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Young Adult Fiction 34
charming YA contemporary
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LAST CHANCE DANCE is a heartfelt YA contemporary. Leila has been one half of the best couple since before she started ninth grade when a chance meeting with a boy at the store led to the best first date (and only) of her life. She and Dev have been the perfect couple for four years, and they are still very in love and planning how they will make long distance work in college.

However, out of the blue, Dev breaks things off a few weeks before graduation. Leila is completely heartbroken, but her BFF Bree reminds her that the Last Chance Dance is coming up and might be a great way for her to stretch her single wings. The Last Chance Dance is when seniors submit a list of their crushes and also fill out a small survey. They have the potential to be matched with three of their crushes as well as a wildcard from the survey algorithm. They then date around and get to decide who (if anyone) they want to attend the dance with.

Leila finds she gets four matches, and her wildcard is her enemy, so she decides she has three chances to find a date to the dance. Dev has wasted no time in moving on, so she is going to do her best too. As she experiences the dates, Leila begins to learn more about herself and what she wants, as well as others she may have overlooked in the past.

What I loved: This was an enthralling story about finding yourself and determining what you want. Leila's life has been defined in a lot of ways by her long-term relationship with Dev. She loves Dev and is happy with him - but when she starts going on other dates, she learns that what she wants and going for it is important as well. Leila away from Dev is not the same person as in the relationship. While these changes may be subtle, they end up being important as well.

Themes around kindness, second chances, family, falling in love, healing, and dealing with breakups are all really well done in the story. Leila's family is a bit complicated, as her view on love was formed by her parents' divorce. She also has a 10yo sister, who is into documenting everything, and while this can be annoying, she still loves her deeply. Her friendship with Bree is also really strong, and while they have some missteps, it's always great to see such a strong friendship.

While the beginning of the book was heart-wrenching, bringing the pain of the breakup to life for the reader, the rest of the book was much more uplifting about healing and second chances. It was quite an unputdownable read, and I ended up reading it in only a couple sittings. I found the story to be very compelling and perfectly paced.

Final verdict: LAST CHANCE DANCE is a delightful YA contemporary that makes for a fantastic read about love, healing, and finding your own way. Highly recommend picking this one up!
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