Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah – Rachel Cohn; David Levithan

Sam and IlsaSam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing dinner parties, and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation. The rules for the twins are simple: they each get to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the guests show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right – in rather surprising ways. 

I have loved Cohn and Levithan’s books, and fully expected to give this a whopping 5 star review. Disappointment – I can’t. That’s not to say it was bad,  but it was less than I expected. Twins Sam and Ilsa are about to leave school and move on with the next phase of their lives, college, but neither are keen to move away from the comfortable lives they know to something  unknown and risky.

With a cast of past, present, and hopefully future friends and loves, the night revolves around the twins and their guests, of which Caspian is the best, in my opinion. There are grudges, there are secrets, there is talking and screaming, and the guests have ideas and advice to offer the twins on how to move forward. And as the night flows then so too does the booze – lots and lots of it. The clever sarcasm, banter, and  quips, along with the worldly views from guests who have had much less sheltered lives than Sam and Ilsa, make this book worth reading. The high drama could be wearing were it not for the humour which at times borders on the farcicial.

Its well-paced, quirky, and entertaining. Not a favourite, but very definitely worth reading.

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