For the first eleven years of their lives, neighbors Lila and Gavin were inseparable best friends. They did everything together. Until they didn’t.
Every detail of Lila’s life has been meticulously planned out since she was a child. To the point where she forgot one vital thing: to live. When she receives news that drastically alters the path of her future, she realizes she has one last chance to create memories and make the most of her summer.
Gavin, on the other hand, is known for his carefree attitude. He has lived a charmed life for almost eighteen years. He's never short on friends or a good time, he has a supportive family, and he's all set to go off to college and follow his dreams. The one thing he doesn’t have is the girl.
He doesn’t know why Lila pushed him away all those years ago, but when Gavin finds her summer bucket list, he’s determined to help his goody-two-shoes neighbor cross off every item and hopefully mend their friendship in the process. Even if that’s not all he wants from her.
YA/NA multi-genre author Cait Marie has enjoyed reading and creating stories her entire life. Her 2020 fantasy debut, The Lost Legends, encompasses her love of fairy tales and adventure while her following book, The Last Summer, shows her appreciation for fluffy-but-moving contemporary romance.
In the time since, she has continued publishing in both genres and has plans to expand into science fiction, steampunk, and dystopian worlds.
Cait is the creator and manager of the book blog Functionally Fictional, works for YA Books Central, and offers a variety of author services, including editing, proofreading, and formatting. She has a BA in forensic psychology and an MFA in creative writing, both from Southern New Hampshire University.
Basically, her life revolves around books, but she also enjoys music, bullet journaling, graphic design, and Disney movies.
A very sweet and beautifully written YA lave story. Narrated by third person yet dual pov. Lila had a a bucket list, for her own specific reasons, and beautiful Gavin made it his goal to fulfil these wishes! Youth and innocence were in the air, yet I could read their love but it didn’t touch my heart as deeply as I expected to.
And they lived hea!! Lived. Both of them. No one died!!!!
Actual rating: 4.75 My review: "Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer." ~ This quote by anon perfectly sums up the cutesy summer romance that The Last Summer by Cait Marie is. Lila Weston has spent her whole life making plans for the future instead of living in the present, and she has one summer to make up for all the fun she missed out on, before she has to leave for college. Enter Gavin Miller he childhood best friend turned enemy who is always looking for more ways to annoy her. He doesn't understand why Lila stopped talking to him all those years ago but he vows to change that this summer, by helping her with her bucket list. This book is such a fast and engaging read that I spent an entire afternoon reading it, finishing it in one go. That hasn't happened to me in a long time, being so engrossed in a book that I forget to eat, to nap(v imp 😆), and even to drink water. I loved that the romance didn't feel forced, unlike some ya romances, and that it built up perfectly. The family dynamics, the friendships, all of them were very well written and were very real world like. There's also a hint of mystery to this book and that made it that much more interesting, although it could be a bit predictable. Some parts were a bit cliché for my liking, but other than that it's a smooth and sweet ride. All in all, it's a good YA contemporary, one that will keep you reading, and leave you with a warm gooey feeling. I'm definitely looking forward to more books from the author. 😊
I received an e-ARC from the author for review, but all opinions stated are honest and my own.
This is such a sweet and adorable story! It tugs at all your emotions, and you wish you could experience everything with Lila and Gavin! Well, maybe not EVERYTHING... There are some tear-jerking moments that you don't wish for anyone to have to go through, but it's also part of why this book is memorable. I LOVED the Rapunzel scene!
I personally prefer when the writing is in first person, with alternating chapters, in this kind of books, but it works well enough with the third person perspective. It's just a matter of taste, really. Can't think of anything else to "complain" about, and I hope a lot of people who enjoy contemporary YA will find and read it!
* I received an ARC from the author and promised to give an honest review. *
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 they're 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. Memory loss would be the last thing they’d want after a summer like theirs, 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, or my novel Twelve Steps to You, you’ll love this as much as I love Gavin and Lila.
This book was super cute & just gave me all the feels! I loved the super adorable romance between Lila & Gavin. I am shipping them so hard right now🤩🤩 I did knock off a star but only because its technically not for my age group and I very much felt that while reading. However, if you are a big YA romance fan then, yes, this book right here will make your heart hurt and flutter. Also, somehow, Cait Marie managed to combine my two favorite tropes second chance lovers and enemies to lovers & im living for it.
