The Last True Love Story
Author: Brendan Kiely
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Synopsis and Review:
Ted Hendrix is brought up by his grandfather Gpa and their bond is very precious. When Gpa is slowly dying from Alzheimer’s disease, Hendrix tries to do everything in his power to grant Gpa his wish of going back to Ithaca, New York. And thus begins the ultimate road trip from LA to NY, as Ted Hendrix tries to enlist his classmate and long-time crush Corrina as their driver.
The first part of The Last True Love Story feels eerily similar to John Green’s Paper Towns in that Corrina is that cool loner girl who has her own circle of friends but just happens to know Hendrix. When Corrina runs into some guy trouble, she lets Hendrix string along as she tries to seek revenge. Hendrix on the other hand is that guy who has always been crushing on Corrina but thinks she is too cool for him.
Enough on the comparison though as The Last True Love Story is definitely more than just a road trip. It is very bittersweet to read about the bond between Gpa and Hendrix, which is pretty rare in the world. Not a lot of teenagers are close to their grandparents and it is so heartbreaking to see Gpa slowly fading away from Alzheimer’s but Hendrix is still very patient and caring. I also enjoyed reading about the way Corrina interacts with Gpa, which is very different from the way Hendrix does but still works amazingly. The Last True Love Story would not have created a great impact if Brendan Kiely had portrayed the two teenagers as bossy and stuck-up.
However, there were some parts where I had problems with. While trying to portray Corrina as this indie/hippie girl, Brendan Kiely might have tried too hard. He included too many songs and artists that most readers of The Last True Love Story would not have heard of. While the first few references gave us a nice touch, by the time I got to the twentieth reference, I started to skim through those lines. On another note, I really like to commend Brendan Kiely on trying to tackle cultural appropriation in this novel. I would have have appreciated it a tad bit more if he expanded that section a little more. Overall, I think The Last True Love Story is very skillfully written and I enjoyed reading it quite a lot.