Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 9th June 2015
My rating: 4 stars
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.
I’m always a huge fan of second chance romances. I always love that anticipation of our characters paths crossing once more and that dread in the pit of your stomach of not knowing how things are going to work out this time, but enjoying the slow build up of possible things that could be. For some reason I didn’t realise that Last Year’s Mistake was based around a second chance romance, but I’m so glad that I gave it a go, as the romance was done beautifully.
Kelsey and David became fast best friends over a chance meeting whilst Kelsey was spending her summer at her uncle’s. What started off as a summer friendship, developed into so much more when David ends up at the same school as Kelsey. I love how Ciocca gave us the build up of Kelsey and David’s relationship through alternating chapters between the present and past, to be honest I didn’t really care about past chapters earlier on, as so much was kicking off in the now, but then there were so many unanswered questions flying about and so much hurt and heartbreak coming through, that the past chapters became a pivotal point in understanding everything that was going on and honestly I couldn’t get enough of the story. I had my suspicions of what had gone down between Kelsey and David, but I don’t think I could have been more prepared for it. I could understand the reason Kelsey reacted the way that she did, she was scared and confused and had been put through so much, with her best friend really not on her side. But I sort of could see it coming, the slow build up to their romance was done beautifully, but I just wish someone had the guts to say something sooner and maybe a lot of heartache could have been avoided along the way.
But I’m hugely grateful that David had a second chance to be part of Kelsey’s life. When I found out the way things had ended, I knew they deserved their second chance and to finally make amends. Kelsey could be a stubborn person when she wanted to be, and I really wanted her to push that aside and be honest about her feelings and about what an amazing guy she had right in front of her. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, misunderstandings and obstacles which really made me think their relationship will never be, but underneath this I had the hope that things would end up as they were meant to. I ended up devouring Last Year’s Mistake in one day, it was that good, and the way Ciocca developed the relationship between Kelsey and David made me connect with them that much more, made me feel the heartache and pain they were going through too, the frustration when things finally seemed to be going right, only for things to go back to or be worse than before (the back and forth really became real pain at times), but for me the time Kelsey and David spent together and the beautiful relationship that evolved from it really made up for it.
Overall I adored Last Year’s Mistake, it really could have been my first five star read in a year, but Kelsey’s indecisiveness kind of took that away from me. This minor gripe aside, I think readers will fall in love with Kelsey’s and David’s story, it really was one done beautifully.