Book Review: Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah

Hi Everyone!  It’s Becky.  I just finished the audio book of the new David Levithan and Rachel Cohn collaboration and here are my thoughts.

26258314.jpgTitle: Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah
Author: David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Format Note: I listened to the audio book.

Summary: With college looming just off in the distance twins Sam and Ilsa are preparing for their lives to change .  They will be separating for the first time with their life paths going in very different directions.  But before they say goodbye to each other they must say goodbye to their grandmother’s fabulous rent control apartment with one final dinner party.  Together they gather six guest (three each) to have one last hurrah.

Review:  The entire time I listened to this audio book I tried to figure out why it wasn’t quite working for me.  The book has a very interesting premise, an entire story taking place during a dinner party which throws together friends, former loves, and strangers who are forced into arguments and bonding.  This is the kind of story that I would happily watched in a movie format especially if it stars a cast of twenty somethings on the cusp of stardom.  It would make a great learning how to be an adult movie which is, what I have finally decided, is the problem with this book.  “Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah” isn’t a book about learning how to adult but instead it is trying to be a coming of age teen book and it just didn’t work.  The characters do not feel like teenagers but instead feel like hipsters in their twenties trying to deal with life after college.  The entire books feels a little like the characters are putting on an over the top theater production, which is fine, except it is a production that many reader may not want to watch with it’s staged dialog and overwrought actions.  Yet, there is potential here.  I did find myself caring about Sam and my wanting to learn what path he chose in life compelled me to keep reading.  Yet, the same can not be said for his counterpart (costar?) Ilsa who never moved beyond a sullen stereotype.  The story was compelling enough to get me to the however I was left wishing the book had just been about Sam and not the wacky cast of characters that joined him at the dinner party.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5

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