Sunday, June 7, 2015

ARC Review: Last Year's Mistake

Title: Last Year's Mistake 
Author: Gina Ciocca
 Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Source: ARC from Simon Pulse
Goodreads | Amazon

Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go...

Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.

My Review

When I first saw Last Year's Mistake on Goodreads, I thought it would make for a cute and quick read. It took me a while to convince myself that I was really going to read it, and when I did, I put in for an ARC request. I was surprised but oh-so-happy when it showed up at my door, but the happiness was short lived.

Sadly, I did not finish Gina Ciocca's debut novel. I just had a lot of problems with the first quarter of the book, and I couldn't make myself finish the rest, despite still not knowing what Kelsey's mistake was. But I'm okay with that because the book isn't that great.

First things first - It's set up as a Before and After story. The before sections take place before Kelsey's mistake, so you get to know Kelsey the summer before she starts high school and during her freshman year (that's as far as I got). The after chapters take place after Kelsey's family moves and you get to see her and her new friends during their senior year of high school. Despite these two sections being completely different, I still felt confused. I think it would have helped to make Before Kelsey a bit more immature in her narration, but After Kelsey is just as immature.

Now... the reason why I DNFed the book is Kelsey's immaturity. When I read YA, I'm not looking for a mature and wonderful protagonist. I just want to look for someone who is realistically flawed but still a good role model for teens. I cannot say that for Kelsey because she has a slut-shaming attitude, and it really angered me. There are many times in the first quarter of the novel when she snidely comments on her best friend's dating habits, but this comment made me stop dead in my tracks:
"So why did I want nothing more than to hurl something heavy and blunt directly at her head and tell her to keep her whore slut hands off him?"
Obviously I would not recommend this novel, but I can see it being more popular with the younger readers of YA. I just can't and won't stand behind characters who do things that I do not stand for, and slut shaming is just one of the things that needs to be eradicated from books and the media.

Would I read something else from Gina? Absolutely! I might even revist this one at a later date. I think her writing really reflects the mindset of a teenager, and it's entertaining. I didn't want to stop reading Kelsey's story because of how realistic the writing is, but that one small thing just ruined it for me.

Gina Ciocca is a member of the blogging group YA Misfits. Last Year's Mistake is her debut novel. She lives in Georgia with her family.
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  1. I am sorry to see that you DNFed this one. I've been seeing it around a lot and it seems like an okay read, so I may still give it a read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. I really thought I'd like it too, but those types of things just bother me for some reason. I think it's because I'm a teacher and I hear girls talk about one another like that all the time, and it's just so upsetting.

    If you can get past the shaming, I say read it. The writing is rather enjoyable, but I was just clashing with the narrator too much.

  3. Sorry you didn't enjoy it! I do plan on read this book so hopefully I don't DNF it. The plot seemed so interesting but it looks like its the characters that really got you. Hope you like it the second time though.

    Also, love this new blog design! It looks so awesome and I bet the person who made it just as awesome. ;)

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

  4. Thanks, Kaitlin. I was kind of bummed, but I really did figure it would be best to take my self away from it before I got really annoyed.

    You'll have to let me know what you think of it. Like I said, the writing is really good, and it's a quick read. I just didn't like the main character. :(

    Bahahaha. You're too funny! But yes... the person behind the design is pretty much awesome! ;)

  5. I just bought this book! Ah, I hope I don't hate it! Sorry it didn't work for you! And loooove the new blog look!! :)

  6. I really hope you enjoy it because parts of it were really good.

    In parts of it, the main character is really, really young, and I've found that I enjoy older YA (16-18) a lot more. But the older version of the MC finally did me in with that quote. I was bummed because it's really well-written.

    I'm hoping I go back to it one of these days, and do a Redo Review, but it just wasn't for me. :(


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