The Next to Last Mistake

Featured
 
5.0 (3)
 
0.0 (0)
1278 0
The Next to Last Mistake
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 19, 2019
ISBN
978-1611532647
Buy This Book
      

Tess Goodwin's life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated. Although she chooses to spend most of her free time playing chess with her best friend Zander, the farm-boy from next door, her skills as a bovine midwife and tractor mechanic ensure that she fits in with the other kids at East Chester High. But when her veteran father reenlists in the Army, moving her family halfway across the country to North Carolina, Tess is forced out of her comfort zone into a world she knows nothing about. Tess approaches the move as she would a new game of chess, plotting her course through the unfamiliar reality of her new life. While heeding Zander's long-distance advice for making new friends and strategizing a means to endure her dad's imminent deployment to the Middle East, she quickly discovers how ill-equipped she is to navigate the societal challenges she encounters and becomes convinced she'll never fit in with the students at her new school. When Leonetta Jackson is assigned as her mentor, she becomes Tess's unexpected guide through the winding labyrinth of cultural disparities between them, sparking a tentative friendship and challenging Tess to confront her reluctant nature. As the pieces move across the board of her upended life, will Tess find the acceptance she so desperately desires?

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (3)
Characters 
 
5.0  (3)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (3)
So Good!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
“Victory goes to the player who makes the next to last mistake. During a game of chess, you can make mistakes along the way and still come out ahead as long as you learn from that misstep and adjust accordingly.”

Tess’s bucolic life is uprooted when her dad decides to reenlist in the army.
When her family relocates to North Carolina, she leaves behind her beloved farm, her best friend Zander, and the only way of life she is ever known.
I first got a taste of this story when I read the prequel in ‘Mistletoe and Magic’. It was such a wonderful slice of life story about friendship and first love. It gave a glance into the underrepresented (in YA at least) view of farm life in America. Having loved the short story I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Tess.

There were so many topics in ‘The Next to Last Mistake’ that can apply to so many people. The biggies are first love, adapting to new places, military life, making new friends, meeting and making friends who are diverse. (I loved Tess’s friend group she makes in North Carolina).

As a character I loved Tess. She was a little naïve in the beginning but her character is so loveable. She is a chess-loving, nerd who is good at history and literature but bad at math. I loved how much she loved animals and how she was defensive of her friends. She was also upfront about her fears and shortcomings.

I thought it was great how Jahn portrayed Tess and her sister’s relationship. They are close but also constantly at each other’s throats as most teenage siblings are. There is also a twist that I didn’t see coming and ripped out my heart.

‘The Next to Last Mistake’ is a wonderful and refreshing look at how many teenagers struggle through new situations (with a beautiful cover by the way). Amazing characters, unique plot, interesting relationships make this a great read. I definitely would love a sequel and I can’t wait to see where Tess’ life takes her.
Good Points
Awesome topics. Page Turner. Great Characters
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
All the Feels
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This book... there aren't enough positive words to say about it.

The story:
Moving is the worst, but when you're a high school farm girl leaving everything you knew behind, it's much worse. This is Tess' life. When her father re-enlists in the military, the family must move from their sheltered Iowa town to a more southern city that serves as a bit of a culture shock. The story winds through Tess' new beginning as she's torn between the boy she left behind and the new, exciting life she's facing with friends she never thought she'd have.

What I loved:
Everything. This book makes you think about so many things, covering a multitude of important topics. Interracial friendships, what it means to be in the minority and that it's okay to ask questions, the hard life of families with loved ones in the military. It also explores young love at a distance and loss. There were many times I found myself questioning things I'd thought I'd known. It's such an important book. There are so few of those. It isn't merely entertainment. This is the kind of book that should be required reading in schools. Maybe then, kids would have a better understanding of their differences.

What was just okay:
I don't have anything for this category. Everything was perfect.

Final Verdict:
Amalie Jahn delivers a stellar tale to teach us about life. Good luck putting it down before you reach the very last page, because it's the kind of story you can't tear your eyes from.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Feeling Lost and Then Found
(Updated: January 14, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
'The Next to Last Mistake' by Amalie Jahn will have readers considering their own lives through a bittersweet lens as they work through feelings of security, happiness, separation, loss, and inequality, among others. Jahn has written a story that will resonate with readers of all ages, as main character Tess navigates the difficult task of uprooting her life due to her father's reenlistment in the military. While struggling to find a way to come to terms with her eventual separation from being a farm girl in Iowa and sharing her days with best friend Zander, she also wonders about the new life she doesn't know how she will acclimate to in Fayetteville, North Carolina. However, she finds strength she never knew she had, all while learning more about herself than she had even thought possible.

Tess finds that life sometimes turns out in unexpected ways as she makes the acquaintance of new friends at her new school, including Leonetta, the girl with whom she is partnered to help show her the ropes of her new school. She also finds herself facing off once again with the school mean girl, noting that certain types of people and cliques are ever present no matter where one goes in the world. Dealing with life and all of its intricacies through her love of chess, she finds metaphorical connections that shape her into a more well-rounded person.

