
Author 3 books75 followers
April 16, 2014
The Last Forever in three lines. Deb Caletti did it, after a slow start: she made me love Tess and the "pixiebell." Tess has a heavy load, what with the dead mother, the AWOL father, the sneak transplantation, the ailing responsibility, and behold, the puzzling boy, but the journey is sweet and wise. After more switchbacks than a mountain road, Caletti also pulled off an ending that both surprised and pleased me.
Profile Image for Marta.
499 reviews4 followers
August 6, 2014
Unexpectedly fresh characters and situations make The Last Forever stand out from the pack. This story is about life after losing a parent, the nature of love and the beauty of the everyday people in our lives. So often realistic reads are grim. The Last Forever is believable because it also includes the moments of hope and even fun that can coexist with hardship. It is both realistic and uplifting.
Profile Image for Marley.
200 reviews2 followers
December 28, 2014
As a character I got incredibly frustrated with Tess, for "falling" so easily for the boy as what...a distraction? I wish more of the focus was on her grief and her plot with the seed, which always felt like an afterthought
Profile Image for Ana.
127 reviews2 followers
June 27, 2014
Okay... I was not expecting that ending at all... Like, really?

I don't know what to say.... No words.

I liked the plot with the whole plant fiasco, but the "secret" that was hidden among the characters, I didn't like.

Overall, it was okay.
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