The Last Present is the final book in the Willow Falls (or "birthday") series, realistic fiction with just the right amount of magic, courtesy of Angelina, the mysterious old woman with the duck-shaped birthmark. Angelina is seemingly the architect of all that occurs in Willow Falls, the town where nothing happens by coincidence and everything happens for a reason. Readers of the series will delight in revisiting their favorite characters - Leo, Amanda, Tara, Rory, David and all rest, as their stories intertwine and the story of Angelina is finally revealed. ... I'm sad to see it come to an end. It's been great fun!Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was sorry to see the Willow Falls series come to an end. In the forward to Graceful (Scholastic, 2015), Wendy Mass writes that her readers let her know "IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS" that they were not ready for the series to end. Graceful (due out tomorrow) is a gift to her readers.
I think fans of the series will be happy with Graceful, in which Grace fills in (somewhat unwittingly) for the mysterious Angelina as the architect of all that occurs in Willow Falls. This is a series about friendship and family and the cosmic connectedness of all things. It can best be described as magical realism, and it is a series that should be read sequentially. Mass does her best to catch the reader up with previous occurrences, but the series is so intricately plotted that it is difficult to skip a book or read them out of order.
Willow Falls has been a great place to visit, but I think Ms. Mass is ready to move on now. All of our questions have been answered and all loose ends are tied. It's been fun! Enjoy!
The Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass