Young Reader Review: The Last Time I Saw Her by Alexandra Harrington
The Last Time I Saw Her
Author: Alexandra Harrington
When Charlotte returns to her home in River John after a year away at a posh boarding school, she knows there won’t be any warm welcomes waiting for her. Having left without saying a word to anyone, she knows that her best friend Sophie likely hates her now.
Not only did Charlotte vanish without a trace, she did so just weeks after the car accident that left Sophie in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. And given that Charlotte can’t even tell Sophie why she left, the chances of them rebuilding their now-shattered friendship are slim, which Sophie makes abundantly clear.
At least Charlotte still has her older brother, Sean, the only family she has left, and she also reconnects with Max, Sophie’s ex who also seems to be in need of a friend. As Charlotte tries to figure out how to fix things with Sophie, how to help Sean pay the bills and how to deal with the reason she left River John in the first place, Max’s support is the one thing she can depend on.
But the two of them start to question the events surrounding Sophie’s accident and things quickly spiral out of control. The myriad of revelations that follow will leave none of them unscathed.
Chock full of secrets and betrayals and tragic consequences, Alexandra Harrington’s debut novel is a finely tuned family drama with multiple layers of mystery. The various relationships are realistically complex and nuanced, from Charlotte’s relationship with her brother to her burgeoning relationship with Max and her now-broken relationship with Sophie.
There are numerous shocking reveals throughout the book as readers slowly learn the various twists at play and as Charlotte and Max begin to piece together how so many seemingly disconnected events may actually be deeply intertwined. While the large number of dramatic revelations may stretch credulity at times, everything ultimately comes together in a tense and sensational climax.
Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.