The Last Forever
The Last Forever
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Catalog Number: #5564169
Format: Library Binding
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 336
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-442-45000-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-442-45000-4
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Six months after her mother's death, Tess and her father visit Parrish, home to Tess's grandmother. When grieving, fly-by-night Dad leaves, the town rallies around Tess, helping her save her mother's rare "pixiebell" plant. Caletti's deft hand with detail, the emotionally true writing, and a protagonist whose experience with love and loss is wholly absorbing make for an engaging book.
Publishers Weekly
After a trying bout with cancer, Tess-s mother has died, but she-s left behind a one-of-a-kind pixiebell plant. -My mother vowed that the last pixiebell would never die on her watch, and now that I have it, it isn-t going to die on mine, either,- Tess vows. When her impulsive, pot-smoking, less-than-dependable father takes her on an extended road trip to the Grand Canyon, Tess brings the plant with her, but keeping it alive during their journey through the desert is a struggle. Unexpectedly, Tess-s father brings her to the home of his mother, an artist Tess barely remembers. Tess is in for some life-changing lessons about old family grudges and secrets held by new acquaintances, including a boy who makes it his mission to help Tess save the withering pixiebell, and wins her heart in the process. Featuring sharp-witted first-person narration, some fascinating facts about plants and seeds, relatable characters, and evocative settings, Caletti-s (The Story of Us) inspiring novel eloquently depicts the nature of mutability. As with her previous books, this love story reverberates with honesty and emotion. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Tessa's mom recently died. Before her junior year of high school finishes for the summer, she and her dad leave on an impromptu road trip that leads them to a small coastal town in Washington State. Here, the teen is able to confront her feelings of loss and begin the task of accepting new family relationships, friendships, and a burgeoning romance. When her new buddies embark on a journey to help her save the one thing that is most important to her (her mother's plant), Tessa finds the power within to move on because "good things can sit in the distance, just beyond your view, waiting until you go toward it." Caletti creates a wonderfully unique voice in Tessa, filled with wit, confusion, and mature reflection. The mood isn't all somber and confusing; through realistic dialogue and even pacing, readers get a true sense of Tessa's growth as a young woman. Teens get to know the diverse cast of supporting characters through her lens, including a bisexual character. Each chapter opens with a seed description, and the climax relates to the fate of Tessa's mom's plant. It is through these devices that Caletti explores the idea of longevity and "lasting forever."&12; Stephanie DeVincentis, Downers Grove North High School, IL
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A despairing father and his 17-year-old daughter take an emotional journey together that brings redemption, hope and healing. Tessa's mother has recently died, and the teen is struggling to adjust to life with her loving but irresponsible pot-smoking dad, who is also fighting to right himself. To shake them from their spiritual stupors, her father suggests they take a spontaneous road trip—but there's a precious reminder of her mother that Tessa can't leave behind: a rare plant handed down by her grandfather and lovingly cared for by her mother. The trip ends at her grandmother Jenny's house, but the journey does not. While her father and Jenny try to repair old rifts, Tessa slowly warms, forming a new bond with her grandmother. Enter Henry, a kind, handsome library employee and fellow book geek who seems totally in sync with Tessa, but even as their relationship deepens, he inexplicably keeps her at arm's length. Meanwhile, Tessa's plant is withering, and she is desperate to keep it from dying. Henry and the library staff collectively join the frantic research—and the ending is so enchanting it's certain to reduce readers to bittersweet tears. Caletti's writing is seamless and fluid, rich with descriptions of Tessa's physical world as well as her inner ruminations. A story that proves there can, indeed, be life after death. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Can an impromptu road trip heal two broken hearts? It doesn't seem likely to Tess, who's lost her mother to cancer and now lives with her pot-smoking, tie-dye-wearing father; he's well meaning, if immature. But a road trip from San Bernardino to the Grand Canyon it is. Only her father doesn't stop there, continuing on to Oregon and then north to a small coastal town, home to his mother, Jenny, whom Tess hasn't seen in 15 years. Her father up and leaves Tess at Jenny's, off to who-knows-where, and she's forced to make sense of how to adjust to her new surroundings, while her heart remains very much at home and with her mother. Along for the ride is a rare plant pixiebell ich may be the last of its kind. It's survived since Tess's grandfather stole the seed at a party long ago and has moved with her mother through four decades; only now, under Tess' care, it's starting to wilt. When she meets Henry at the library, there's an instant attraction, and together, they work to save the pixiebell. At the start of each chapter is a short, explanatory chapter about a seed, which ties into the novel's theme of rebirth, healing, and growth. Caletti writes movingly here, particularly as Tess reflects on her mother's final days, and offers up a surprising story about love, loss, and putting down roots in a world that's constantly changing.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Caletti has a sizable fan base d they'll all be waiting.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Tessa, a junior in high school, has been having a hard time since her mother died a few months ago. So has her mother's last gift to her, a one-of-a-kind heirloom plant that Tessa must protect. When her father decides they should go on an unplanned adventure to the Grand Canyon, Tessa brings her mother's fragile plant along for the ride. Afterward, Tessa's father unexpectedly drops her off at her estranged grandmother's home on isolated Parrish Island, Washington. Even though she is not excited about being abandoned in a strange place, Tessa quickly finds her niche and a new boy to like at the library. The plant, however, does not take all the change well and starts to die. Tessa and her new friends find out some secrets about the plant and realize that she must preserve its seeds forever at the seed vault in snowy Longyearbyen, Norway.Though this read is not groundbreaking, it is enjoyable. Caletti uses plant names and detailed descriptions as epigraphs, which is a fresh way to introduce new themes and chapters. The central characters, though, are not very dynamic and are not detailed enough to elicit a strong reaction from readers when something happens to them. The ending comes fast, and many situations snowball together for a strong finish. The book avoids being like other romances in the genre and will appeal to Caletti's large reader base, as well as other teens looking for a light romance with some surprises.Morgan Brickey.
Word Count: 78,692
Reading Level: 4.7
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.7 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 169174 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q62576
Lexile: HL720L
The Last Forever

