cover image The Last True Love Story

The Last True Love Story

Brandon Kiely. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2988-7

Teddy Hendrix’s grandfather, “Gpa,” raised him but now has early-stage Alzheimer’s; his greatest fear is forgetting his late wife. Teddy writes down Gpa’s stories, but what his grandfather really wants is to see the church he was married in one more time. It means a cross-country trip, and although Teddy doesn’t drive, there’s a girl from school who’s looking to leave town. Singer-songwriter Corrina bonds with Gpa over music, and she and Teddy (an aspiring poet) move slowly toward romance as they cope with Gpa’s mood swings and the inevitable delays, detours, and revelations of a road trip. Their destination is Ithaca, N.Y., with its echoes of the Odyssey, and if Kiely (All American Boys) leans a bit hard on Teddy’s poetic sensibilities and the sheer American weirdness they pass through, he wisely splits the bard and quester roles across his characters (Corrina dreams of a career in music; Teddy wants to know more about his long-dead father). As Gpa tells Teddy, you have to “respect the road trip,” and Kiely does in a quirky, romantic, and satisfying story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Sept.)