The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly
Author: Meredith Tate
Publication Date: 11 February 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary with paranormal elements
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Son’s For Young Readers
When band-geek Ivy and her friends get together, things start with a rousing board game and end with arguments about Star Wars.
Her older sister Autumn is a different story. Enigmatic, aloof, and tough as nails, Autumn hasn’t had real friends–or trusted anyone–in years. Even Ivy.
But Autumn might not be tough enough. After a drug deal gone wrong, Autumn is beaten, bound, and held hostage. Now, trapped between life and death, she leaves her body, seeking help. No one can sense her presence–except her sister.
When Autumn doesn’t come home, Ivy just knows she’s in trouble. Unable to escape the chilling feeling that something isn’t right, Ivy follows a string of clues that bring her closer to rescuing her sister… and closer to danger.
Autumn needs Ivy to find her before time runs out. But soon, both sisters realize that finding her also means untangling the secrets that lead to the truth–about where they’re hiding Autumn, and what Autumn has been hiding.
Honestly, I am trying to find the words to convey how much I needed The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly. What I thought was a story about a misunderstood, snarky, and delinquent teenager ended up being a compelling story that explored the depths of sisterhood while also serving as a feminist platform to call out rape culture, victim shaming, and gaslighting.
The story follows two sisters, Autumn and Ivy, who couldn’t be more different than one another. After the death of their mother, the sisters have drifted apart from one another. The story alternates between their individual perspectives providing greater depth and insight into both characters.
Ivy is a huge nerd and band geek. She’s also aware that she’s heavier, but she doesn’t let it bother her. Ivy and her friends collectively make up the ‘nerd herd’, which is an excuse to get together every day and play games or argue about Star Wars.
Autumn is a rough around the edges teenager that views the world as broken. She sells drugs to her fellow classmates to raise money for college and will ruin anyone’s life who gets in the way. When a robbery doesn’t go to plan, Autumn ends up abducted and beaten to the brink of death. Her ghost/spirit is able to get to Ivy, which gives Ivy a strong sense that Autumn needs her help. With time running out, Ivy drops everything to find Autumn even if it means putting herself into dangerous situations and uncovering secrets that were hidden from her.
This was an absolute page-turner wrought with suspense as the clock is ticking on Autumn’s life. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens to Autumn. Additionally, the author does an incredible job of discussing difficult topics such as loss, grief, love, consent, rape culture, and victim shaming with poise.
As someone who went through a very similar experience in high school, this story NEEDS to be heard. Stories like this weren’t written over a decade ago because of the toxic masculinity culture. It stories like this that finally give victims a voice, and reminds us that we no longer need to be silent.
Thank you to Penguin Teen and Bookish First for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.