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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros


Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing Amara (February 26, 2019)

From Goodreads.com: Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I have been staring at this review for some time now, walking away and coming back to it, trying to figure out where best to begin. I suppose like all things, I should start at the beginning. 

The synopsis does not do this book justice. In fact it doesn't even scratch the surface. So all readers will go into this, like I did, not knowing what to expect other than Ryan is going to die. 

What it doesn't tell you is that this book will wreck your emotions, make you cry,  and (if you're anything like me) make you mad in the process. Seriously. As well written as this novel was, as much as it dealt with some very real and very hard to handle facts, this book pissed me off. 

Here is what the synopsis doesn't tell you. 

In a roundabout way Ryan is the one that brings his sister Ella and his best friend Beckett (call sign Chaos) together. He suggests she write to him and she does, and for some reason he responds. So this single mom of two kids that she had at the tender age of 19 (while married to an asshole) becomes a "pen pal" to a jaded soldier who is so special ops that he technically doesn't exist. Each chapter contains a letter from one to the other, allowing the reader to get a glimpse into how their relationship started. Except, when Ryan dies and Beckett makes it to Ella, he doesn't tell her who he is. He doesn't tell her that he stopped writing to her because he blamed himself for Ryan's death. He doesn't tell her that he stopped writing to her because he didn't want to hurt her anymore. Or that he had fallen in love with her simply through her letters. All things that can be forgiven. 

Instead he chooses to spend the first half of the book breaking down the barriers she keeps around herself, proving to her that he is there for her and won't leave. When she can't afford the life saving treatment her cancer stricken daughter needs, he ADOPTS them. Granted, he wanted to marry her, but she didn't trust him enough with herself. Her kids were fine though I guess because it meant his insurance would basically pay to keep her daughter alive. 

And then they find out he's being investigated for fraud. After all, its not every day someone adopts a child without marrying the mother, thus claiming them on their insurance and costing their company something like half a million dollars. And when the agent that is charged with "investigating" them declares that without proof he was invested in them before Ryan died she is going to do everything she can to tie them up in red tape (thus denying payment and claims on treatment still needed for the daughter's health) - Beckett comes clean. He shows the investigator the letters exchanged between himself and Ella. He shoes her the photos the twins had drawn for him. 

And what does he get in exchange for doing what was needed to ensure her daughter's continued care? He gets Ella telling him she can't trust him because he is nothing but a liar and not only telling him she never wants to see him again, but taking away his access to the children as well. 

Way to be an ungrateful, selfish bitch there Ella. You can call him a liar, justify it in any way that helps you sleep at night, but the fact remains Beckett spent months trying to prove he would be there, he adopted the kids, did everything a father should. And yet she still throws him out of their life. 

So Beckett spends more of the book trying to prove to her once again that he is there for her and the kids, and will be there. Her daughter is declared to be in remission. And finally. FINALLY. She starts to let him in. 

And then 

SPOILER ALERT

The son dies. Yup. After death has been hanging over the sister throughout the entire novel. After the reader has had time to mentally prepare themselves for her death. It is the brother that dies. And in the most freak accident ever. In a place a child never should have allowed to have been in if things like that could happen. Honestly, I was surprised there wasn't a lawsuit mentioned after. What school takes kids on a trip where there is a risk of falling off a cliff? Even if Colt didn't exactly fall off the cliff, the danger was already there. Even the ending didn't seem like a happily ever after. Sure Beckett and Ella are together, but as she tells her brother during a visit to his grave, she found an engagement ring, but hopes he doesn't ask her yet. AFTER ALL OF THAT YOU STILL DON'T WANT TO MARRY THIS MAN? I had a real hard time connecting with her.

All things considered, I feel this author did a great job portraying survivor's guilt and the demons soldiers of any kind battle upon returning home. I would have enjoyed this story more if one Ella hadn't been such a cold harpy, and two, I would have been prepared for the spoiler. This book didn't make me feel happy, and that was a real problem. 

DISCLAIMERI received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                       The Last Letter is available from Amazon.com

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