I've been reading Nicholas Sparks books for about ten years. I'm a fan. Still, I know there's a point in each book where I'm going to have to pull out a box of tissues and bawl my eyes out. I know it's coming, but I'm never quite ready for it. It always takes me a few days to recover from the loss, but I never stop thinking about the characters and their journey. And that's exactly how I felt about his new book, The Last Song (September 8, Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group).
Seventeen-year-old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller is angry. Her parents got divorced three years ago, and her Dad moved to Wilmington, NC. She hasn't spoken to him since. She acts out by rebelling against her Mom's rules, breaking curfew, shoplifting, letting her grades drop, and quitting piano lessons.
Her Mom decides that it would be best if Ronnie and her brother Jonah spend the summer in Wilmington with their Dad, Steve, a former teacher and concert pianist.
Jonah is excited! Ronnie just wants to put as much distance between her and her Dad as possible.
Jonah and Steve spend days flying kites and working on creating a stained-glass window for a local church.
Ronnie's time in Wilmington isn't much different than her time in New York--she stays out late, tries to start fights with her Dad, refuses to play the piano (or be anywhere near one), and gets arrested.
Betrayal by a friend and first love with the town heartthrob, help Ronnie let her guard down and open her heart to the people around her, leading to an incredibly emotional summer. She learns that when you open your heart to the joys of love, you're also opening it to the pain of love.
Sparks, as always, did a fantastic job creating realistic characters that I cared about and rooted for. With The Last Song, I was transported to the beach, where, like Ronnie, I met complex people, made great friends, fell in love, and had my heart broken. I didn't want the journey to end.