The Last Present by Wendy Mass
4 out of 5 stars
I was so excited when my library had the newest and last Willow Falls book last week. (I got a great stack of books that day!) I love this series so much and this was a perfect finale for it. But just a word of warning, like the others, you will definitely want to read them consecutively and pretty close together. Otherwise, you will have no idea what's going on and will constantly ask yourself, "what happened to them last year? who are they again?" etc...So this review will automatically have spoilers for the first three books, there's just no way around it. If you haven't read them yet, stop here and go get them! Then come back and tell me what you think. :)
The book starts out with the strange & unusual Angelina D'Angelo, ten years ago. She is putting a sort of protection spell over baby Grace (from the end of the last book we know something bad has happened to her) just like she does all the babies in town. This is why none of the kids get seriously sick or injured. She's kind of the town godmother. Unfortunately, Angelina is interrupted by Grace's big brother, Connor, and doesn't finish the blessing. Angelina is thwarted each time she tries to fix her mistake in the next 9 years. Which brings us up to the present and Grace's 10th birthday, when she falls into a mysterious coma. Angelina asks Amanda & Leo to help her make things right and we finally learn why they haven't been able to speak to each other for a year (although I still can't remember when they started this). It was so nice to see the focus back on these two, I really liked them the best.
Angelina explains that, thanks to the curse from their great-great-grandfathers (first book), once they speak to each other again, they will have the ability to travel back in time. She wants them to use this ability (gift/talent?) to go back to Grace's previous birthdays and fix certain things...specifically, things that Angelina had enchanted to protect Grace which Connor somehow messed up each time. Since they are so used to Angelina's crazy ways by now, Amanda & Leo agree and with the help of their friends, start planning how to get Grace better. Of course, things don't always go as planned. And when Angelina is involved, they definitely don't. Amanda & Leo have problems from the beginning (or the past?) and a certain ornery character keeps appearing, causing trouble for the kids. We also get to see some of Angelina's past and finally see why she does things a certain way and how she became so important and powerful in & for Willow Falls.
I loved how all the kids worked together and became closer in this book. We got to see everyone from the previous books, even the parents, and see how their lives had changed. The ending brought everything together and made me tear up a little bit. The only problem I had with this book was how they all got "coupled up" by the end. Each of the 3 main girls now had a boyfriend. I just wish Mass had focused more on the friendship aspect and not turned it into a "happily ever after".