Thursday, 5 April 2018

Mini Review | Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Published On: April 5, 2018
Published By: Electric Monkey
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Amazon | Goodreads

Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing dinner parties, and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation. The rules for the twins are simple: they each get to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the guests show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception. 
One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right – in rather surprising ways.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This was not at all what I was expecting.
I read Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares from this author duo back in December and enjoyed it so I was expecting, or at least hoping, to enjoy their latest work. I expected a similar feel to Dash & Lily, with quirky characters I could relate to and fun antics I could enjoy reading about. Sadly, this book had neither of those things.

It's all just so pretentious.
This was the first word that came to mind as I was reading, and having seen the same description in several reviews on Goodreads I can see I'm not the only one who thought so. However, this was probably the one thing I enjoyed about the book. I'm not sure if it was intentional but to me it was just so pretentious that I found it amusing.

The plot is nothing.
It is 200+ pages of a dinner party, during which several not very interesting people do some not very interesting things. I found the plot to be boring and lacking in any kind of excitement to draw me into the story. The whole sibling rivalry aspect of the story, which I think was meant to be the main point of the book, just irritated me and bored me further.

The characters were bland.
Despite every effort to make these characters as quirky and bizarre as possible, they fell flat. It felt as though more work had gone in to showing how 'out there' all of these characters were than went giving them actual personalities beyond the crazy. They were all very similar, particularly the male characters, to the point where I was often confusing them. 

I don't understand the sock puppet.
One of the guests at this dinner party has a sock puppet, which is treated throughout the book as an additional party guest. I don't know if I'm missing something here or if it's just a further attempt to make these characters seem odd but I really did not understand the relevance of the random sock puppet.

There could have been some good mental health discussion.
Throughout the book there were references made to anxiety and some other mental health issues that weren't specifically labelled. Some attempt was made to discuss these but it was all done briefly in passing. As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to bring up mental health in a book you should be giving the time and consideration that such an important topic requires rather than bringing it up briefly and not expanding on it any further.

There were some good discussions about sexuality.
Sam, one of the two main characters, is openly gay and this is discussed throughout the book. However, later on in the book the sexuality of other characters is questioned. This brings about a conversation being open to relationships with anyone and not putting a label on your sexuality. This is something that is being discussed a lot more recently with a lot of celebrities contributing to the discussion, but it's great to see this being discussed in books as it is not something I have read previously.

Overall, in a predominantly disappointing book, I did manage to find some qualities that I ended up enjoying. However, this was not the book I expected it to be, with a boring plot and characters that fell flat despite being so quirky. I wish I could recommend this book but, sadly, I did not enjoy it.

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