smart is the new pretty

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller

A couple of people told me they thought I would like this book, so I picked it up and quickly fell in love. This book tells the story of an evangelical family on the road to see California before the end of the world. Jess and her sister Elise are championed on the road by her father, who brings their positive (but reluctant) family of four on a road trip across the country.

At first, I felt like this book similar to John Green’s work, but a little more sophisticated. However, John Green writes better endings to his novels. The first 150 pages or so of this book were clever, funny, and poignant, but in the last 50 things really fell apart for me. I liked that this book told the story of a road trip adventure without being cliche, and it is a great book for study in a creative writing course because of this. The narrative voice and character development are strong, and as a sister I enjoyed experiencing Elise and Jess’s relationship. However, a few things happened in the final pages of the book that did not suit the rest of the story, and left me with a bitter taste in my mouth when I finished the book.

Honestly, when I started this book I thought it was an A+ book that I would save forever, but I was really disappointed by the ending, not so much because it wasn’t a perfectly happy ending, but because the end did not seem to fit with the rest of the book. I would still give this book an average grade of a B, and I think it is a worthwhile read because of its excellent portrayal of a road-trip.