The Last Time We Were Us is my first book by Leah Konen. I have to admit that I was drawn in with the gorgeous cover, and the blurb. I am such a sucker for friends to lovers stories, and this one sounded like one I just couldn't pass up. Unfortunately this wasn't all what I had been expecting or hoping for.
Liz Grant is ready for the summer of a lifetime with her friend MacKenzie, hoping to make the popular Innis Taylor her boyfriend. But when her childhood best friend Jason Sullivan is released from juvie, Liz finds herself unable to stay away from him even though everyone tells her she should. Their friendship rekindled, Liz and Jason find themselves feeling more for each other than they ever have before. Liz always believed that Jason wasn't capable of what they said he did that sent him to juvie, but when the truth finally comes out how many more people will be hurt?
I didn't like Liz from the start, and that made it really hard to connect at all with this story. Liz was a whiny immature brat, and seemed to be all about herself. She was so judgmental and she just didn't care about anyone but herself and it was hard to care about someone that doesn't care about their actions and how they affect others. The romance here felt like it was never fully developed. Liz is all about Innis until she lands him, and then all of a sudden she wants Jason. It just felt so childish and immature. The forbidden aspect seemed to be forced, and was more based on the public perception of Jason rather than anything between him and Liz actually being forbidden. It just didn't really work for me.
I also really didn't like the ending. Without spoiling anything, the ending felt so forced to me and was unrealistic. I understood what the author was trying to do to get people to forgive Jason and make them supportive of a relationship between him and Liz, but the incident just seemed completely out of character and thrown in just for the sake of drama. It didn't feel genuine at all, and I really think that it was just done to get everyone on Liz and Jason's side. I finished this book hoping for something to happen, and it did. It just wasn't what I had been hoping for, and unfortunately this book just felt like it could have been so much shorter with the same end result. It felt redundant and repetitive, and I honestly didn't feel invested at all. While this book didn't work for me, that isn't to say it won't work for you. It could just be me and my own issues, but I think that if you are looking for a YA novel about friends falling in love there are better choices out there that don't feel forced or have characters that are as unlikable as the ones here.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**