cover image One Last Gift

One Last Gift

Emily Stone. Dell, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-59834-4

With this beautiful and heart-wrenching Christmas story, Stone (Always, in December) delivers an epic story of family, loss, and the triumph of love. Siblings Cassie and Tom relied on each other and a group of friends who became like surrogate family after the death of their parents when they were children. Now adults, they’re closer than ever, held together partly by beloved holiday traditions, including Tom creating a clever holiday scavenger hunt for Cassie each year. When Tom is killed in a rock-climbing accident shortly before Christmas, Cassie falls apart, distancing herself from friends Sam and Hazel. Meanwhile, Sam withdraws into his own grief, blaming himself for Tom’s death because he was not there to save him. Though Sam wants to be there for Cassie—with whom he shared a single passionate kiss five years earlier—he fears disappointing her. When Cassie discovers the first clue to the Christmas scavenger hunt Tom set up before his death, solving it gives her purpose—and following the trail leads to a second chance at love. Stone’s masterful tale does not shy away from the messiness of grief, resulting in a complex and emotional story that tugs on every heartstring. Readers should have tissues at the ready. Agent: Sarah Hornsley, Peters Fraser + Dunlop. (Oct.)