Monday, February 1, 2010

Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Grab your tissues! 

The Last Song is the first Nicholas Sparks book I have ever read, and I was not disappointed. 

Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. 

Can Ronnie and her estranged father find common ground?  Who will she meet during her summer in a new place?  What secrets is everyone keeping?  Who will they hurt when they are exposed?  What will happen after the summer is over?

This was my first Nicholas Sparks, and I didn't expect much at first.  I was afraid that he was going to be another one of those mass market authors with nothing to show for their good fortune except for a melodramatic story, thrown together plot, and flat characters.   Nicholas Sparks has shut me up for good!  I loved his writing.  He connects with his readers and is able to draw a picture without becoming trite.  He lures us into this story, and makes us fall in love with his small cast of characters, who are all well developed and authentic.  Finally, his pacing is perfect.  I didn't want to put this book down. 

Yes, it reads like a movie, but not in a bad way.  Sparks started writing this book after he was commissioned to write a movie starring Miley Cyrus.  I learned through reading an interview with Sparks that the biggest difference between the movie and the book is the ability to give some of the characters more of a back story, especially the father, Steve.  In his interviews, Sparks has also admitted to having a formula to his stories, but it works.  It all works - even the melodrama.  As we have learned from The Notebook, his books make beautiful movies.  This is no accident. 

The movie version of The Notebook had me weeping, I am incapable of watching the trailers for Dear John without holding back a quiet sob. and The Last Song caused me to read through tears. 

Thank you to all of my readers who encouraged me to read Nicholas Sparks.  I am glad I did, and, thanks to Hachette Book Group, I am honored to give you the chance to win a copy of The Last Song for yourself. 

Click here to enter for your chance to win a copy of The Last Song (contest ends 2/7/10)

So many extras to go along with this review (author interviews, excerpts, audio, trailers, etc.):
Book To Movie:  The Last Song Trailer
More Stuff:  The Last Song 1/26/2010
More Stuff:  The Last Song 1/19/2010

About the Book:
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 Mti edition (February 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446547557
ISBN-13: 978-0446547550

*FTC Statement:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.


Aimee Absinthe said...

Are there any major differences between the movie and the book? I've read the book but I am afraid of what the movie will have and not have.

For example I've haven't seen Blaze in the trailer or heard any mention of her from the films wikipedia. Is she even in the film?

Alison's Book Marks said...

Aimee - I haven't seen the movie, so I can't tell you of the differences between the two other than what I've heard or read. I can say that after checking out imdb, The Last Song lists the character of Blaze being played by actress Carly Chaiken. The Last Song is only her 2nd movie, and there are stills of the movie showing her (fireballs). Sorry I can't be of more help - check back with me if you decide to see the movie, I'd love to know your thoughts!

Jeff Rivera said...

This is also one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks books. I agree with you that the pacing is perfect, but in The Best Of Me the pacing is a bit slow, but it is an enjoyable read. I tend to start writing my new love stories every time I finish a book, especially by Nicholas Sparks. His books are simply amazing, light reading perfect for a summer evening.

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