I was provided with an earc copy in exchange for my honest review but thank you so much. It was the perfect book to kick of my romanceathon tbr!
An addicting and romantic summer read! This is the book for summer!
Oh my gosh I love, love, LOVED The Last Summer! This story was so cute and sweet and fun and humorous, and I really just loved everything about it. From the first sentence I was instantly in love. Cait Marie knows how to hook you into her stories and keep you wanting more.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice summer story.
I had received an E-ARC of The Last Summer in exchange for an honest review.
Cait does it again! Seriously, I finished this book in a span of two days and that is only because I'm an adult with responsibilities. Lila is relatable and adorable. Gavin is as sweet as cotton candy. This book will give you a toothache! It is literally the sweetest little story and I loved every chapter, every page, every word. Cait is a great storyteller and this book is a must-have for summer!
This was a sweet and charming summer romance that was deeper than expected. The story was written with the sense that time was running out to complete things, and it made me sad that Lila had planned so much that she didn’t even get to enjoy being young.
“That’s why Lila had the bucket list after all. She had such focus on the future that she forgot to live in the present.”
“For four years, she focused so hard on getting out of that school that s he missed out on friendships and fun.”
The story hooked me right away, and I couldn’t put the book down. The characters were vividly depicted and felt like people I could have known in high school. The plot was layered and interesting, and little bits of foreshadowing appeared throughout, making me eager to keep reading to find out the whole story.
Overall, this is now not only the summeriest (is that even a real word?) book that I have read, but it’s also one of my new favorites. I’d highly recommend it to everyone — even if you’re like me and don’t generally read romance.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review.
Lila and Gavin have known each other all their life. Their parents are best friends, they've lived next door all their life, and shared their birthday parties. They were inseparable until their 11th birthday party and from then on, everything changed. Lila wouldn't talk to Gavin and he had no idea why. That is until the summer after graduating high school until Gavin's mom forces him to work at their ice cream store, Scoops, alongside Lila. There he finds her Summer Bucketlist and promises to help her complete it before the summer is over. Reluctantly, Lila agrees but tells him they only have 2 weeks to finish. The pair are forced to be friends again, at least for those 2 weeks.
This story was so adorable. I absolutely loved it. The characters are really great and were so loveable. Disney obsessed Lila was so brave and Gavin was such an amazing supportive person. Even the side characters I found to be great built-up characters who were real and compassionate. The friendships were so genuine and sweet that I had no issues with any of them. The romance in this book was also so well done. It did not feel rushed or forced, but real and something you would find in everyday life.
I loved the plot about completing all of the bucket list items, it made the story work well and travel along. The reveal around the middle of the novel was shocking and I did not see it coming. However, as it went along I love how it played into the story line. Also, not going to lie, it made me cry as I was reading closer to the end of the book.
Overall, no complaints, except I wish there was more.
*Parents: (SPOILER-ISH) the story heavily romanticizes the love between the two main characters, to the point that they become intimate prior to one's major surgery - besides wanting to discuss with my teen how realistic their relationship may or may not be, I'd definitely want to take the opportunity to point out the problems, real & potential, with their actions
Beautiful story. A real page turner. Gavin and Lila were childhood friends. Unfortunately they have a falling out though Gavin has never really understood what happened. Gavin finds Lila's summer bucket list. From that moment on, he's determined to make all her wishes come true before summer is over. College looms ahead or does it! Lila's hiding the real reason for her bucket list. It won't stay a secret for long. Ideal for Nicholas Sparks fans and those who like a heart warming story. I received an ARC of this book.
I loved this sweet summer story - just what I needed to get my mind off the current state of things. I really sympathized with Lila, even if I was frustrated by her inability to tell her friend Gavin what drive them apart years ago. They are so special and I loved reading about all the swoon-worthy moments. I thought the addition of the summer bucket list at the end of each chapter added a really fun element of following the characters through their teenage adventures. This is a beautifully written story, and I definitely would recommend it.
