Cover Image: My Last Innocent Year

My Last Innocent Year

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Member Reviews

I found the writing to be really beautiful honestly. I liked Isabel as a character because she enjoyed writing and her silly little school girl crush was kind of fun to watch at the beginning but I found myself bored with the actual story. I so wish I would’ve enjoyed this more. Maybe I’ll come back to it another time and see if the story jumps out at me.
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I think this is a sold contender for one of the best novels to be released in 2023. We are introduced to Isabel, who is reckoning who she is through the relationships in her life. We learn about who she has loved and who she has lost, and the gritty events in between. I loved the setting of 1998 with the added wildness that was the Clinton & Lewinsky scandal- both clever and ironic. We see Isabel and all of her flaws, but we are also able to empathize with her in some ways. This book made me think, which is my favorite kind. Thank you Henry Holt and Co. and Netgalley for the free review ecopy!
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Enjoyed this thought provoking book. A look at the decisions we make and how they impact our life both in the present and the future.
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I really enjoyed this book. You can feel the disconnect and trauma from the main character. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction but I really liked this book. This book stands out for me because I can feel the depth of the emotions Isabel has. As a narrator she comes across as cold but as the book progresses, she gains immense amounts of depth. I tend to read books really quickly, like in one sitting. But the emotional depth that this book requires forced me to take breaks and really dive into the story.
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The story of a young woman's transitions from college student to adult and the experiences often associated with co-ed life. A story that trys to address rape culture, me too, and a family's difficult relationships. 

I really wanted to like this book and was hoping for a plot to develop. It was a difficult narrative while trying to engage in the social issues being addressed. It was a great idea but just needed more development. I liked it and finished it hoping it would have a complete ending.
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Isabel is starting her senior year when she has a non-consensual sexual encounter with someone she thought was a friend. Soon after she enters into a relationship with one of her professors. 

I thought there would be more impact or depth here but it felt almost anti-climactic at the end. There was also little tie between Monica Lewinsky (mentioned in the blurb and a few times in the book) and the protagonist. Like I thought someone would point this out to her. The encounter at the beginning too also didn’t seem to matter much in the grand scheme of the plot and felt strange. I liked the writing but the plot wasn’t my fave. 

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this campus novel, it was great to read a summer is fading into fall and felt very cozy in a lot of ways. It's well written and I really feel that we get a good feel for the main character and everyone else in her life as well. While I have to admit I was expecting something a bit different with this story from reading the blurb, I still did enjoy it even though it might not have been exactly what I was expecting. To me, it seems to be more about her relationship with the professor than it is about the sexual assault that happens in the beginning of the story. I see how the assault is important and impacts the trajectory of the story and thus her life, I just expected the story to be more focused on it than it was. That being said, it was still enjoyable and I liked that the story followed her all the way to adulthood as well. It was a nice way to wrap things up and make things feel completed.
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4 stars.  I'd be hard pressed to tell you what this story was about or what genre it fits it, and yet I was deeply moved.  It's basically about a woman, coming into her own, figuring herself out, finding her voice, and learning how to unapologetically take up space in the world.  There are many subjects touched on - rape/consensual sex, mental health, infidelity, suicide, but it doesn't go into any of them with great depth.  They are just rather matter of fact, this is what all people have to deal with, subjects.  There is a very bittersweet tone to this writing, and my heart gave a huge sigh as I turned the last page.
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When Isabel goes to college, she has many experiences that the typical coed does. She also has several that are more unusual, including an encounter with a friend that she initially deems rape. With her personality written as being highly suggestible, she wavers on whether or not she actually gave consent. She struggles with ideas of loss, including a parent, romantic relationships, and friendships. She also struggles with trying to find her way in the role of friend or caretaker of friends who need more than she is able to give. She has quite low self-esteem, and she allows herself to be talked into questionable behavior with the mindset that she can always get out of it later. She becomes sexually involved with her professor, which was a cliche, in my opinion.  I felt like this was just literally a story of what happens when you send your daughter to college without a firm foundation. I would not recommend this book, as it did not have much redeeming subject matter in my opinion, and therefore, it was not my taste.  It just felt like a continually downward spiral.
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This was a different read for me since i mostly read adult romance, but I found myself totally gripped by the story especially with the 90s as the backdrop. I can't wait to see what Florin writes next!
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After reading this book, I thought the writing was good but gelt as if the story was trying to adress too many difficult topics all at once without much sincerity. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story really doesn't have much plot.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for giving me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book drew me in immediately with an event that was confusing but also relatable. Isabel is in college in New Hampshire and has a confusing encounter with a friend that has her questioning whether it was what she wanted or not. We learn that Isabel is Jewish, which plays a huge part in who she is, and she lost her mother a few years ago. It takes place in the 90s before cell phones were a thing and computers were just starting to make their way into homes. We follow Isabel on her journey through college as she tries to figure out who she is, while also navigating different friendships and complicated relationships. 

The writer did a really excellent job of capturing what it's like to be in college and confused with life. Not only is she trying to navigate her way through different relationships, she's also trying to figure out what she wants to do after college. She wants to be a writer, but her father wants her to have a more stable career.

