Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: The Last Martin by Jonathan Friesen

Book Description:

ARC, 264 pages
March 29, 2011, Zonderkidz

There's always a Martin. One Martin. Martin Boyle already has plenty to worry about. His germaphobic mother keeps him home from school if she hears so much as a sneeze, and his father is always off somewhere reenacting old war battles. Julia, the most beautiful girl in school, won't even speak to Martin, and the gym teacher is officially out to get him. Which is why Martin really doesn't need this curse hanging over his head. On a trip to the family cemetery, Martin wanders among the tombstones of his ancestors and discovers a disturbing pattern: when one Martin is born, the previous Martin dies. And---just his luck---Martin's aunt is about to give birth to a baby boy, who will, according to tradition, be named Martin. Martin must find a way to break the curse, but every clue seems to lead to a dead end. And time is running out.

Source: Zondervan & Sara (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

With the charm and humour of a cartoon, The Last Martin made me laugh, worry, paranoid and scared. Martin Boyle, a young teenager, was cursed. The countdown to his cousin’s birth was the countdown to his death. He has succumbed to the germ-free ways of his mom, hiding in his shell and keeping himself safe. To his school mates, he was the weird kid who never speaks, never gets in trouble – plain, ordinary and forgettable. Because he only had a few months left, he strived to enjoy life.

The characters were very fun and entertaining. Poole, a vagrant living in the boxcar in Martin's yard, taught him to be thankful. Poole was an orphan. He was interesting, funny, a little sarcastic, mischievous and grateful. He was a friend in hard times. Julia was the pretty girl who broke all the rules and spent most of her afternoons in detention. Charley, Martin’s best friend, used Martin’s story to impress Julia. He was what I would call dull and dumb. They all worked on OSM – Operation Save Martin. On the day of his cousin’s birth, Martin started getting weak. With the help of his friends, his prose and his hope, could he really undo the curse before it’s too late?

Martin’s parents, despite their imperfections were good and loving. His paranoid mom wanted him safe from all kinds of harm including harm that can be given by germs. His dad wanted him to be a man, to have a backbone, be strong and to face the consequences of his actions. I did not like how the adults in this novel refused to believe Martin. I know that sometimes it does happen in real life – adults ignoring the truth from their children’s mouths. It was unrealistic that they could not see the pattern of deaths when kids could see it. If I were to experience that, it would have been the most terrifying thing ever because your parents would be the first to understand and believe you.

The Last Martin was not just about Martin’s upcoming death and fate but it was also about Martin growing up and learning to live life to the fullest. Funny, entertaining and engrossing, this kept me up at night with its suspenseful race against time and death. A wonderful MG read about friendship, family, life and consequences.



  1. This sounds like a great read. Thanks for the wonderful review. Will have to check it out in the future.

  2. Wow, this sounds really, really good. Seriously, I need to dabble in MG reads! I love the plot for this and the way you've described the story and characters. Creepy curse too! I'm curious to see how (if!) Martin beat it. Love the review!