Last Year’s Mistake – Gina Ciocca

Last Year’s Mistake – Gina CioccaTitle: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Publishing Info: June 9, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 22, 2015

    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.

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I started on LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE very shortly after I was approved for the book on Edelweiss — a story about best friends reuniting and possibly falling in love? That’s everything I love and more! So Andi (Andi’s ABCs) and I decided to read this one together because neither of us wanted to wait!

I always get too excited when I latch onto an idea or a concept and that seems to be what happened with LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE. Andi and I both enjoyed the book but it seemed to sit a lot better with her than it did with me (my stupid expectations). As soon as I hear “best friends”, a scene immediately starts playing out my head and things didn’t exactly follow that path. Now I’m not saying that it should but that’s just part of the reason why I didn’t connect with the book as much as I had hoped.

I started to worry when I didn’t immediately latch on to the characters at the very beginning and as much as I tried, the only character I ever really ended up falling for was David (the estranged best friend) — and this was an issue for me throughout the whole book. I wanted to love them all but I just couldn’t click with main character Kelsey and I definitely couldn’t click with Ryan (her boyfriend). David was my favorite part of the whole book! The best friends thing just really GETS me so I loved seeing the newly-found tension between Kelsey and David in the “present day” scenes and I sort of fell in love with him too during the “past” scenes! I wanted him to be MY best friend and I really enjoyed seeing his interactions with really everyone. He brightened up every scene for me!

Throughout the book we learn about Kelsey’s friendship with David and that something happened to cause a rift between the two. Once David shows back up in Kelsey’s life, it’s apparent to him how much she’s changed since they last saw each other and it wasn’t a change he really liked. Sadly, it wasn’t one I really liked either. The “old” Kelsey seemed like more of a tomboy, definitely more carefree, and that was something that both David and I seemed to agree on! Again, it’s not a “bad” thing to change — I’ve done plenty of it in my life — but I just identified with the “past Kelsey” a lot more than “present day Kelsey” so to see where she was now and where she came from, I was sad to see that change (in reverse).

It’s very hard when I can’t identify with the main character or am not on board with his/her decisions. I just really wanted to get to know each character more and when things started to get heated towards the end, I felt like it was a little too late for me. I also really wasn’t happy with the fact that as David and Kelsey were reuniting, they still had their own significant others or love interests. It took a while for any sort of action to really happen between the two (my lips are sealed as to what goes down!) but it’s hard to root for two characters to fall in love when it means possible cheating on their significant others (if they don’t break it off).

The book alternates between present day and the past, revealing bits of Kelsey & David’s story along the way and I actually really liked the set up as I was reading. It was really great to be able to see those actual story lines play out from Kelsey and David’s pasts and to witness their friendship forming and growing… But looking back on the book, I think I would have enjoyed it more if everything had taken place chronologically. Since my main hang-up seems to be that I didn’t connect to the characters, I think I probably would have been more invested in Kelsey hearing everything from her past first.

All-in-all, LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE was a really good story but a lot of my own personal hang-ups prevented me from falling head over heels like I had hoped and expected to. The more I reflected on the book, the more I felt a bit disappointed that it hadn’t turned out the way I had pictured it, but I definitely know that will not be the case for everyone. This was a really nice debut from Gina Ciocca and I really do want to try some future books from her!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kelsey // Character Obsessions: Friends, status, love, David.
I REALLY wanted to be BFFs with Kelsey but it just wasn’t meant to be. What bummed me out the most is I really liked getting to know her in the “past” scenes and I couldn’t connect as much with her in the present-day. I didn’t always support her decisions so I think that was the hardest thing… It’s not like she had the easiest life and she definitely dealt with some difficult things but I just wasn’t always 100% in her corner.
David // Character Obsessions: Baseball, his dad, friends.
I really liked David a lot! He was by far my favorite character and the one I seemed to relate to the most. He just seemed like a really stand-up guy and I just loved his friendship with Kelsey. I seemed to identify with him the most in almost every situation — and it helps that he was a little dreamy!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The “best friends to more” trope. This will always, always be one of my favorites! Even though this situation didn’t totally hit the spot, I still loved seeing that friendship turn to FEELS.
Left Me Wanting More: Character love. Ahhhhh I wish I had loved Kelsey more. I was not a fan of Ryan at all. I actually wish he was not in the book (ahhhh sorry). BUT you know. To each his own!

Addiction Rating
Try it

This one didn’t totally suit my fancy but I know Andi liked it and I’m sure a lot of other readers will to! I actually feel sad that the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I didn’t fall in love with it.

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3 thoughts on “Last Year’s Mistake – Gina Ciocca

  1. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    I agree. I also have a review of this one coming up and I didn’t love it either. I liked flashback Kelsey, I really did. But present-day Kelsey, not so much. So I was intently curious to find out what had happened and made her that way. And wow, was I disappointed when I finally found out. It was all so ridiculous in my opinion. That entire year-long thing could have been solved with one honest conversation… I did like the other characters, which is why it’s still a 3-star read for me.

    Great review!

  2. Erica @ Novel Ink

    I was really looking forward to this one // I haven’t bought it or anything, but it looked like a book I would be into…though I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed reviews and it just seems more and more less like a book I wanna worry about.

    Maybe in the future I’ll pick it up, but with my TBR the way it is right now, I think I’ll pick up a book I know I’m dying to read! 🙂

    Great review!

  3. Karina @ Watcha Reading

    I fairly loved this one but I didn’t really connect with the characters. And I ended up giving it 4 stars. While I did enjoy it, I didn’t like a lot of the decisions that the characters made :/

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