Last Words – Leanne Baugh

  Last Words – Leanne Baugh, Red Deer Press, (9780889955769), 2019

Format: Paperback

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? As Claire stands on Lion’s Gate bridge in Vancouver, BC luxuriating with the view, she takes a few pictures of a boy also standing on the bridge.  After a phone call, he walks over to Claire, hands her his phone, says “I’m sorry” and jumps off the bridge.  She is utterly traumatized.  For reasons unknown to herself, she keeps Will’s (the jumper) phone trying to decipher just who he was and what would make him take his own life.  She becomes distant with her friends, attends Will’s funeral, searches out his girlfriend, his friends and finally decides to return the phone to his parents.

Claire is a very interesting character.  She is an artist but can no longer paint.  She eats little, talks little.  She makes a new friend her age, Kiki, who is dying of cancer but so full of life. Kiki cannot understand how anyone would kill themselves when she so desperately wants to keep on living.

An added plus here is that the story is Canadian, taking place in Vancouver, BC.  American teens can contrast a Canadian teen’s life with an American’s.

Anything you did not like about the book?  Nope.

To whom would you recommend this book? This story should appeal to those who like to read about weighty topics like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti.

Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Young Adult fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Maybe not the tippy-top, but in the top ¼.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 4/4/2020

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