Book Review: The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
by Lamar Giles
Publication Date: Apr 02, 2019
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Book Reviewed by Vanessa Vanzie
A combination of fun, friends and awesome adventures make for a summer vacation that you never want to end. The Legendary Alston boys are no exception in this action-packed story by Lamar Giles. His exciting book, The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, will take young readers on a whirlwind journey with cousins, Otto and Sheed, who solve strange mysteries in the small town of Fry.
The Alston cousins, who are as close as brothers, start off the last day of summer with the crushing news of a broken tie between their super sleuthing rivals, the Epic Ellisons. Never wanting to be outdone by twin sisters, Leen and Wiki, Otto Alston frantically tries to find a new adventure that will also earn them a third key to the city. But what monumental blitz can the Alston boys stop in the nick of time to save the people of Fry and gain the coveted third key?
No need for the cousins to waste the day searching high and low in town where strange things take place more often than not. As luck would have it, a shocking whodunit falls right out of the sky and the young town heroes are destined to add another key to their collection on the last day of summer.
A friendly stranger who dons a black top hat is actually a smooth talking trickster who turns the Alston boys into his involuntary accomplices. He conceals his dastardly deed with a bewitched vintage camera. One click captures the picturesque town and all of its inhabitants in a frozen state! How is this possible? Who is the tall, dark man that appears out of nowhere and delivers a power packed kick to the not so friendly stranger? What can the Alston boys do to reverse the curse? Will the Epic Ellison twins solve the case first and get a fourth key from the Mayor?
I found myself fully engrossed with the story and willingly accompanied the Alston boys on a suspenseful journey to uncover hidden truths about the stranger and the people of Fry. There are a few other mini mysteries that are wrapped up in this thrilling adventure. A parallel universe, time travel and futuristic gizmos make this a perfect sci-fi book that centers around two incredibly smart and cool cousin-brothers. If I can find myself totally enthralled with the characters and the story on a whole, then I know young readers will enjoy it just as much. Giles has done a fantastic job of creating a story that introduces and celebrates the STEM field in the coolest possible way. The young African American male and female characters in this book are fully invested geeks who use their sharp minds to problem solve and become bold change agents who wield a great impact. This representation is very important because it will undoubtedly inspire young people of color to follow suite. Giles has superbly written a book that will inspire this generation to be great.