Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah Review!

IMG_3829.jpg4 Stars!

Okay so I’ve read quite a few David Levithan books in my time (and absolutely loved them) so I had high hopes for this. I have never read anything with Rachel Cohn though and I’d seen some very mixed reviews on goodreads, but I was still hopeful that I’d love this book! I am happy to confirm, that I did really enjoy it!

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah is about a set of twins who upon nearing leaving for college decide to throw one last sophisticated dinner party at their grandmother’s Upper East Side Manhattan apartment. They each are allowed to invite three guests, but cannot tell the other who their three are. What could possibly go wrong? The answer is: a lot.

It’s a very short book, coming in at just over 200 pages long so it’s perfect for reading on a Sunday evening or a free afternoon. The main this I loved was the representation. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a diverse immediate circle; full of people of different sexualities, body types, races and mental states. One thing I adored about this book was the discussion of these things. There is so much ownership of sexuality, often in causal conversation. I also loved the discussion of mental health. Anxiety medication is portrayed as a helpful tool for people to take, that they should not be afraid of employing should they need it. ALSO, A FAT CHARACTER WAS DESCRIBED AS HAVING SEXY CURVES. Yes. This is exactly what I need after Leah being made skinny in the Love, Simon film (don’t even get me started…).

This is not a heavy plot based book, so if you want lots of crazy stuff to happen in the books you read, then this won’t be for you. If you’re more character driven, then you should definitely pick this up. I loved reading about the character dynamics, and the way that different characters acted with each other depending on their pasts and personalities. We even see a surprising amount of character arcs in such a short book.

This book is not perfect, there are some word choices I wouldn’t use and some stereotype tropes that I like to stay away from. And. it is so pretentious; one of the dinner guests is a sock puppet, for goodness sake! But it’s pretentious in the best way. It’s pretentious in the same way all of David Levithan’s and to an extent, John Green’s characters are, so if you like their other books then this will be a plus for you, not a minus. I’d have loved to have read this when I was seventeen and making my decisions about where to go with my life, so if you fit into that bracket, I’d highly recommend giving this a go! And if you’re not, still give it a go!

I received a review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my thoughts or opinions. Thank you to Edelweiss and Electric Monkey for sending this my way!

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