Review of The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
The mystery moves along at a nice clip, with Ivy and her loyal friends making plucky efforts to uncover the truth to save Autumn--while grappling with serious issues.
In Meredith Tate's newest book, Ivy and her gloriously nerdy friends play in the school band and love board games. They have a name for their group, the Nerd Herd. (I adored all of this.) But her older sister Autumn has been emotionally closed off since their mother died and has become involved in a mysterious, shadowy scene. When Autumn disappears, Ivy gamely plunges into the sinister underbelly of her sister's life to try to save her.
The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly is a young adult mystery, and the main protagonists are high schoolers--mainly charmingly caring, funny, quirky, honest ones who add a lovely levity to the story. But there's a darker side here, too: Tate addresses sober, sometimes fury-inducing circumstances such as date rape, he said/she said, cyclical bullying, parents' deaths, drug use, and disastrous downward spirals brought upon by coping with and taking part in various combinations of the factors above.
The mystery moves along at a nice clip, with Ivy and her wonderfully loyal friends making plucky efforts to uncover the truth (along with the evolution of a love triangle; Ivy's reinforced comfort with her weight even as she notices others' judgments about it; and young people living as their authentic, varied selves). Meanwhile Autumn takes on an omniscient role, and her ability to witness everything going on allows for honest personal reflection that was immensely appealing. But is it too late for her soul-searching to be of any use?
What did you think?
I was impressed by how Tate managed to balance the tone of the lighthearted friendships with the weighty issues that shape the story.