Publisher's Note:  

When band-geek Ivy and her friends get together, things start with a rousing board game and end with arguments about Star Wars.

Her older sister Autumn is a different story. Enigmatic, aloof, and tough as nails, Autumn hasn't had real friends--or trusted anyone--in years. Even Ivy.

But Autumn might not be tough enough. After a drug deal gone wrong, Autumn is beaten, bound, and held hostage. Now, trapped between life and death, she leaves her body, seeking help. No one can sense her presence--except her sister.

When Autumn doesn't come home, Ivy just knows she's in trouble. Unable to escape the chilling feeling that something isn't right, Ivy follows a string of clues that bring her closer to rescuing her sister... and closer to danger.

Autumn needs Ivy to find her before time runs out. But soon, both sisters realize that finding her also means untangling the secrets that lead to the truth--about where they're hiding Autumn, and what Autumn has been hiding.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly

by Meredith Tate

Review Date:

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Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

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Overall Review:  

The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate tells how a girl's poor decisions land her in an impossible situation where her spirit is basically forced out of her body in an effort to contact her sister to rescue her from death. The idea of a girl undergoing a sort of near-death experience and unable to reach anyone except her estranged sister is a fantastic story!  That story concept was really all that was good about this book, though. The two-star rating was granted merely for the storyline potential.

Unfortunately, the profanities, #metoo and virtue signaling was over-used; the mention of a racist cop felt cliche. The lack of redeeming characteristics in the main characters caused me to despise them, which is never good when you're supposed to be rooting for them. Ultimately, the story was overwhelmed by the content (see content review below for details).

So, not really the kind of book that edifies minds. I think this is the kind of book that brings people down and makes them perceive themselves as victims rather than warriors. Overall, this story seemed to be more of a message that women are always victims, men are always bad, fat isn't unhealthy, unmarried sex is better than virginity, and swearing like a sailor is the new normal. Unfortunately, this isn't a book I'll be recommending.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  25 religious exclamations; 51 mild obscenities; 35 derogatory names; 147 scatological words; 41 anatomical terms; 9 offensive hand gestures; 48 F-word derivatives. 

Violence/Gore:  Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: a drug-dealing character frequently finds policemen rummaging in her locker; reports and flashbacks of a parent's death; characters are occasionally bullied; characters accost and intimidate a girl just exiting a shower; a stepmother and stepchild occasionally fight; a character decides to rob an ATM; characters have been in jail; a character is attacked, thrown down, bound and beaten by a gang; a character is smashed with a booted foot and blacks out; a girl is angry with her family; a character wakes horribly injured and apparently left to die; report of a racist cop; a character is reported to have had suicidal ideation; report of parents fighting; report of a character going to jail; characters discuss a plan to break into a house; characters are nearly caught while illegally investigating a residence; a character senses someone wishes her death; report of a boy hanging himself; a characters wakes blindfolded and bound; characters discuss disposing of another character; a character is surrounded by captors with guns; a man threatens a girl with a gun and gets hit with a hammer by another character; a character is in pain from a previous beating and coughs blood; a character is shot.

Sex/Nudity:  Many instances of sex and nudity, including but not limited to: A girl has a girlfriend; mention of divorce; a girl sleeps with boys when she is not at home; numerous mentions of a rumor where a girl slept with her stepbrother; implication of a coach being a sexual predator; a girl is accosted in a shower while dressed only in a towel; scene in which a girl is stripped and photographed for blackmail, some description; a girl hides drugs in a tampon box; mention of a girl losing her virginity; a girl sits on a boy's lap; a friend asks if they're going to have sex; report of a girl having sex while drunk; two girls have a mature discussion about sex with mention of dick pics, some descriptions; character recalls having a "tongue" kiss"; a boy asks a girl out via text message; a girl takes birth control pills; a girl checks out a boy's butt; mention of a girl accidentally jabbing a boy in the balls with her trumpet; character has a recollection of getting high and drunk and sleeping with another character; character has a flashback to being trashed and having sex and wanting to talk about it; a character is trash-talked for sleeping with a step-sibling; character sees a picture of a girl sitting drunkenly on a couch, dressed like a slut with her boobs hanging out; report of a gym teacher spying on high school girls; report of a boy hooking up with multiple girls; characters complain about each other's butts and crotches while crammed into a car; report of kids having sex in a bathroom; girls rip all men as being vile catcallers; a character states that a football team gets "raped" by a touchdown; characters have a heated discussion about rape; a girl would love to make out with a boy; a girl calls out classmates for ignoring a teacher's sexual proclivities; a boy comes out as being asexual and aromantic; a girl's search history looks up sex while drunk and consensual sex; a girl was raped; scene with description, a boy and girl have sex; a hospitalized character is said to have a "pee tube" stuck up her crotch; characters attend pride club.

In an extended scene, a girl is questioned about a night when she and a boy had sex. She recalls what she was wearing and that the boy drove her home, etc., but the girl remembers finding a condom wrapper the next day and taking a pill for her period. She remembers the boy's weight on her. Adults convince the girl she's remembering the night wrong and that she got drunk and had too much to drink and was wearing slutty clothes, and accuse her of trying to defame a boy.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death of a family member; considered suicide; divorce; rape; verbal child abuse; addictions; gender/sex identity issues; illegal drugs; racism; underage drinking.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A girl is implied to smoke weed and sell painkillers; mention of no college wanting drug dealers; a girl had pot in her backpack; a girl tells someone where to get illegal Ativan; mention of getting high; mention of claiming a girl drank; a girl's car reeks of pot; there is a smell of cigarette smoke; a girl smokes a joint; a girl wonders how many pills her sister has dealt; characters vape and smoke a bong; people are described as potheads; underage characters drink beer provided by neighbors; characters spike apple cider; a girl waits to get her "stuff" from her supplier; girls think another girl hangs out with a boy to hook up with him; a girl rattles the pills in her sweatshirt; a boy has roofies in his glove compartment; a woman snuffs out a cigarette; a girl wishes she had a joint; a girl is contacted for drugs; weekends are described as being for keggers and hookups, according to CW; a woman lights a cigarette; mention of a character doing things under the influence of alcohol; mention of an overprotective parent checking for drugs in candy; character sees old beer cans and cigarette butts on a warehouse floor; a boy asks if a girl is dealing drugs; character is wasted; character smoke pot; a man crushes a joint under his boot; report of kids smoking pot; mention of a girl smoking weed in the driveway; recollection of being trashed; a girl finds a stash of pills in another character's box of tampons; report of a girl having an alcoholic parent; a girl finds an empty can of Coors Light; characters get drunk and have sex; mention of a keg and people getting drunk and hooking up; characters drink Heineken; parents get drunk at a party; man cracks open a beer; report of a college paper smelling like pot; mention of a character "running pills"; a character sets up a drug-dealing meet.

Reviewed By Katrina
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