Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Pages: 256
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: June 9, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Before: Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go... After: Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to. Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go."
Every year Kelsey and her family spend their summer vacation in Newport, Rhode Island.  The summer before her freshman year of high school, she meets, in an unexpected way, her next door neighbor, David.  They hit it off instantly and their summer friendship becomes a full-time friendship when David and his dad move to Norwood, Connecticut, where Kelsey and her family live.  Everything was great between them until something happened to Kelsey, which resulted in her being bullied at school. To further complicate matters, both David and Kelsey start to have feelings for each other, but the timing wasn't right.  After a traumatic freshman year, Kelsey's father has a job opportunity in Newport, so they decide to move there.  Kelsey is actually happy about it, because this is a chance for her to move past things and sort of reinvent herself.  It's senior year now and Kelsey is a popular girl, with many friends, a good looking boyfriend, a new haircut and a new outlook on life; however, her world starts to crumble when she sees David walk through the doors of her high school.  Now Kelsey's past secrets collide with her new life in Rhode Island and obviously, Kelsey has some important decisions to make.  Gina Ciocca's debut, Last Year's Mistake, is filled with angst, teenage drama and romance, which make it a fun book for vacation this summer.

I can't say I really loved Kelsey in Last Year's Mistake. She is one of those girls who wants something, complains that she doesn't have it, and then when it's right there staring at her in the face, she doesn't know what to do.  So, at times, I was frustrated with her indecision and some of her choices.  However, I was really sympathetic towards her when she was dealing with some mean girls and a few health concerns that she had. 

I did love her connection with David in Last Year's Mistake. As I have said before, I love a good Dawson/Joey friendship that could possibly turn into something more. I like when people are friends before they are significant others, so this aspect of the novel was right up my alley. Even though their relationship was very tumultuous and the timing always seemed off, I still was rooting for them from the beginning.

The possible love triangle between David, Kelsey, and Kelsey's new boyfriend, Ryan, was a little cringe-worthy from time to time, but it did result in a ton of drama. 

The setting of Last Year's Mistake was pretty great, especially when it was summertime in Newport. I love the description of the beach town and the gorgeous homes.  Also, Ciocca did a great job capturing an exciting summer love and all that it entails.

Although this book didn't "wow" me like I was hoping, I did enjoy it overall, mostly because I liked juicy drama filled contemporary novels in the summertime that don't require too much thought; in that case, this one fits the bill. 


  1. Oh boy. Not sure if I will like this one but I requested it for review. :(

    I was hoping Kelsey would be a character I'd root for and maybe I still will but I don't like it when characters are indecisive especially about love interests. Now I'm worried that there will be a love "square" between Kelsey and her boyfriend and David and another girl. I've seen that happen in books before where the heroine chooses to not go after the guy and then he dates her friend instead while she still has feelings she denies. Hate that trope...

    The plus side is that it is nice when a couple develop a friendship first and it sounds like they were good friends before the bullying incidents at the old school. It is also nice that she has a much better school experience now.

    I guess I will be reading this one with some slightly lowered expectations. Thanks for your review!

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, Christina. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. I liked so many aspects of it and was able to finish it, but it wasn't my favorite contemporary by any means. Kelsey just really drove me nuts from time to time.

  2. Shoot. I had really high hopes for this one Christina but it sounds like I'm going to end up being frustrated with Kelsey and the love triangle. I'm a sucker for a friends-to-lovers (the YA version anyway) type romance, so this one really appealed to me. I'm anti-drama though, so I think maybe I'm going to pass. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part!

    1. I loved the friends-to-something more aspect to the novel, but the love triangle got me a little annoyed. If you don't like angst and drama, you might not like this novel. It was fun for a day at the beach, for sure though! Thanks for visiting, Jenny!


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