The Last Thing You Said

320p. ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419723049.
Gr 9 Up—When the pain is too much, sometimes you have to give it away. So it is for Ben and Lucy, who were on the verge of something special when Ben's sister, Trixie, who was also Lucy's best friend, died unexpectedly. The day of Trixie's funeral, Ben lashed out at Lucy, and the two of them have been finding ways to hurt each other in the months since. They can neither avoid each other in their small resort town nor ignore the lingering feelings they have for each other despite dating other people. As both begin to move beyond their own grief, they are drawn back together. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick's books will find much to love in this emotional romance. The inclusion of Ben's point of view is effective and sets the novel apart in a sea of stories with one-sided pining. The setting, a small Minnesota town, is fully realized and gives added depth to the characterizations as well. However, the appropriation of an Inuit cultural practice, inuksuk, as a symbol for the two white teens' relationship is a poor choice.
VERDICT Cultural appropriation mars an otherwise promising debut that's recommended for libraries with a high demand for romance.

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