I gave this 4 stars because while I did really enjoy the book, I feel like there were missed opportunities to explore some of the things Isabel struggled with. For example, her relationship with Zev and that blurred line of consent, the relationship between Joanna and Tom, even the relationship between her parents who almost divorced before her mom got sick. I would definitely recommend this book and would like to see more from this author.
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I was so excited to receive an electronic copy of this book. It’s definitely a heavier book, but I knew that going into it. I felt the book was an excellent read. The writing was powerful and the story flowed seamlessly. I was able to relate to many things in the book, as I grew up in the 90’s. The characters in the story were so well developed. I would expect this book to review tons of attention and accolades once it’s published early next year. Overall I liked it and I would recommend it! It was an interesting, thought provoking, coming of age book that I enjoyed immensely..

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I was intrigued at first but then I decided I couldn't get into this book. The chapters were too long for my liking and I just wasn't into it at all. I did not finish this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for giving me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Isabelle is a young woman at the end of her senior year in a small New England college coming to grips with the loss of her mother and confusion over a consensual/non-consensual relationship. She encounters a charming and secretive professor who pulls her into his world and makes her feel like an adult for the first time. 

This book was beautifully written. It brought back a lot of college memories of that time of life when mistakes are made and relationships are formed that for better or worse that affect the rest of your life. I especially liked the description of the heady feeling of her dark attraction to Connelly. I also liked how she reflects on her past since she is writing in present day. 

This author is one to watch and I look forward to reading more of her in the future.
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Thank you Henry Holt & Co. and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I surprised myself by liking this one so much. I found the main character really likable and relatable, and even though her story is less than the ideal college experience, the author does such a good job of creating an authentic university atmosphere that I found the reading really nostalgic.

We meet Isabel at a confusing time in her life; neither girl nor woman. After being forced to endure something traumatic that is only becoming more and more prominent across campuses today, a chain of events is set into motion that will leave a permanent influence on the way she views career, family, relationships, and trust. Flashing from past to present to future, we get a full-circle view of Isabel and come to intimately understand why she makes the decisions she does.

I will say that there are parts of the story that I found a little dull - although the writing was so nice that it didn't really deter me from picking the book back up whenever I had a second. It was less of curiosity about what was going to happen and more of a need to consume more pretty words.

All in all, highly recommend this one - this usually isn't my genre, but it was a nice read.
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I absolutely loved this debut novel that centers on protagonist Isabel and her experiences at Wilder College! On the surface she is just another female student, ready for learning, for making friends, and having fun. But underneath is the wholesome desire to BE someone who is important, noticed, and independent as her mother died and her father is, of course, set in his ways and hopes she finds a suitable husband. But what she finds is so much more: people (classmates and professors) who are eager to take advantage of her naive assumptions about college life. That's all you need for plot. Just know that this is one of those novels that, as Florin writes "crawls inside you...and takes up residence" so that it will resonate with you for a long time! I can't wait for more from this author!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
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I haven't read My Dark Vanessa, though I did read Ortiz's Excavation, and I know some reviewers have made the comparison, but I do want to point out that these stories about underage kids (around fifteen) with their K-12 teachers.

This is a professor and a student, which is still awfully questionable, but not out of the realm of possibility, nor can I say that I didn't see it happen myself.

The world of Florin's novel is a world I'm familiar with; I've seen it from so many vantages. I was Igraine being shuffled between office hours of my own parents, I understood the small world of a program (only when I was in graduate school; I went to a large university but know small private schools are different), though my experiences as a(n adjunct) professor have certainly held a fair distance. But the smaller the community, the more intimate and entangled the participants. 

Instead of linking the book to Russell or Ortiz, I see more comparisons making sense with Donna Tartt. Or, if you remove the overwrought crime of these books, Amy Gentry's Bad Habits or ML Rio's If We Were Villains. The same dark academia mood with desire and ambition driving many of the characters.

Florin is a great addition to this genre. She knows how to control the pace of her plot, knows how to let out just the right amount of scene, gives us characters that have just the right amount of depth to play against one another. The prose isn't stunning but it is good, dependable--a bit like how the protagonist's professor describes her own writing. 

I think Daisy Alpert Florin will be one to watch. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.
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As a first book, this is an amazing piece of writing and storytelling. To summarize briefly, our protagonist is Isabel Rosen, Jewish daughter of her widowed Lower East Side shopkeeper father, who is attending a posh private college in New Hampshire, planning to be a writer. The story is told in first person, so the reader is really inside Isabel’s head and world for the duration of the book. The writer’s voice in this work is that of a 21 year old woman living in the late 1990s and if that’s not someplace you’re familiar with, due to your age or gender, you will be once you get into this book.  This is a vivid and thoughtful and occasionally painfully told coming-of-age story which felt pretty honest to me.  I won’t go into more plot details, you can get those elsewhere, but I will say I’m very impressed with this author’s writing. It was absolutely impressively elegant. I wasn’t expecting to become so engaged with the characters, given my own age and life experiences, but discovered otherwise. I finished the book 2 days ago and still find myself thinking about it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for a candid review.
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Isabel is in her final semester at Wilder College in New Hampshire. Scandal rocks the prestigious school when two of her professors announce they are getting a divorce. Isabel's professor, Joanna, needs to take time off to deal with her personal situation, allowing R.H. Conlley to step in to cover her classes. R.H. is a poet and now in charge of Isabel's writing work.

Using his influence and Isabel's vulnerability, he starts an affair with her. But when Joanna's daughter and ex goes missing, Isabel starts to see how the change from teenager/young adult to adulthood isn't as clear as she thought it would be.

Using her experiences in college will shape her transformation into womanhood.
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