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

Book Review #7: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Hello bookworms, writers and all creative peeps! This week’s blog is a book review on Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.

David and Rachel’s book is about Nick and Norah who meet at a concert and Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend so that he can make his ex jealous. However, what they both don’t know is, is that this 5 minute girlfriend fling will in fact lead them to a night of events that will bring them closer together…
Set in New York, this book is about getting over heartbreak, falling in love again and finding out you can meet the love of your life anywhere…

As much as I love Levithan’s writing, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and debate whether to chuck the book into a charity shop.
I wanted to go to David’s talk about the book in London so I bought Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; however I wasn’t able to go and therefore was in no rush to read the book until now. I thought it would be an easy read where I could quickly and easily finish it. But unfortunately it took me a while to read because I wasn’t enjoying it at all.
Aside from the swearing on every page, I just couldn’t warm to Norah’s cold, hard exterior nor Nick’s personality. He was all over the place.
David’s chapters were okay but Rachel’s felt like she had tried too hard to see the world from the point of view of a teenager.
The book didn’t really have any conflicts in it; David and Rachel tried too hard to make it into one of those life altering, life affirming books about teens finding themselves in New York.
The constant swearing really put me off because it also seemed like the authors thought teens just swear.
The overall theme of finding someone and falling in love is nice, although unrealistic as I don’t believe responsible parents would allow their child, let alone someone else’s, out all night.
The book was plain and felt rushed, like they had to meet a deadline. Don’t get me wrong, I love David’s books but this one has put me off reading anything else of Rachel Cohn’s.
The thing I find the most absurd is that at the start of the night, Nick and Norah are still hung up on their exes but by the next morning they’ve fallen for each other. It just seems a bit far fetched. I did watch the movie before reading the book and both are very different and I definitely enjoyed the film more than the book.
However, if you are looking for a short read set in the heart of New York and you’re a big punk rock music fan, then this is the book for you. 
I’m going to rate this book 1.5/5☆
Don’t forget to tell me what you thought of the book down below ⇣
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