A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July. Local teen convict released early.
Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock. “Everything is not what you think.”
Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?
“You’re the one person who believes in me.”
Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.
In my opinion, there is something so inherently sweet about the “friends-to-lovers” trope. My all-time favorite movie is 13 Going on 30 and I’m almost guaranteed to pick up any book which mentions it has one. With that said, The Last Time We Were Us was no exception. I was intrigued the entire novel and Jason and Liz’s story pulled me in. A realer contemporary with a great romance, The Last Time We Were Us is a stand-out in the genre.
Liz has lived the past two years without her best friend, Jason- first when he left her behind for popularity and later due to his arrest. Since then, she’s gained popularity, a new crush, and seemingly left Jason behind. The Last Time We Were Us really begins with the reappearance of Jason following his being released from juvie. A good chunk of the book surrounds the truth behind his arrest and the mystery of what exactly happened that night. To me, there wasn’t an obvious solution- something which I was extremely happy about. I personally feel that mysteries in YA novels can sometimes be too obvious from the start, but The Last Time We Were Us kept me guessing throughout the novel and threw in some things I completely didn’t expect.
Most contemporaries are driven by characters, and I loved the complexity of the characters throughout the novel. Liz doesn’t always make the best decisions, but it’s understandable why she doesn’t. Her drive to be popular may have isolated some of her friends yet she loses part of herself in the process. At the same time, Jason and her crush, Innis, were extremely different guys. I felt like most of the guys in the novel were realistic depictions of guys, which while it doesn’t always make for the best personalities, I definitely appreciated the realism of it. I do wish there had been more descriptions/flashbacks of Liz and Jason’s friendship, but I loved how their past friendship, what initially pulls them back together, is what leads to them becoming more.
I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the ending, as certain events wrapped up extremely fast and other things didn’t go the way I hoped they would. However, while I wish there would have maybe been another chapter or epilogue, the ending was a realistic one. The Last Time We Were Us is an amazing contemporary that I’d highly recommend! It tells a unique story but still maintains realism throughout the entirety of the novel. I’d give it 4 out of 5 flowers.