The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
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Kid sleuths investigate zany time-travel mystery.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Has an absurd plot but does promote importance of logical thought. Sheed keeps a notebook on which he jots down observations and deductions.

Positive Messages

Maintaining strong family bonds is important for everyone. Instead of worrying about your legacy, concentrate on helping people now.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Otto and Sheed bicker a lot, but they are devoted to each other. Sheed is the more laid-back of the two. The boys are brave, resourceful, and sensitive, and they respect their grandmother and her wisdom.


A lot of chasing and a little punching. A villain gets kicked in the groin.


The boys might have crushes on twin sisters "the Epic Ellisons."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Last-Day-of-Summer is a wacky science fiction adventure by Lamar Giles (Fake ID) in which two African American boy sleuths -- who are cousins -- attempt to solve a time-traveling mystery. Their grandma is a powerful force in the story. The violence is cartoonish: some punching and and one kick in the groin. There's a hint that the boys may have crushes on twin sisters. 

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What's the story?

At the start of THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER, cousins Otto and Sheed Alston meet Mr. Flux, a strange little man who tricks them into freezing time with a special camera. Chaos ensues throughout Logan County, and the boy sleuths must find a way to "unstick" their friends and family members. As they do, they learn about themselves and what the future might hold for them.

Is it any good?

In the wrong hands, a book-length serving of absurd humor might be too much of a good thing, but this zany time-travel adventure keeps the bizarro laughs coming until the very end. Logan County is a strange place, but in The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, author Lamar Giles makes it seem appealing, even when a giant platypus runs amok. Otto and Sheed are highly likable main characters: inquisitive, brave, and true to each other. Their antagonist is both annoying and dangerous, and the cousins' confrontations with various aspects of time are clever and sometimes even moving. Dapo Adeola's black-and-white spot illustrations lend a touch of reality to a story that includes robots, mirrors full of tentacles, and giant marsupials. Giles seems just to be getting started exploring Logan County, and middle-grade readers will welcome further adventures for Otto and Sheed -- boys especially.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the time frame in The Last Last-Day-of-Summer. What's so special about the end of summer and anticipating the beginning of the school year? 

  • Why do you think time travel is a common theme in science fiction? Why is it fun to imagine going forward or backward in time? 

  • Otto and Sheed are cousins and share a special bond. Why do some kids prefer to hang out with members of their family?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery and science fiction

Themes & Topics

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