If you haven't already read J.F. Smith's [b:Falling Off the Face of the Earth|11611689|Falling Off the Face of the Earth|J.F. Smith|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327453581s/11611689.jpg|16554493], I recommend you strongly do. The Last Day Of Summer (TLDOS) takes place in the future, featuring characters from its predecessor, including new characters as well. While it is NOT required to have read Falling Off the Face of the Earth, it would greatly enhance your reading experience. Plus, it's a great book so you should give it a shot anyways. :)
The posted blurb does a good enough job explaining the premise of this novel, so repeating it seems unnecessary. What this book is ultimately about is second chances. The chance to forgive. The chance to make mistakes. The chance to realize it's okay to make mistakes, but it's what we do right after that matters most. And my favorite: the chance to give others a second chance as well.
The book is also about family and friends. The rich cast of characters, both old and new, bring a certain life and charm to this book. Val, who is Rett's best friend, definitely wins category for "Best BF of 2013." Then there's Cory, the love interest, who will make your heart clench, your eyes water, and slap the silliest smile on your face. There's Cory's family (who I will not list in case you haven't read FOTFOTE). Also, you can't forget some of the baseball players like JJ, Josh and Gunner. Or the general manager, George and the secretary from hell: Rosemary. Gosh, the list goes on and each of these characters are such a treat to read!
But oddly enough (or maybe not so), my least favorite character was Rett! He plays the denial AND blame game. He makes stupid choices because his head is shoved so far up his ass and is too busy throwing a pity party for himself when the BIG shit hits the fan. And he stays like this for around 70% of the book. My only salvation from him was whenever he's interacting with the other, more likeable/interesting, characters. Good thing he does
eventually change - it made the reading experience so much better!
So what can you expect when reading TLDOS? A book about what it means to truly be a "man." About the significance of second chances for oneself and to others. Of the love we all take for granted among our friends and families. This is the type of book that makes you want to remind your best friend about how important he or she is to you. Or call your family (whether that includes a mother, father, siblings, or people who don't fit in any singular category) and just hear their voices on the other end of the line.
What this book isn't about is the whole "gay athlete coming out of the closet" followed by the media frenzy that follows. While the issue of coming out for gay athletes is addressed, this isn't where the plot is driven.
My only real complaint was that the story felt like it dragged a bit in the last 15% of the novel and the occasional proofreading mistakes. But you know what? For a book that is about 150,000 words long and priced at $2.99, I'm not complaining too loudly. I've also learned a good amount of information about baseball after reading this, LOL.
JF Smith is one of those authors that makes me need to buy more Kleenexes at the store, because my box almost ran out with this book!
Edit: forgot to include this bit, but there is no explicit sexing going on here! It's all off the page. Sorry ladys and gents, but I loved it nonetheless.