The Last To Die
By: Kelly Garrett
Thriller / YA
Opening Line: “I’m about the same height as Sara Dietz, with the same shoulder length brown hair, so I knew no one would pay attention as I broke into her house.”
Overall: The plot for this book sounded so interesting. A group of rich, bored, teenage friends decide to add some excitement to their lives by robbing each other’s houses when the other’s families go out of town. They do it just for the thrill of it, and they decide on rules as to what they can steal. And then, one of them dies. That sounds like a good book, right? That is why I bought it! So, in this book there is a friend group of privileged, private school teens: Harper, Gin, Alex, Benji, Sarah, and Paisley. They are bored just hanging out drinking, and decide to start a game where when one of their families goes out of town, two of the other friends will burglarize their home. They all agree on ground rules, such as you can’t steal anything inherited or irreplaceable. They start the game and do the break-ins, but then, of course, even that gets boring. So, to raise the stakes, they branch-out to breaking-in to other kid’s homes from their school who they know are out of town. But, then things quickly get out of control, and one of the friends is found dead. There are questions surrounding the death. Did they accidentally overdose, did they commit suicide, or were they murdered? While Harper is trying to figure exactly what happened to her first friend who died, another person dies. Before someone else winds up dead, Harper now has to find out if the deaths connected, and if so why? Are they accidents or are they murder, and who is doing this and why?
Ovations: Well, this is a quick read, not a very long book, and that is a positive. The plot’s pace moves along fast and keeps you reading to find out what happens next. Harper’s little sister, Maggie, is deaf and there is a lot of sign language happening in the book to communicate with her. She seems like a very sweet girl, the only likeable character in the book really. So, I like the inclusion of her into the story.
Oh Well: Where do I even start?! The main character, Harper, is totally unlikeable. She is mean, bitchy, spoiled, uncaring, superior and rude. The rest of the kids in her friend group are not likeable either. They are supposedly friends from the same swanky neighborhood who have known each other for a long time, but they are not nice to each other at all. They say mean things to each other constantly and treat each other badly. They really do not seem to care about each other at all. Some of them actually seem to want bad thing to happen to the others. I don’t know any long-time friend group like that in real life! If the author would have fully developed the characters and made them into interesting or complex people, maybe we would understand why they behave that way, but that was not done. All the teenager’s parents were written as totally clueless, flat characters. Also, the reasons for the murders are never explained. There was no real mystery solved. There were no relevant clues, yet Harper is convinced that she knows what is going on. But, we have no explanations as to why she thinks that way for sure. However, the ending is the worst part. It suddenly jumps to several months later, and the ending that is given is not really explained. It does not make sense. You only get to find out what happened to a few of the friends at the end of the book. There is absolutely no explanations as to what happened to the rest of them! Some of them are not even mentioned!
Opinion: This was the debut novel by Kelly Garrett. (Not the fictional detective from Charlie’s Angels! lol) Anyway, I will not waste my time reading any more books by her in the future. The idea for the plot of this book was really promising. This could have been a really great thriller / murder mystery. Unfortunately, this book was awful. The whole group of friends were uncaring, spoiled, terrible people. They mystery of the reasons for the deaths was never explained. The ending felt very rushed and incomplete. We did not even get to find out what happens to each of the friends in the end. Just a very disappointing book. Rating 2 out of 10