cover image The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

Lamar Giles, illus. by Dapo Adeola. Versify, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-328-46083-7

In his inventive middle grade debut, Giles (Overturned) riotously scrambles time, moving it backward, forward—and not at all. In the Virginia county that’s home to genial African-American cousins and renowned sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston (whose sleuthing skills are rivaled only by crafty twin sisters), curious goings-on are commonplace, but on the last day of summer vacation, things “get stranger than usual”—by a lot. When Flux, a man with limbs that can stretch “like he was made of taffy,” suddenly appears and instructs the boys to take a photo of their town with his vintage camera, residents become frozen in place and time. TimeStar, a futuristic superhero, then emerges from a portal in the sky and lunges at Flux, launching a madcap struggle between good and evil and the cousins’ quest to unfreeze time. Villainous Flux commandeers Norton Juster–style “agents of time” the Clock Watchers—cleverly depicted personifications that include patriarch Father Time, indecisive Second Guessers, and the Time Sucks, fuzzy platypuslike beasts. Laced with humor, the fantastical time war plays out at a dizzying pace as Giles interjects affecting realism with themes of reconciliation, family, identity, and destiny. Ages 10–12. [em]Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) [/em]