Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Contemporary Young Adult
Henry Holt and Co.
Available July 2nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum” (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up?
As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and most important—herself.
Famous Last Words is a completely satisfying comfort read, a beautifully simplistic story about finding something that ignites passion and drive, and embracing the things that passion teaches us about ourselves. There’s very little drama, romance or otherwise; it’s more a delightful romp in the day-to-day life of Sam as she stumbles through a summer internship, a crush, and an evolving friendship in completely adorable fashion, and though nothing momentous or epic takes place, our time with her feels valuable and well spent regardless.
Sam doesn’t read either overly mature or frustratingly young for her age, instead she seems to fit her sixteen-going-on-seventeen years perfectly, at times fully dedicated to her new job and making herself a better writer while also easily distracted by a cute boy. She has her eyes wide open and yet wears blinders at the same time, her intuition about one of the reporter’s cases and her determination to get the answers he can’t a direct contrast to her complete obliviousness to fellow intern AJ’s interest in her. Granted we have the benefit of outside perspective and AJ masks his feelings well, but we just want to reach in and give her a little shake at times to hopefully reset her focus, providing new perspective so she no longer sees only what's on the periphery and finally gets a glimpse at what’s right in front of her.
Luckily for us Sam’s obliviousness is not of the frustrating variety, rather she’s cutely clueless in the AJ department, and their witty banter combined with the ease they clearly feel with one another proves to be immensely gratifying. They have a few small spats and arguments here and there, but overall their relationship is tense with possibility instead of melodrama and misunderstanding, and it shares equal page time with Sam’s relationships with her family and best friend Shelby. The story itself is focused mostly on Sam herself as she comes to terms with the various pieces of her life taking on new shape and slotting themselves into place in an order different from what she might have expected at the beginning of the summer, and it's simply a pleasure to watch those new slots open up and welcome Sam in.
Overall, Famous Last Words is a quick and lovable read, a great go-to book to lift our spirits on a bad day or in between much darker books.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.