Whenever I pick up a book, I read the back cover summary. In most cases, the summary makes it clear who the main character is going to be, and a small background of their life and the conflict they will face. The point of the back cover summary is to make you root for the main character, and that was what the back cover of “The Last Boy and Girl in the World” by Siobhan Vivian did. I was expecting an adventurous tale about two high schoolers falling in love before a giant flood wrecks their town, and a main character who charmed readers and made the most of her last few days in her town. Instead, I was completely surprised. “The Last Boy and Girl in the World” is about Keeley, a narcissistic high school junior, as she and her community prepare for a flood that drives them all out of Aberdeen, Pennsylvania. In the beginning, I rooted for Keeley, and thought this book would have a cliche happy ending with no flood at all, dismissing her personality flaws and disrespectful attitude towards everyone. But as the plot developed, I couldn’t stand to see Keeley as a protagonist anymore. She was nowhere close to endearing, and her extreme flaws proved consequential when it really mattered. The book followed her drowning relationship with her best friend, her dad’s power-hungry struggle with the local government, and her fatal attraction to a too-daring boy, which made her last days in Aberdeen a little stormier than necessary. The author wrote Keeley’s character beautifully, fully exposing all of her flaws and bad decisions as the story went on, making it purposefully less and less easy to see her as a protagonist. I credit Vivian with having no reservations to giving Keeley an unlikeable personality, because it gave the book a sense of honesty, showing that not everyone you think you should root for actually ends up being who you thought they were. I admired the way the author showcased the realness of the end of relationships, and didn’t sugar coat the struggle that outgrowing someone can be. I really appreciated the unexpected character development, and how different the book was from how I expected it to be from just reading the back cover summary. This book is sure to satisfy readers yearning for a story about a misguided girl getting what she deserved, and not having it end with the sunshine you’d expect.
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian
November 17, 2016