The Last Days Of Us explores themes of perseverance, heartbreak and loss through the story of five teenagers who are on a road trip towards Melbourne to attend a gig. Despite the short duration of the trip, they grow and learn to appreciate that life can be short and that it’s important to appreciate every day.
The book focusses on the perspective of Zoey, who has endured a rough path within the last six months. Since losing her brother in a tragic car accident, she’s put herself on a reckless path towards self-destruction. This resulted in losing her boyfriend, who then moved onto dating her best friend. Zoey has come to the realisation that her party-girl side isn’t her being her true-self, and is more of a facade she used to deal with the hurt of losing her brother. Along with her ex and best friend, Luc and Jolie, who are her ex’s cousins, join the road trip. Whilst dealing with the awkwardness of watching her ex and best friend engage in PDA, she finds herself becoming close to Luc. Luc sees her for her true self and looks past the rumours of her reputation.
Throughout different stages of the book, we see Zoey develop significantly. Initially, she was adamant that winning her ex back was going to make her happy. But she quickly realises that chasing the past is not always a wise decision, even if he is a great guy — part of growing older and maturing is realising that you can’t search for something that once was, you need to evolve. The author was able to depict this period of discovery authentically, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Zoey’s frame of mind change as the road trip progressed closer to Melbourne.
Though the love story between Zoey and Luc will make you eager to turn the page to see what will happen next, romance isn’t a dominating force of this book. It instead shows the pursuit of self-discovery, especially in the face of loss. It also represents the different ways young people deal with adversity — including Zoey’s use of partying and drinking as a form of escapism, Luc’s determination to maintain strength and Jolie's positivity despite her circumstances.
The Last Days Of Us is a raw and honest story about dealing with hardship and adversity and the silver lining that is waiting on the other side.
Release date: December 18th 2017 by Harlequin Australia
(I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)