This was a good book that wasn't nearly as sad as it sounds. I almost didn't read it because I was so worried it wouldn't have a happy ending, but without spoiling anything too much, I will say: No one dies at the end. :) To be honest, that was my concern. I was worried this was another "A Walk to Remember." But it wasn't, and I am glad I read it. It's definitely worth the read.
This novel is definitely one that YA ladies will love! Fantastically written. Such a clean romance. I teach high school and if I have a student who wants to read Nicholas Sparks, but isn't ready to handle all that a Sparks novel dishes out, I will recommend this book. Again, such a good novel! Well done Cait Marie!
Such a beautiful story. I was hooked from the first chapter and enjoyed seeing how the story developed. The writing is amazing and I am so glad I read this book. I highly recommend adding this to your reading list. You will not be disappointed
SO FREAKING CUTE! This is the perfect book for the 14-18yo or anyone who likes YA romance. It was so sweet and wholesome. I literally was just this emoji the whole time while I read it: 🥺 Definitely recommend and am now a huge fan of anything Cait publishes!
2020 continues to be an unprecedented year. Enter “The Last Summer”, which catapulted this older reader back to the awkward between time after Graduation.
I laughed out loud, cheered, yelled and cried my way through this raw and very real love story. I know it’s a young adult novel, but there is something for everyone within the pages of this must read book.
I picked this up because of the blurb and hoped for a good romance and I was not disappointed. I loved Lila, and Gavin and I adored the story, it pulled at the heart strings, and had me sold on them both as a couple from the first few pages. I loved the bucket list, loved watching them cross things off, and loved watching them get closer and closer! The story was super romantic, light but with some serious moments, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good teen romance. Highly enjoyable!
When I began reading this book it had a comforting familiarity to it that made me feel at home with it. I am a big believer in short term bucket lists and adventures. Lila creates one to complete in 2 weeks and get ex best friend/nemisis Gavin ends up involving himself in helping her complete it, against her wishes.
After some time their old friendship begins to rekindle and develop into so much more. The Last Summer was filled with joy, laughter, and tears. As I got closer to the end I cried and smiled so much. I haven't felt this much emotion towards a book since Walk To Remember, Charly, and The Notebook.
Lila and Gavin have such a beautiful relationship together and with their friends that shows, you can get through anything with the right people in your life to support you.
The Last Summer is a great YA sweet romance type book something I would be comfortable giving to anyone over the age of 13 really. It does have mention of underage drinking, insinuates physical intimacy but doesn't say more than kissing. It is a book that got me hooked on the series and the author.
4.5 stars. A poignant story about Lila, who has a bucket list she wants to complete in the next two weeks. Gavin, her neighbor finds it, and wants to help her complete it. The two of them were best friends until Lila drifted away from Gavin, who had no idea why. What I didn't understand is why their parents never tried to get the two of them to patch up their friendship earlier.
THE LAST SUMMER by Cait Marie is a YA contemporary novel set in the Midwest between next-door neighbors, Lila and Gavin. The two of them have grown up together since the womb— they were even born a few days apart from one another— but unfortunately, an incident happened at their eleventh birthday which resulted in the end of their friendship. Now, it’s the summer after graduation, and they’re both forced to work at the same ice cream shop. They think it’s the end of the world, but it forces them to reevaluate where they stand with one another. Soon, they realize that as difficult as the past has been, the future will be worse if they continue keeping secrets.
This book is the perfect meal for fangirls and fanboys. I’m obsessed with it. The plot has so many fun tropes; friends-to-lovers, enemies-to-lovers, stuck together, one bed. It’s all the cute, angsty, and romantic vibes that can fill the soul when an escape from reality is needed. The story also invokes some very iconic romance stories, most notably, A WALK TO REMEMBER. Like Landon, Gavin is the popular kid, and like Jamie, Lila is the more studious. Similar to Nicholas Sparks’ characters, once Lila and Gavin break down the walls between them, they have to face an unexpected obstacle that could stand in the way of their happily ever after. I also saw hints of THE VOW, as well as THE KISSING BOOTH 3 with the summer bucket list that two childhood friends swear to complete.
