“The Last Girl” by Joe Hart: It’s Not What You Expect

The Last Girl Joe Hart

I practically devoured The Last Girl by Joe Hart, though it left me with a bit of an off taste in my mouth – almost as if there was so much to like about it, but a couple minor ingredients didn’t quite mix in the way they were supposed to.

WARNING: Minor plot spoilers for The Last Girl follow, but no major events or twists are revealed.

The Last Girl is essentially billed as “Thriller & Suspense”, but honestly it fits far more categories than that. This was a nice change for someone who loves reading a lot of different types of novels but rarely finds one that can mix several fiction classifications without turning into a giant sludgy mess.

To be honest, at first I allowed myself to get lost in the story (mostly just waiting for *something* to happen) just enough to not really think about the ramifications of what was going on. But by the time I finished reading, I was full of more questions than answers, and not exactly the “good” questions that the first book of a trilogy should leave you with. But before I delve into that, I want to say that my biggest point of contention with The Last Girl is that it should have come with several trigger warnings – mainly for not one but several graphically depicted rape attempts, as well as two more specific warnings regarding a character with a mental disability that I honestly can’t even get into without spoiling the novel.

Listen, it sounds like I’m hating on The Last Girl quite a bit, here. I will admit that I think it has some major story development issues – for instance, the fact that they’re blaming it on the women who can’t have female babies despite the fact that it’s the man who provides the Y chromosome that makes a child male. {spoiler alert} There’s a very brief mention at the end that babies actually start out female but change around the one-month mark, and in my opinion, that should have been mentioned sooner. {/spoiler alert} I felt like the author was trying to keep this fact a mystery but in doing so was just making me question whether the “National Obstetric Association” even understood basic biology.

All that said, I couldn’t put the book down. The main character, Zoey, was a bit YA-antagonist-perfect for a book that doesn’t brand itself as YA, but I truly enjoyed experiencing her story. I’m still not quite sure why it was told in present tense – a tactic that, especially in fiction, is usually eyed from afar but avoided at most costs – yet somehow the tense rarely took me out of the story. This is a problem I had with another novel that I recently read, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Another pleasant surprise was the fact that The Last Girl was somehow both predictable and shocking. Yes, Zoey’s near-perfection at most things was a bit grating at times, and I definitely could have done without the rape scenes and one (if not two) of the character deaths, but again, it’s hard to say more without spoiling too much – and that, I don’t want to do, because the author does throw in a few twists that are well worth pushing through the questionable parts of the story.

The Last Girl is a little bit sci-fi, a little bit dystopian, and even a little bit horror. If you enjoy at least two of the above, and if you have a fairly strong constitution and can also handle nearly 400 pages written in present tense, I do suggest giving it a read. As for me, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for book two of the Dominion trilogy.

This is an honest review given in exchange for a free copy of The Last Girl thanks to Wunderkind PR.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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