Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Famous Last Words

FAMOUS LAST WORDS
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Contemporary Young Adult
288 pages
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.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5
 

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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.

40 comments:

  1. This book sounds just adorably cute! This sounds like a great read that I'd be able to fly through quickly, just because Sam seems like a motivated character. And although there isn't a real conflict in this story, I'd like to read about the simple day-to-day summer life of Sam's. I'm going to have to pick this one up when it comes out, thanks for the beautiful review, Jenny!

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    1. It was adorably cute Jen! I really enjoyed it:) It was nice not having anything monstrously dramatic to deal with.

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  2. You kept telling me about this book and nw I finally need a copy for myself! This sounds light and fun and cute and I just love books like this!

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    1. You do Danny! You'll like this one for sure:)

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  3. I have seen this book around and yes it sounds like a great summer read. Easy and readable. Only I like my books a bit more intense. Not in sense of drama but with romance and so on. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. I'm a romance girl too, and I think you'll be happy with the romance in this one. It's not NA intense, but it's really cute:)

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  4. Famous Last Words sounds like such an adorable read Jenny. The way you've mentioned Sam, she reminds me a lot of Rose from the Confessions series and how too she was also trying to make sense of her life. Thank you for putting this book on my radar Jenny, it sounds like the perfect Summer read!

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    1. It's definitely a perfect Summer/vacation read. Easy to blow through in a couple hours, and Sam did remind me of Rose a bit! Loved her:)

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  5. Aw! This sounds right up my alley (and not only because she's interning at a newspaper!). I like that she's adorably clueless and that it's not a frustrating kind of clueless. FUN!

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    1. No, it's the believable type of clueless. She honestly just doesn't see it, and he's not obvious about it. I just wanted to give her a nudge though!

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  6. Oh, I actually love the sound of this one, Jenny! It's nice to have a break from some of the heavier reads every now and again, huh? Plus, there seems to be a tangible innocence to the MC, and I find that lacking in a lot of contemporary YA, so I'm adding this to my list, for sure. Wonderful review :)

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    1. Exactly. This book was just what I was in the mood for and I so enjoyed it:)

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  7. I always appreciate witty banter in my books! This sounds really good, I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago as a WoW and I have wanted it ever since. I love that it isn't very romance heavy but the undertones are still there. Great review!

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    1. Yes! The book is definitely mostly about Sam and her figuring things out which I loved, but there's a subtle romance and I really loved that as well:)

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  8. Sounds like a great, fun read. Maybe a good beach read! If I didn't already have a stack of 50 books to read this summer, I would be hunting this down!

    Can I also say I'm not a fan of that cover? Has a very ... MG feel to it. Maybe it's the font...?

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    1. The cover does suggest a younger MC or MG story, but it does suit the feel of the book. I didn't think she read too young though:)

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  9. This is definitely my kind of read, Jenny! It sounds like such a cute contemporary book and I'm particularly interested in the witty banter between between Sam and AJ. Also, I think it's great that the family plays a big role in this book!
    I'll definitely be checking this one out when it comes out next week!
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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  10. This sounds great, Jenny! I've added it to my recommendations list for the next time I need a lighthearted contemporary. :D

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  11. Jenny, this sounds like a great fun read. A good light heart contemporary can do me some good this summer. :) Thanks for the great review.

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  12. This sounds like a great read! I'm really enjoying reading contemporary novels right now. It must be a summer thing. :)

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  13. It is nice to have a simple fun read every now and then. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds great, I am glad you enjoyed it so much.

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  14. This is something that just makes me feel good inside when you mentioned that you didn't feel like something enormous happened, but still you enjoyed it thoroughly. I feel like sometimes I miss these kinda books where we have a cute story with a relatable, adorable MC and just enjoy the story without a drak past or an accident etc happening. Hon, you had me at cursh and evolving friendship ;-) I want to meet AJ and Sam alreadyyy:)

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  15. This sounds like a great coming of age book, and I love that she interns for a newspaper. So glad you enjoyed this and sometimes this type of plot makes the perfect summer read!

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  16. Sounds adorable, Jenny! I think the teens at my library would love this one. They're always on the lookout for new romances. I think it's perfect for vacation reads. :)

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  17. Now this is a book I would have passed by otherwise. This is why I find myself worrying about coming to your blog. You always find a way to get me to want something I wouldn't have picked up. This does sound delightful and I'm about to delve into something dark. I should get this so I have something light at the end of that darkness!

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  18. Sounds like a cute read...probably not one I would rush out to buy but it would probably be a fun weekend read!

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  19. I am still on my summer reads kick and this one would fit perfectly. I really think we need more of these lighter, fun reads, There are far too many angsty reads out there right now and I am all about light and fluffy now that it is summer! I will add this to the heap!

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  20. Glad that the MC's obliviousness regarding AJ's interest in her isn't frustrating to read. And yay for witty banter! That's always fun.

    Nice review :)

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  21. AJ's band name has me cracking up! Love Gas? So unusual :D I've seen this book around but I never really stopped along enough to read what was it about. And I'm asking myself why! This sounds like such a cute read that I would definitely enjoy. Plus, I love feel good books. Can't go wrong with that. Great review, Jenny!

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  22. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds so adorable! I'll have to give it a try for sure!(:

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  23. This seems sooo good. I love light books to take the stress away from our daily lives, but more often than not the MC just annoys the hell out of me! I'm glad that Sam is not too mature or annoying. It's really hard to find a likeable teenage protagonist, eh?! :/ I love coming-of-age novels, where there's not much action, but it still feels kind of exciting and where the character goes on a journey, so this one seems right up my alley! Fabulous review as always, Jenny! I'm so picking this up next visit to the bookstore or library. <3 x

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  24. Thanks for the recommendation--I'll check it out!

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  25. This is the first I'm hearing of this one! Ohhh, how cute. These nice and easy comfort reads can go one of two ways with me: either they're too simplistic and thus boring for my liking, or they're easy to read, but still entertaining. And I think this one might fall under the latter! It just sounds fun and easily likeable. Thanks for introducing me to this one, Jenny, and of course well done on this review!

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  26. This does sound like a great mood-lifter. And also a good summer read! I seem to gravitate to books like this when the sun comes out. I haven't read too much about it, but your review is more than convincing alone. I'll definitely check this out. Glad you enjoyed it, Jenny!

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  27. I just read her other book not long ago (reviewed Sunday I think) and loved it so I really want to read this! I'm glad it was really funny and a lot of fun!

    I'm still on vacation but had a minute to check in and do a little bit of blog commenting before we take off on another exciting day of fun!

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  28. I love a good comfort read! This sounds like a cute pick me up, and I'm sure I'll have need of one soon given my list of tbr books over the next week. I should make some room for this one! Lovely review Jenny :-)

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  29. This sounds like such a cute read and a good one to pick up in between some darker/thicker novels. I read her other book, How My Summer Went Up in Flames, which was also a fun and quick read. I should get a copy for my classroom library- I think my students would like this one! Thanks for the great review!

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