Book Review: Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! I hope you’re all well and enjoying June so far. In this post I’m going to be reviewing Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah which was written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I’m a massive fan of Levitan’s and that I met him at the YA Extravaganza at Waterstones in London.

First off, let me just say that I’ve read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist which was also co-written by Levithan and Cohn and I was not impressed. David’s side of the story was written well as always but I did not enjoy Rachel’s writing in the slightest. It was so easy to tell who had written what. I’ve never seen so much profanity through an entire book.

But this time, I was satisfied with what I was reading and both authors’ writing was on point and flowed easily. I bought Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah at the Waterstones event for David to sign and I was dubious about whether this book would be better or worse than Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. However, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I was getting into this book, even though I don’t usually like stories that take place in one night.

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah takes place at their grandmother’s apartment at the Stanwyck where they are hosting their last dinner party before the apartment is sold. Sam and Ilsa are allowed to invite three guests each but mustn’t tell each other who. Full of mystery, life lessons and realizations, this book will definitely take you on a whirlwind of emotions and weirdness – especially when you meet Caspian the sock puppet.

I enjoyed meeting the characters as they arrived at the dinner party. I liked the fact David and Rachel crammed so much backstory into the book without the book being dull. There’s a lot of information about all the guests to absorb and the way both authors collaborated and made it work was very well done. Even Cohn’s character, Ilsa, reminded me of myself; I try to make everyone think I’m such a badass and I have everything figured out but inside I’m really a mess and trying to figure life out.

The fact that Sam’s sexual orientation isn’t a big deal makes the book even better in my opinion; times are moving on and we should be writing about all genders and sexual orientations without making it the sole premise of books. I know that it’s important to have novels that focus on coming out and gender identity, but really, it shows that we are moving on by incorporating them into books without it being the only exciting thing.

Although Ilsa finds something out about herself, the authors do not let this consume the entire plot of the story. There is talk of labels not being important and I think more authors need to take this approach to writing to make teenagers feel less pressure in deciding on what to call their identity or sexual orientation.

I highly recommend this book and it won’t take you long to read either. Let me know in the comments if you have read or are planning to read Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah and what you thought about it. Until next time, Vee x

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