The Last Wish of Sasha Cade – Cheyanne Young – Kids Can Press – Published 2 October 2018
The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world — the best friend in the whole world — has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.
And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?
In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.
This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?
A powerful beginning hallmarks what can only be described as a beautiful, heartbreaking and very sweet story. A story of sad endings transformed into just-the-beginnings, a story of broken hearts slowly healing, a story of friendship bonds so strong that time nor death holds any sway. The Last Wish of Sasha Cade is an ode to friendship.
Raquel knew this day was coming, but the death of her best friend Sasha still hits her hard. In the midst of her grief she receives a surprise letter from Sasha outlining a series of adventures that will unfold over the next few weeks – a scavenger hunt of memories and fond moments. But Sasha has one other big secret that she shares with Raquel – a boy with whom she shared a special connection. As Elijah and Raquel complete Sasha’s adventures, they become close, brought together through shared grief. But a future together would mean revealing Sasha’s secret.
The Last Wish of Sasha Cade had me tearing up in the very first chapter. Really. This book should come with a warning not to start reading it in public. The depth of Sasha and Raquel’s friendship is clear right from the start and that makes their parting and Raquel’s grief all the sharper. What starts out sad quickly morphs to sweet and sentimental as Raquel meets Elijah and they begin Sasha adventure trail, sharing old memories made new and touching little moments.
Raquel and Elijah are comfortable together almost from the moment they meet. There is an attraction, certainly, but they start as people sharing a friendship and then a loss and that makes their romance more slow burn than hot sizzle. For those concerned about betrayal, Elijah and Sasha’s relationship was not romantic at all.
Elijah quickly became my favourite character. His story of a childhood that was a sharp contrast to Sasha’s, the challenges he has overcome and his goals for the future really kept me hooked to the story. While Raquel for the most part is a simple character, still grieving her best friend and eager to help Elijah, at times she would boss Elijah around or continually whine about his delayed communication – sometimes sounding very much like a spoiled brat – which lessened my interest in her story. The book is written in first person from Raquel’s perspective, which limits the story to Raquel’s feelings and interpretation of events.
The Last Wish of Sasha Cade is a fun and sweet story of love, celebrating the love of best friends and the love that can grow in the hurt of loss.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Friendship, best friends, cancer, death, grief, family, adoption, foster care, siblings, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: References to drugs and drug dealing, Coarse language, fu** (4), sh** (20), pi**(13), bi*** (3), as***** (1).
Published: 2 October 2018 by Kids Can Press.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.