Items ticked off: 5
Before saying anything else, I must say this: This is by far the most diverse NA book I've read. Given that the most diversity I've had during my New Adult Project is a secondary character that is either gay or a POC, that might not say much. But Last Will and Testament offers a wide range, both when it comes to ethnicity and to sexuality. I praise this book for that, and will do until people's ears bleed if they ask what the best part about this book is. Because that is it, no competition.
What about the story then? Last Will and Testament opens with Lizzie finding out her parents have died. To top it off, when the police came to tell her, she was in the middle of hooking up with a guy, who's in a relationship, I might add. Where does this leave her? Well, she's now the guardian of her two younger brothers, Tyler and Max. To top it off, her grades are falling and she might loose her scholarship, she's making some questionable choices in life, and is doing what more or less any young person might do. Lizzie tries to make the right choices again, and one of them happens to get a tutor. Namely, Connor, her TA. Things happen and soon Lizzie finds her seeking out Connor's help more than once. And well, you see where this is going, aren't you?
I said this book's diverse cast is it's greatest strength, but Connor is a close second. He's so damn sweet. And hot. And smart. And, well, basically what I look for when it comes to NA heroes. Which means he's anything but the violent, possessive jerk that this genre is filled with. Connor is mature, but no one is perfect. His flaws and quirks is what makes him human, and one of the best heroes in this genre.
Now that I've gushed about Connor (and yeah, he's truly worth gushing over), let's take a look at Lizzie. I liked her. Even when she made dumb decision and I wanted to throw a pillow (or something harder) at her. She tries what she thinks is best, and when that fails, she doesn't let it break her. She's not your typical NA heroine either. She sleeps around, she parties, her grades are dropping. She is human. A trait many NA heroines are missing.
No matter how fantastic these characters were, I still struggled with the story at times. For one thing, while I appreciated that the drama wasn't over the top, somewhere right after the 50% mark the story sort of... fizzled out. I lost interest; nothing really happened. I asked for something to happen, and because this is NA, a genre I consider myself fairly knowledgeable of now, I hoped it would not include any sort of plot with the villain being the mean girl. Maybe, just maybe, this book wouldn't go that direction, it had, after all, missed a lot of the usual tropes. It's a small spoiler when I say I was disappointed. And that's all I will say on the matter.
Last but not least, one more topic lowered the rating. The slutshaming. For all the tropes the book missed, it did not miss this one. The majority of the slutshaming comes from - you guessed it- the mean girl. Which in itself is exhausting, but even more so when every character in this book is made out to be human, except for the mean girl, who is the person who slutshames the most. The slutshaming then didn't add anything to the story apart from painting the mean girl to be, well, mean. And even without the slutshaming this girl would've been a mean girl, so in truth, the slutshaming could've been cut out completely and it wouldn't have affected the story in any way.
I feel too negative, but pet peeves are pet peeves. On the most part, the good writing, wonderful main characters (and secondary as well), the first half... it made up for a lot. In fact,Last Will and Testament is one of the few NA books I can say I would recommend to a friend!