The Last Best Story

352p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062320773.
Gr 9 Up—Rose Regnero, star reporter, has spent almost four intense years working in the newspaper room alongside editor-in-chief, Grant. But just before the end of her last semester, she abruptly quits, announcing that she wants a different, normal life. Grant, who is unconsciously besotted with her, feels blindsided and can't understand what happened. Rose attends prom only to find herself face-to-face with Grant when an alarm sounds and all the students are put on lockdown. There's reportedly an active shooter in the building and everyone is terrified, but all Grant can focus on is that this could be the story of his career—and he's betting it will bring Rose back into his life. Meanwhile, Rose knows more about the emergency than she lets on but she's unsure she wants to involve herself with Grant. Uneven writing mars this story of two teens who are perfect for each other but can't seem to get it together, set in the frightening scenario of recent shootings. Descriptive sequences are clear and exceptionally visual, but characterization sometimes lack authenticity. Sequential plotting often suffers during the shooting scenes. Still, in her sophomore effort, Lehrman has long moments of brilliance and is a writer to watch.
VERDICT An uneven but promising effort for those who enjoy stories of unrequited love, journalism, or topical novels on current news themes.

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