New York Times–bestselling author Jacqueline West captivates readers with a dark, hypnotic story about the cost of talent—and the evil that lurks just out of sight. Fans of Holly Black and Victoria Schwab will be mesmerized by this gorgeous, magnetic novel. High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home. When strange things start happening to Anders, blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to sacrifice to get what they want? Told from Anders’s and Thea’s dual points of view, this exquisitely crafted novel is full of unexpected twists and is for fans of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest and Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.
exciting and well-paced YA fantasy with some thriller/mystery elements
LAST THINGS is a YA fantasy that follows two teens, Anders and Thea, in alternating points-of-view. Anders is the vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter for the metal band, Last Things, which also includes his BFFs Patrick and Jezz. Anders’s talent is world-class, bigger than the small town where he lives and plays. Together (but mostly with Anders’s feelings), they decided not to make any money from their playing until after they graduate high school, when Anders plans to take a year off while they try to make it big.
Thea is potentially a stalker. She follows Anders around town and goes to every show (though pretty much all the teens in town go to all the shows). She knows there is something darker at play here, hiding in the woods. No one else can see what she sees and she lurks in the shadows, not really drawing attention to herself. She lives with her Aunt Mae, who maybe has visions of the future, and who most of the people in town have written off as insane. They barely have enough money to get by.
Whether Thea is actually a stalker and what the darker things mean for Anders is slow-building with reveals and more information coming slowly, mostly towards the end of the book. The book is well-written, making the reader question what they know and who knows what throughout.
What I loved: This is a light thriller which is shrouded in mystery, and as such, it is quite the page turner. I was completely driven to find out what was going to happen and who everyone really was. The pacing is quite artistic, slowly increasing throughout the book to the intense ending/escalation. The premise and characters were really fascinating- I could easily have spent more time in this well-crafted world.
What left me wanting more: As a small thing, there are still some unanswered questions in the book While this was most likely intentional and allows one to draw their own conclusions on some things, I did want some more information on certain characters. I will say that most of the plotlines are drawn to a close and we get many answers in the book, so it is not a cliffhanger or open ending.
Final verdict: Overall, this is a masterfully paced YA fantasy/light thriller that will keep the reader guessing and second-guessing. I would highly recommend for fans of supernatural books with shrouds of mystery.