That being said, this book isn’t all fluff either. It does engage with some more serious topics, such as strife and separation between parents or caregivers and how that can affect the child. It also touches on some health issues, reminding us that our time on earth is finite and we have to be intentional in how we spend it. The characters, who are getting ready for college, must also face what it means to be leaving home for the first time, saying goodbye, and considering the paths they want to take. I’ll be honest, there was a point after about fifty pages, that I was worried this book would take a very dramatic turn in tone, but the author did a great job at balancing the sweetness with the real.
To be frank, I could not put THE LAST SUMMER down. I read it in two sittings and probably would’ve read it in one if I hadn’t started it so late at night. I highly recommend this book to readers who are looking to be swept up in a story that will give them butterflies, will tug at their heart, and will be cheesy in the best way possible.
‘The Last Summer’ by Cait Marie has all the signs of a predictable sweet romance, and even though this is true, there is also quite a twist thrown in that is not necessarily expected. While Lila and Gavin have known each other since they were born only three days apart, growing up in houses right next to each other, their friendship faltered years ago, when a misunderstanding tore them apart, causing them to have to live without each other despite their close proximity.
Lila has only ever wanted Gavin to reach out, and Gavin has continued to care for her from afar, but their pride and uncertainty over their mutual feelings keeps them at a distance. When Lila’s boss, who also happens to be Gavin’s mom, pushes them into working together at the local ice cream shop for the summer, they find their way back into friendship—and more.
As they come to terms with what has kept them apart for so many years, realizing how it has kept them from each other, they also learn new facts, especially on Gavin’s part when he comes to understand that Lila has a secret she hasn’t been sharing with him. This secret only serves to bring them closer together, ensuring that they will work to complete her summer bucket list in two weeks’ time. He doesn’t understand why there has to be so much haste until he discovers that college isn’t the reason for having to check things off so quickly. There is more to her story, and they find themselves having to figure it all out together.
Without giving away the unpredictability within the book, there is so much to love and relish in as one reads this beautiful story of friendship, love, truth, acceptance, and thoughtfulness. The way Gavin steps up, along with Lila’s friends, is a testament to the power of friendship and doing what is right even in the face of an uncertain tomorrow. The story will bring more than one tear to any reader’s eye.
Beth Rodgers, Author of ‘Welcome to Chanu-Con!,’ a Children's Picture Book, and ‘Freshman Fourteen’ and ‘Sweet Fifteen,’ Young Adult Novels
If you are looking for a fluffy, heartwarming, summer read that will also have you in your feels, look no further! I read The Last Summer in one evening, in one sitting. I could not put it down. Cait Marie refers to Nicholas Sparks in her dedication at the beginning and I feel comfortable saying that she nailed a novel that is full of his influence. She took a Nicholas Sparks storyline and gave it her own whimsy voice. Gavin and Lila are characters that you fall in love with immediately. I connected to these characters in a way that I haven't found in a long time, especially in a romance. You will constantly be rooting for these two, through the good and the bad.
I am a member of Cait Marie's ARC team and was sent this book electronically in exchange for an honest review.
Lila and Gavin were best friends until they turned eleven- and then, they weren't. Now, almost eighteen and done with high school, both have spent the last seven years hurt and confused by the other person's actions. But when Gavin finds Lila's summer bucket list, he becomes determined to help her check off every item, and convinces her to call a truce. As they begin to work through the list, their friendship starts to repair, and secrets of both the past and the present are revealed.
Cait Marie has crafted a story that is simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking. Lila's hurt from years ago and Gavin's sadness at losing her friendship are both so well-written that they tugged on my emotions (several times!). This is the perfect summer read that combines depth and important themes with summer fun and good vibes. I highly recommend picking this up!
Trigger and content warnings: mentions of cancer and surgery
This childhood friends to lovers story is filled with adventure and remarkable friendships. It's also about getting to know yourself, evolving from past feuds to forgiveness, and hope. Yet there is also this dark cloud hanging above the main characters... All of this is combined in a layered plot. Follow Lila and Gavin on their mission to complete her summer bucket list after graduating high school and discover what fate has in store for them. You'll definitely want to be part of this group of friends.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator really does a great job. She also conveys the dual POV really well.