Learning to cope with her father's day-to-day military jargon and life, along with the racial biases that she has never had to even think about due to the mostly homogeneous life she led in Iowa, forces her outside of her comfort zone at times. This is not only good for her, but inherently useful for readers, as it will make anyone think about these aspects of life long past reading the last page of the story.

Readers who love feeling right in the thick of it all, as though they can picture the setting and be dropped right into it, will love Jahn's writing. Whether smiling, gasping, tearing up, or feeling a smattering of all of these emotions, there is something that will make every reader stop and think about how to consider their own lives through Jahn's vivid words.
Good Points
Readers who love feeling right in the thick of it all, as though they can picture the setting and be dropped right into it, will love Jahn's writing. Whether smiling, gasping, tearing up, or feeling a smattering of all of these emotions, there is something that will make every reader stop and think about how to consider their own lives through Jahn's vivid words.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's Avery's senior year in high school, and she has...
Peppermint Post
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
'Twas the night before Christmas, when the North Pole's Peppermint...
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lauren Magaziner’s hilarious and high-stakes middle grade series gets a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
What's outside Pleasant Grove? Welcome to Pleasant...
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Reggie has never felt destined for greatness. He dreams about...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s a rebel with a cause… to make my...
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Fast and the Furious meets Transformers in the second...
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It’s a sleepy Saturday morning for most people, but not...
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas...
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The hilarious sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller,...
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
With tongue-twisty wordplay and escalating absurdity, this is a fall-down-funny...
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A LOVE POEM FROM A FATHER TO HIS TWO SONS,...
The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in The Faithless...
Zora's Zucchini
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first zucchini of a summer garden is always exciting,...
Libby Loves Science
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Libby loves science! In this STEM-themed picture book, a companion...
The Hidden Rainbow
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
All the colors of the rainbow are hidden in the...

Latest Member Reviews

Peppermint Post
 
5.0
"PEPPERMINT POST is an adorable new story about Christmas and Santa. The Peppermint Post is the busiest post office in..."
Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed, #2)
 
4.0
"STOLEN FROM THE STUDIO is a fun middle grade mystery with a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Carlos travels with his mother, a..."
The Wizenard Series: Season One
 
4.0
"THE WIZENARD SERIES: SEASON ONE is written by Wesley King and created by Kobe Bryant. The MG fantasy follows Reggie,..."
The Triumphant Tale of Pippa North
 
4.0
"THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF PIPPA NORTH combines magic and humor in a middle grade fantasy full of charm. Pippa is..."
TURBO Racers: Escape Velocity
 
4.0
"TURBO RACERS: ESCAPE VELOCITY is a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure. Mace Blazer is a TURBOnaut, a high-speed vehicle racer. He recently..."
Bread Lab!
 
4.0
"BREAD LAB! is a cute picture book that walks through the steps of making sourdough bread through the eyes of..."
A Thousand No's
 
3.5
"A THOUSAND NO'S is a cute picture book about the way that feedback can change an idea. A girl has..."
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
"RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on..."
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
"SHARKO AND HIPPO is a clever and comical book about two best friends who are going fishing for the day...."
Zora's Zucchini
 
5.0
"ZORA'S ZUCCHINI is a delightful picture book that explores growing vegetables and sharing with neighbors. Zora is a little bored..."
Libby Loves Science
 
4.5
"LIBBY LOVES SCIENCE is a cute picture book that brings a love of science to all the fun of ice..."
The Hidden Rainbow
 
5.0
"THE HIDDEN RAINBOW is a delightful picture book that combines counting, colors, and nature in a beautiful exploration. Each page..."
The Places We Sleep
 
5.0
"THE PLACES WE SLEEP is a moving middle grade historical that takes place around 9/11. The book is written entirely..."
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
 
3.0
"Paola “Pao” Santiago loves science and hanging out with her best friends, Emma and Dante. She doesn’t love how superstitious..."
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
"KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA is a picture book based on a true story about pursuing your goals and doing..."
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
"HARVEY HOLDS HIS OWN is a contemporary middle grade told from three perspectives: Maggie, Harvey, and Austin. Maggie is starting..."
Ghost Boys
 
5.0
"Jewell Parker Rhodes writes electrifying middle grade stories that pack emotion into every sentence, and GHOST BOYS showcases that skill..."
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
"AND THEN I TURNED INTO A MERMAID is a cute and funny middle grade fantasy that follows Molly. Molly is..."
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
"AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS is a compelling middle grade about dealing with death and loss. Army Morand absolutely adores..."
Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep: Baaad Hair Day
 
4.0
"SHEEP DOG AND SHEEP SHEEP: BAAAD HAIR DAY is a comical picture book about haircuts. Sheep has lovely curls that..."