18 September 2014

Review: Last Family Standing by Jennifer AlLee


I’ve read a couple of novels recently set on or around reality TV shows—I suppose that tells you something about contemporary TV (I wouldn’t know. I’ve usually got my nose to my Kindle). Last Family is something a little different, and that’s what makes it special.

Getting a phone call from your best friend to say they’ve just seen your daughter on TV isn’t an everyday happening, but it’s something Monica Stanton never expected to hear. She gave her daughter up for adoption the day she was born, twenty-five years ago. Now her daughter wants to reunite—on a reality TV show.

Last Family Standing is close to perfect. Excellent opening. Solid writing. Well-paced. Great characters. Plenty of conflict, both internal soul-searching and the external conflict of attempting to establish a relationship with a complete stranger while participating in an elimination-style reality show on a tropical island with not enough food. A twist in the middle and another towards the end which gives it that real “wow” factor. And even a little romance (that’s the one failing. Perhaps not enough romance …).

The entire story is told by Monica in first person point of view. That’s sometimes a weakness, but Monica is a strong character, one with plenty of hidden secrets (like the identity of Jessica’s father), and a character who is well able to hold the novel without it getting boring. And the single viewpoint works well, because that way the reader is just as surprised as Monica when the twists come.

Recommended. I’ll certainly be looking out for more books from Jennifer AlLee.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Jennifer AlLee at her website.


  1. Jen is a great writer. I can't wait to read this one. Iola, you would probably enjoy The Mother Road! It's funny and touching all at the same time.

  2. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a good book for my book club. I second the recommendation for Mother Road.

  3. Iola, thanks so much for reviewing the book. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! Beckie and Suzie, thanks for the thumbs up on The Mother Road. You ladies are the best :)

  4. Thanks for visiting and commenting, ladies. I have The Mother Road on my Kindle - now I will have to read it!