Review: The Last of Will by Sheryl Benko

NB—I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review

This will be a short review, because I realised after I began reading that I’m not at all the target audience for this book.

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The cover here is interesting, but I’m not sure how I feel about the cartoon style

Greer Sarazen is like any teenager. All she wants is to get her driver’s license, to not be bugged by annoying people, and to NOT have her spring break interrupted. Yet, when her dad, Will – who has been unemployed due to downsizing – finally gets a job at the local cemetery, Greer is forced to tag along on a road trip to deliver a stranger’s ashes out of state. A stranded van, a clown, a rodeo, a disco-dancing nerd and a belligerent dwarf threaten to throw off the itinerary, while the departed “passenger” becomes an unexpected friend … proving that, sometimes, the things we truly need are the last things we would ever expect.

The narrator of this book is one of the most accurately written teens I’ve ever come across in fiction—Greer goes on tangents, resists her parents, and comes to some conclusions about life that really do seem profound when you’re a teenager. I’m sure young readers, or people who appreciate reading from the perspective of one will love this book. I did not.

I rarely liked teen fiction when I was a teen, and what YA I do like tends to have more mature themes and voices than those in The Last of Will. I understand that reading a book with a teenaged narrator and then complaining about the narration sounding like a teenager is ridiculous, and that’s why I’m not doing it—simply explaining why this review is fairly neutral.

The fourth wall breaks in this book I take no issue with, I like books that play around with tense and perspective, and I’ve even been known to enjoy second person a time or three1. However, the rambling form of narration combined with the fourth wall breaks made it hard for me to lose myself in this book the way I prefer to do with the books I read.

For this reason, and the others mentioned, I did not finish this book. I wasn’t exaggerating about the realism of the voice though, and perhaps if I were further removed from my own teen years and looked back on them fondly, this book would be a fun, nostalgic read. As it is, I read enough to know it wasn’t to my taste, and rather than forcing myself to read it, I decided to move on and read a different book. If you enjoy younger voices in your fiction, or the blurb intrigues you though, consider reading The Last of Will.

 

1A scandal!

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