I was seven when I swallowed my first needle.
My mom freaked out and rushed me to the emergency room.
She stayed by my side all night.
I never wanted it to end.
When you spend your whole life feeling invisible-when your parents care more about deals and deadlines than they do about you-you find ways of making people take notice. Little things at first. Then bigger. It’s scary how fast it grows. Then one day something happens that makes you want to stop. To get better. To be better. And for the first time, you understand what it’s like to feel whole, happy . . . loved. For the first time, you love someone back.
For me, that someone was Drew.
From the first line of this book, I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that this story made me feel. Repulsion, anger and deep sadness, but believe it or not, also laughter and hope. S.K. Falls is an amazingly gifted writer, and looks at the world through very twisted glasses. One Last Song was completely unexpected and will stay with me for a long, long time.
Saylor suffers from Munchausen Syndrome. She has a compulsion to make herself very ill. All of this is a very sad and desperate attempt at getting attention from her distant, cold and uninvolved parents. She is forced to withdraw from college, and through a series of events stemming from her therapy, she ends up in the TIDD (Terminal Illness and Degenerative Disease) support group at a local hospital. The members of the group all suffer with real, terminal diseases. Saylor is, to put it mildly, in heaven.
“I wanted to stay sick, to force my body to its knees, to make it cry and beg for mercy.”
Even though Saylor is deceptive and lying to her new friends in the group, I felt nothing but compassion for her as she is forced to endure a loveless home life, with an absent father and emotionally distant mother. She is isolated from her parents, who in turn, seem isolated from the outside world.
“The only person who came close to being a guest in our house was my dad.”
One Last Song is a compelling, powerful story. The author has created an incredibly memorable cast of characters and not one of them ever asks for pity or special treatment. They just want a normal life. Saylor, who had been friendless and alone for her whole life, suddenly finds herself surrounded by friends who actually seem to like her and enjoy her company. And Drew, OMG, he stole my heart. He and Saylor are drawn to each other and she literally blossoms under his attention. But will she able to reveal the truth to him without him running away from her?
“And here I was, clinging to the parapet of life, not quite ready to let go, but not quite ready to clamber on and live it either.”
Were there a few plot issues? Yes, but there were minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of this story and the thrill of finding an author with such a unique voice. Much is revealed by the end of the book and I was surprised to see that nothing was as it seemed during the course of the story. The ending left me breathless and wanting more. I look forward to reading many more unique stories from this very talented writer.
(ARC provided via NetGalley.)