The Last True Love Story

288p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481429887.
RedReviewStarGr 10 Up—Teddy Hendrix is a typical teenage boy dealing with hormones, girls who won't give him the time of day, and family issues. His grandfather, Gpa, is in the throes of Alzheimer's, and his memories are quickly fading away. After getting into a fight with a popular boy at his school, Hendrix joins up with Corrina, who is equally adrift and on whom he's been crushing. She is adopted from Guatemala and finds an outlet for her loneliness and pain through music. After an emotional visit at Gpa's retirement home, Hendrix and Corrina decide to fire up his mom's car and take Gpa on one last road trip, from Los Angeles to Ithaca, NY. Along the way, the teens learn more about each other and the world and realize that sometimes the past is better left in the past and that the future is bright and vast if you have the right person on the journey. Kiely has constructed a sophisticated story about the power of love, music, and making amends. All three of the main characters are fully fleshed out and leap off the page. Corrina's struggles will resonate with many teens who are grappling with who they are in society, especially teens of color adopted into white families and those who strive to achieve their dreams. Gpa's disease is handled in a humane, nonexploitative way. The Odyssey-inspired plot evolves at a leisurely pace, yet it never drags, giving readers a chance to savor this special book.
VERDICT Deeply personal and universal at the same time, Kiely's truly lovely tale should find a home in every YA collection.

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