Review: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Book Blurb

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

“Everything is not what you think.”

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Lizzie Grant is shocked to come face to face with Jason Sullivan.  He was her neighbor and best friend growing up.  He is now out on parole.  She is surprised to find out from him especially since Innis knew and didn’t tell her.  She would have liked time to prepare herself.  Jason is now an outcast after what he did to Innis’ brother, but he was Liz’s best friend until eighth grade.  She has so many memories of him and his dad.
She tries to stay away from him.  She even promises her mother and sister Lyla.  She knows what she wants.  That is Innis and not Jason.  However she starts questioning everything.  Something about that horrible night is unknown.  Jason is very cryptic and refuses to talk about it.  Then others learn Liz is talking to Jason and Innis takes matters into his own hands.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book.  I knew right away I didn’t like Liz.  I didn’t like how snobby she was.  Her goal was to land The Innis Taylor.  It was the ultimate climb up the social ladder.  I was pretty much disgusted as I read about it.
I liked how Jason entered the picture and confused her.  It really complicated everything.  At first she fought it and gave into pressures. She came across as such a weak character for that.  It didn’t help her likability in my eyes.  Then when she figured out what she really wanted and began fighting for it, I began to like her.  She became more independent and accountable for what she thought.  The author finally gave her the use of her own brain.  I realize family pressures are difficult to go against which is why I could not stand her mother.  I couldn’t find anything relatable to that character as she annoyed me the whole book.  I really wanted to slap her.

The storyline, however, was the saving grace in this book.  I did like how Jason was enemy number one and Liz was the one who found out the truth.  I liked the second half of the story better than the first half.  I give it a 3 out of 5.

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