And the truth about The Next to Last Mistake by Amalie Jahn is that I’m probably not going to bother reading it. I’m not overly fond of contemporary novels, as I’m sure many of you know at this point, and I definitely don’t like reading about the military. The Next to Last Mistake is about a girl who has to move as a result of her father’s deployment and honestly I’m really not all that interested in reading about it. I’m not sure I fully understand where they’ve moved to, since the Middle East is mentioned but it doesn’t seem like her father has been deployed there yet? And, honestly, I don’t think I could stomach reading a book that vilifies the Middle East. I’m not saying that this one does, of course, but the thought does make me anxious about reading it. If someone comes along to tell me that I’m really missing out by not adding this book to my TBR, I might reconsider, but for now I just don’t think this book is for me and I’d rather read books that don’t involve American armies. Frankly, I have issues with our ridiculously large and governmentally corrupt military and it’s not something I care to read about in fiction.
Tess Goodwin’s life in rural Iowa is sheltered and uncomplicated. Although she chooses to spend most of her free time playing chess with her best friend Zander, the farm-boy from next door, her skills as a bovine midwife and tractor mechanic ensure that she fits in with the other kids at East Chester High. But when her veteran father reenlists in the Army, moving her family halfway across the country to North Carolina, Tess is forced out of her comfort zone into a world she knows nothing about.
Tess approaches the move as she would a new game of chess, plotting her course through the unfamiliar reality of her new life. While heeding Zander’s long-distance advice for making new friends and strategizing a means to endure her dad’s imminent deployment to the Middle East, she quickly discovers how ill-equipped she is to navigate the challenges she encounters and becomes convinced she’ll never fit in at her new school.
When Leonetta Jackson is assigned as her mentor, she becomes Tess’s unexpected guide through the winding labyrinth of disparities between them, sparking a tentative friendship and challenging Tess to confront her reluctant nature. As the pieces move across the board of her upended life, will Tess find the acceptance she so desperately desires?
What are your feelings on this particular novel? Does it sound like something you’d want to read? Is it something you’d rather not pick up? Do you think it will turn out better than it sounds? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments!