MY LAST SUMMER WITH CASS, by Mark Crilley
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 16th, 2021
Page Count: 256 pages
*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Tours free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
A good friendship is like a work of art. When you’ve screwed it all up...you may wonder if trying to save it is even worth the effort. Well, take it from me: sometimes a friendship isn’t just like a work of art, it is a work of art. And it is worth saving.
It’s always worth saving.
In Mark Crilley’s poignant young adult graphic novel My Last Summer with Cass, Megan and Cass have been “joined at the brush” since childhood due to their mutual love for creating art on anything that stood still long enough. They spent every summer together, growing up together and developing their talents side by side. Then Cass moved to New York, putting a stop to their yearly retreats. Fast-forward to the summer before senior year, and Megan visits Cass in New York, finding a sophisticated young woman instead of the childhood friend she expected. This Cass has tattoos, makes art in a studio-commune, and parties late every night - the only thing that hasn’t changed is that Megan and Cass make their best art together. But as the two girls grow up and drift apart, can old friendships survive lost trust and fear of growing up?
My Last Summer with Cass is a fulfilling and thoughtful story about two friends who drifted apart - and it was okay to drift apart. Megan and Cass are shown at the beginning as two sides of the same coin and are shown at the end to still be - they just are two dented, rubbed off sides that don’t look identical anymore. They are allowed to grow to be separate people that don’t reflect the other’s viewpoint and while that does cause conflict for a while, eventually it is accepted. I love that there is this message, since most coming of age stories that center around similar storylines usually employ a “never address the actual problem/conflict since we have smoothed it all over” tactic. It makes My Last Summer with Cass that much more poignant.
Of course, since this is a graphic novel, we have to talk about the artwork in My Last Summer with Cass. The illustrations are absolutely stunning - we can see the different art styles between Megan and Cass, and the art style employed by Mary Crilley somehow combines the two. We can see the emotions in their faces and body language, and the details shine through perfectly. Furthermore, the color palette allows the sobriety of the scenes to come through, with the muted blues and grays that Crilley uses. In the earlier childhood memories, there is more yellow and white, showing that during childhood, there wasn’t as much conflict, as opposed to in New York.
If you are like me, you’d love to listen to a musical version of My Last Summer with Cass - and you can! I created a playlist that focuses on the two girls as they grow up, pursue art, and spend a few weeks in New York. You can listen to the playlist right here.
Are you still not sure about reading My Last Summer with Cass? Well, if you like these books:
Camp Spirit, by Axelle Lenoir
Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel, by Gabby Rivera
I am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
Then you’d definitely want to grab a copy of My Last Summer with Cass!
The good thing, My Last Summer with Cass is officially out tomorrow! You can get a copy from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy online. Click on these buy links and you can get your own copy: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound.
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for allowing me to join the My Last Summer with Cass book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their Tour Schedule webpage.
Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award – nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.