the last song book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks has spun a beautiful tale of first love, familial bonds, and faith in God in his 16th novel, The Last Song. Sparks originally wrote the story in screenplay format before transforming it into the novel I had the pleasure of listening to in audio format.

Narrated by Pepper Bingley and Scott Sowers, The Last Song is about rebellious Ronnie Miller’s summer with her estranged father in the small beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Unlike her brother Jonah, Ronnie is not as willing to forgive Steve for divorcing her mother three years earlier. After Ronnie is framed for a crime, Steve gives her the one thing she needs more than anything: trust. As their rocky relationship begins to mend, Ronnie’s heart opens to a new kind of love. Though Ronnie and Will Blaklee couldn’t be more different from one another, they fall deeply in love. As the summer draws to an end, Ronnie is faced with the ultimate loss. Ronnie might never be the same again, but the power of the last song and her newfound faith in God promises a bright future.

Like The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, The Last Song will tug at your heartstrings. I have never made it through a Nicholas Sparks novel without drenched Kleenexes at my side, but this was the exception to that trend. There is nothing I enjoy more than having a tangible, written copy of a book in my hands; listening to an audio book was an entirely different feeling. Instead of hearing my own imaginings of the characters’ voices, I was compelled to listen to the narrators’ interpretations of Sparks’ fictional creations.

Pepper Bingley’s youthful voice was the right fit for reading the chapters that mostly focused on Ronnie, but I found her voice for Jonah to be the most entertaining. Scott Sowers gave a heart breaking performance in lending his voice to Steve Miller, perfectly capturing the guilt and regret that Steve had lived with for so many years. The original score written solely for this audiobook perfectly complemented the tone and mood of specific scenes in the novel.

Like all other Nicholas Sparks novels, The Last Song will be a permanent addition to my personal library. Although the story was simplistic and at times predictable, I enjoyed it and will not soon forget it. I’m looking forward to all the new meaning this book will provide me when I read it a second time.

The movie version of The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, will be in theaters on March 31st.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

This audiobook was provided free of any obligation by Hachette Audio. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.