The Last Present
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Amanda and Leo have a history with birthdays. Now their friend’s little sister, Grace, has fallen into a strange frozen state on her birthday, and Amanda and Leo must travel in time in order to fix whatever’s wrong. As they journey back to each of Grace’s birthdays, they start seeing all sorts of patterns . . . which raise all sorts of questions.
Amanda and Leo are going to have to unravel the threads of the past and present — and travel much further than they ever imagined — if they’re going to save Grace. Luckily, a little birthday magic always helps in the charming and funny Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass, where everything is possible and there are no coincidences.
The latest volume in the Willow Falls series finds Amanda and Leo trying to save a young girl through a series of eventful time-traveling adventures. Magical, mysterious Angelina D’Angelo has set out quite the task for best friends Amanda and Leo. For 10 years, Angelina has been thwarted as she attempted to place a benediction on a young girl named Grace, who now languishes in a coma. Amanda and Leo must time travel to Grace’s prior birthday parties to ensure that the benediction successfully occurs, and they must get it right not once, but three times, to save her. Or so Angelina says. The friends discover that the story is more complicated and that it is wrapped up with Angelina’s own closely guarded secrets. Character development and closure are key here. Amanda and Leo do a lot of growing up as they negotiate complicated ethical terrain as well as a relationship evolving from friendship into romance. Further, Mass successfully weaves together the stories of familiar characters from previous volumes and finally reveals a full picture of Angelina, the powerful, flawed puppet master of the previous episodes. While the tale has general appeal, it is most suited for devoted series fans, who will most appreciate the tying up of loose ends and revelation of long-held secrets. (Fantasy. 8-12)