chapter one


Silene steophylla: narrow-leafed campion. Seeds from this delicate, white-flowered plant were found in a prehistoric rodent burrow in the Siberian permafrost. Scientists were able to successfully grow them, making these twenty-three-thousand-year-old seeds the oldest living ones ever discovered.

In those early months, when the beautiful and mysterious Henry Lark and I began to do all that reading, I often skimmed over the name. Svalbard. I’d see all those consonants shoved together and my brain would shut off. I thought it sounded like a Tolkien bad guy, or a word that might cast a spell. Here’s what I suggest—don’t even try to pronounce it. Just imagine it. I love to imagine it: a hidden building, a narrow wedge of black steel jutting from the ice. When I close my eyes, I see its long, rectangular windows—one on the roof, one at the entrance—a beacon of prisms glowing green in the deep twilight of the polar night. Fenced in and guarded, with steel airlock doors and motion detectors, it is the most protected place on earth. Outside, polar bears stomp and huff in the frigid air.

Or imagine this: that first monumental day of excavation, when the mayor of Longyearbyen, Kjell Mork, stood on the chosen spot with a fuse in his hand, ready to blast open the side of a frozen mountain. Longyearbyen, Kjell Mork—more Tolkien words, and Kjell Mork himself looks like a Tolkien king, with his snowy white hair and full blizzard of beard, the ceremonial chain of silver discs around his neck, representing his people and his place. Okay, he’s also wearing a blue hard hat and an orange construction vest, which would never work in the film version. But that fuse burning down, it would. He looks grim but determined in the pictures.

It all sounds like a fantasy novel, but it’s real. As I write this right now, as you read this, that place is there, tucked inside that mountain. As I pour my cereal or shove my books into my backpack, as you pay the cashier at the drive-through window or stare at the moon, it’s there. And it’s all—the guards, the buried chambers, the subzero temperatures—in service of the most simple, regular thing: a seed. Actually, a lot of seeds. Three million seeds. That’s what it’s for. To protect seeds in the event of a global catastrophe. To make sure that, even if there’s a nuclear war or an epidemic or a natural disaster, even if the cooling systems within Svalbard itself are destroyed, the seeds will survive for thousands upon thousands of years.

What should never be forgotten is this: Even when times are dark, the darkest, even when you are sure that life as you know it is over, there are still things that last. I learned that. Henry Lark and I both did. You may not be able to see those things. They may be hidden deep under the ground, or they may be tucked even deeper into your heart, but they are there.

And how did I, a regular person, as regular as those seeds themselves, become connected to a frozen vault 3,585.1 miles from home? (5,769.7 kilometers and seven hours and twenty-seven minutes away by plane, to be exact.) You never know what life will bring; you never do. It’s something my mother always said. In good times and in the worst times she said that, and she was right. We—that vault and me—we’re an unlikely pair. There is that land of wintry wildness and midnight sun and the eerie blue of polar nights and then there’s me, a person who chops her bangs and reads too much. But I am now forever connected to this most brave and defiant place.

How and why is what this story is about. Here to there. Here to there is where all the stories are. Here to there is the sometimes barren land you must cross to find the way to begin again.

Excerpted from The Last Forever by Deb Caletti
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Beginnings and endings overlap in this soaring novel of love and grief from Printz Honor medal winner and National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.

Nothing lasts forever, and no one gets that more than Tessa. After her mother died, it’s all Tessa can do to keep her friends, her boyfriend, and her happiness from slipping away. And then there’s her dad. He’s stuck in his own daze, and it’s so hard to feel like a family when their house no longer seems like a home.

Her father’s solution? An impromptu road trip that lands them in Tessa’s grandmother’s small coastal town. Despite all the warmth and beauty there, Tessa can’t help but feel even more lost.

Enter Henry Lark. He understands the relationships that matter. And more importantly, he understands her. A secret stands between them, but Tessa’s willing to do anything to bring them together—because Henry may just be her one chance at forever.


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