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The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said
Written by Sara Biren
Abrams £10.99
ISBN: 978-1419723049

Set in a small town in the USA, this is a story of the impact of a death on the lives of people within that community. Lucy and Trixie have been best friends from a very young age. Lucy has also been in love with Trixie's brother, Ben, for as long as she can remember and his feelings for her are mutual although neither has talked to each other about this. But then, last summer, their lives changed in an instant.

Trixie and Lucy's brother go swimming while Ben and Lucy are flirting with each other, and about to shyly admit their feelings for one another, when tragedy strikes. Trixie has a heart attack and she dies in the water. Following her death, his pain and grief causes Ben to verbally lash out at Lucy and fracture their friendship and burgeoning relationship.

As the one year anniversary of her death approaches, both are still in love with each other but have drifted apart to protect themselves from the pain and grief they are still feeling. A well-written story which explores the pain of grief and loss and the power of first love. Gently told, characters develop realistically and are well rounded. The description is excellent, capturing the feel and sense of a tightly knit family within a small-town community.

Annie Everall

Reviews from past issues

Babies & Toddlers
Picture Books
First Steps
Reading Alone
Reading With Confidence
Moving On
Younger Teen Reads
More mature
Information Books


Sample articles from Carousel issue 43: Autumn 2009

P J Lynch's - considerable reputation as a distinguished Irish artist might almost be intimidating so there is something reassuring in his description of himself as a child, lying on the floor, always drawing.

Non-fiction reviews - information for all ages

Reviews: Reading Alone - Whole books to read and re-read

Shaun Tan: Another World We Can All Inhabit

In Praise of Illustration: “Picture books are special – they’re not like anything else. Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call proper books (books without pictures), at an earlier and earlier stage. This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing . . ."

Sample articles from Carousel issue 42: Summer 2009

Summer 2009 Cover

A Sense of Place - Many stories have emerged from real-life places, often providing rich and dramatic backcloths. Sharing these as a family can be a wonderful experience. The Carousel editors would like to recommend some favourites with a real ‘sense of place’ which would make ideal visits if you are staying at home this year.

A Need to Learn from the Past - The study of war is part of the National Curriculum and the 5-14 Scottish Curriculum so if you want authentic material, whether in book form or actual artefacts, The Imperial War Museum (IWM) is an obvious resource.

Siobhan Dowd by Chris Stephenson. Siobhan Dowd died in 2007 aged forty-seven. In the last years of her life she wrote four exceptional novels, the first of which was published in 2006.

Picture Book Reviews: Rewarding reads for all the family

Babies: Reviews of books to catch, and hold, babies' and todlers' attention

Sample articles from Carousel issue 41: March 2009

Editorial: At Carousel we believe in using our review space to highlight books that we think
are worth considering . . . .

How to Exorcise Unquiet Spirits: Jan Ormerod was artist in residence at the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre in Western Australia in 2007/2008, and shares her experience with Carousel readers.

Angela Barrett: Exquisite Skills in Drawing and Painting

Manga Carta: Manga comic strip stories, originating from Japan in the 1950s, are typically printed in black and white and are read in paperback form from back to front. Hugely popular in their country of origin, this format is now becoming popular with publishers in Britain, France and America.

Reviews: Reading Alone

Reviews: Reading With Confidence

Sample articles from Carousel issue 40: Autumn 2008

Working from home - Working From Home: Gillian McClure, by Chris Stephenson

Helen Craig: Family Matters

Mo Willems: Making it ‘Serious in Funny' - When he was a young man, Mo Willems wrote a letter to Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. Mr Schulz, he told the great cartoonist, I want your job when you die . . .

Poetry Reviews

We Are ALL Born FREE
Judith Escreet, Art Director at Frances Lincoln, writes: "All people are born free and equal are the opening words of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations" . . .

The Mouldiwarp and Me: Pat Jenkins, a former teacher and reviewer for Carousel, shares her childhood reading experiences.

Books for older readers - reviews

Reads 4 Teens - reviews

Sample articles from Carousel issue 39: Summer 2008

Polly Dunbar: Painting & Puppets - Winner of the Younger Children’s section in the 2008 Red House Children’s Book Award. By Chris Stephenson

Museum of Childhood
A great destination for a family or school visit
By Pat Thomson

Shakespeare and his world
By Enid Stephenson

Non Fiction reviews

Picture Book reviews

First Steps reviews

Sample articles from Carousel issue 38: Spring 2008

To a Secret Garden via a Cat and a Toad
by David Blanch

Return to the Little House
by Pat Thompson

Where Readers Rule
Chris Powling on writing for Barrington Stoke - voted 2007’s “Children’s Publisher of the Year”.

The Editor: Yvonne Hooker

Teachers as Readers
Building Communities of Readers

Words and Pictures Equally - Brian Selznick interviewed by Chris Stephenson

Sample articles from Carousel issue 37: Autumn 2007


Children Deserve The Best Television

The Background and Inspirations for APACHE
by Tanya Landman

Sample articles from Carousel issue 36: Summer 2007

Michael Rosen's editorial

Picture Book Reviews

Rosemary Sutcliff

The Carnegie Medal

Berlie Doherty: Finding Out What Happens

Raiders from the Sea - the writing of Carnegie Medal winner, The Stronghold, by Mollie Hunter


Sample articles from Carousel issue 35: Spring 2007

Making Early Learning Fun
Rod Campbell

Whatever Happened to Children's Poetry?

Getting Things Right
Nigel Hinton

Children in World War Two
- a personal choice of books

The Time Travelling Cat
- Julia Jarman talks about her series

Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy

Sample articles from Carousel issue 34: Autumn 2006

Sample articles from Carousel issue 33: Summer 2006

Sample articles from Carousel issue 31

Sample article from Carousel issue 30, Summer 2005

Sample articles from the Carousel, Summer 2004 issue

Sample article from the Summer 2003 issue

Sample articles from the Spring 2003 issue

Past issues

Carousel 65

Anthony Horowitz, Andy Riley, Lydia Monks (Carousel 65)

Carousel 64

Shaun Tan, Marion Deuchars, Bruce Ingman (Carousel 64)

Carousel 63

Alex T Smith, Jeanne Willis, Frances Hardinge (Carousel 63)

Carousel 62

Michael Foreman, William Grill, Robin Stevens (Carousel 62)

Carousel 61

Nicola Morgan, Richard Adams and Lauren Child (Carousel 61)

Carousel 60

Jacqueline Wilson. Modern take on Alice and more (Carousel 60)

Carousel 59

Frank Cottrell Boyce. Simon Mayo, children's author (Carousel 59)

Carousel 58

25 years of ELMER at Andersen Press. Michael Rosen . . . (Carousel 58)

Carousel 57

The Great War, Chris Haughton, Mick Inkpen, Erin Lange (Carousel 57)

Carousel 56

Oliver Jeffers, Robert Ingpen, Sophia McDougall (Carousel 56)

Carousel 55

Michael Morpugo, Emma Chichester Clark, Shirley Hughes (Carousel 55)

Carousel 54

Petr Horacek, David Melling and New Zealand Adventures (Carousel 54)