I recently finished reading a book titled The Last Summer of Us by Welsh author Maggie Harcourt…
I found out about Maggie and her novel from the events page of The Hay Festival’s website, and I had planned to attend her talk to get an insight on the author as well as the story. However, I was busy filming at the cider festival that weekend and couldn’t attend, and I was gutted when I realised she wouldn’t be there this weekend of the 30th.
I bought the story because it was rooted in Welsh roots, and being Welsh myself I wanted to read about Welsh characters, in a Welsh environment created and written by a Welsh author. I also bought it because being a writer myself, I like to be familiar with different genres and authors.
It’s described as being a perfect summer read, and the perfect summer road trip book. But it is so much more than that.
The story centres on three characters – Limpet, Steffan and Jarred. It’s all about three teenagers who are the closest of friends, but all have their own secrets and problems concealed from one another.
Maggie Harcourt manages to create a believable teenage friendship. You believe these characters and you really get immersed in their chemistry. By the first couple of chapters you feel like you know these characters as well, like they’re your friends and you’re cramped with them in the rust bucket.
A simple concept, and humble characters, the story leaves you feeling warm and happy. And when hints begin to surface of secrets being kept from each other, you get hooked and want to find out what’s going to happen.
Is this the last road trip journey these three best friends will take together?
But as well as friendship being a key theme, there’s romance in the air, too. And although it doesn’t get too full on, the beginning hints of what could be leaves you wishing Harcourt would write a follow up.
When I finished the book, I felt like I had lost my friends. I felt like I had finished talking to them, and that was that. But I want to know more about Limpet, Steffan and Jarred. I want to know what came before their road trip and what came after.
I worry I’ve already said too much, but it’s hard not picking out what’s good about it because there’s so much to talk about. I suggest you buy the novel yourself and take a read. Go and make some friends and follow their happy journey. You won’t regret it.