In the town of Waterby on Fire Island, the rhythms and rituals of summer are sacrosanct: the ceremonial arrivals and departures by ferry; yacht club dinners with terrible food and breathtaking views; the virtual decree against shoes; and the generational parade of sandy, sun-bleached kids, running, swimming, squealing, and coming of age on the beach.
Set against this vivid backdrop, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is the enchanting, heartrending story of a beach-community friendship triangle among three young adults for whom summer and this place have meant everything. Sisters Riley and Alice, now in their twenties, have been returning to their parents’ modest beach house every summer for their entire lives. Petite, tenacious Riley is a tomboy and a lifeguard, always ready for a midnight swim, a gale-force sail, or a barefoot sprint down the beach. Beautiful Alice is lithe, gentle, a reader and a thinker, and worshipful of her older sister. And every summer growing up, in the big house that overshadowed their humble one, there was Paul, a friend as important to both girls as the place itself, who has now finally returned to the island after three years away. But his return marks a season of tremendous change, and when a simmering attraction, a serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, the three friends are launched into an unfamiliar adult world, a world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.
Ann Brashares has won millions of fans with her blockbuster series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, in which she so powerfully captured the emotional complexities of female friendship and young love. With The Last Summer (of You and Me), she moves on to introduce a new set of characters and adult relationships just as true, endearing, and unforgettable. With warmth, humor, and wisdom, Brashares makes us feel the excruciating joys and pangs of love—both platonic and romantic. She reminds us of the strength and sting of friendship, the great ache of loss, and the complicated weight of family loyalty. Thoughtful, lyrical, and tremendously moving, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is a deeply felt celebration of summer and nostalgia for youth.
When this book was first announced, there was a bit of hoopla saying that this was Ann Brashares first book for adult, and yes, there were definitely some more adult scenes. Where sex is implied in the fabulous Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants book, it was more open and detailed without being completely explicit in this book. In many other ways though, this was a book that explored some of the same themes that we have previously seen from this author - loss, illness, young love. The other thing was the youngest of the two sisters who were the main female characters was only just in her twenties, and so in many ways, this book targets many of those same readers who have been reading Ann Brashares over the last however long she was writing the Traveling Pants books!
The blurb tells a lot of the story so I won't worry about regurgitating here. The story itself was a pleasant enough read about the relationship between two sisters, and about the secrets that family members keep from each other, as well about how changes in relationship dynamics can affect everyone involved both in ways that are expected and unexpected. What the book wasn't was something fresh and completely different from this author.
Overall, as long as you go into expecting something very treacley and sweet, you won't be disappointed. It was an easy enough read though.