The Last Best Days of Summer

Valerie Hobbs, FSG/Foster, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-34670-6
Like the final stretch of freedom before school begins, there's something quietly magical—and bittersweet—about Hobbs's (Anything but Ordinary) latest novel. Hidden beneath the ordinary anxieties of a 12-year-old starting middle school (Will she be popular? Will her clothes be the right style?), lies a tearjerker that is both insightful and penetrating. When Lucy embarks on her annual trip to her grandmother's lake cabin, she couldn't be more excited to escape her overprotective parents and do all her favorite things (bake cookies, go on canoe adventures). But nothing goes as planned. Eddie, a neighborhood kid, shows up unexpectedly and ruins Lucy's precious alone time with her grandmother, who isn't acting like herself. The portrayals of serious illnesses (Alzheimer's, Down syndrome) are handled with a delicate touch, and Lucy's inner conflicts will readily hit home with readers. Despite her condition, Grams's advice to Lucy is priceless: "Centering? It's that place you go to when you want to know what to do, the best and right thing. It will always be there inside you when you need it." Ages 10–14. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/17/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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