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The Last Last-Day-of-Summer (Legendary Alston Boys Series #1)

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"The Last Last-Day-of-Summer reminds me that all children deserve to exist in magical spaces where their imaginations and familial bonds will them into heroism. Every single child should have the freedom to be one of The Legendary Alstons. And I, for one, am grateful to Giles, and this brilliant story, for that reminder." —Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor–winning author of Stuntboy, in the Meantime

In the first Legendary Alston Boys mystery from Edgar Award nominee Lamar Giles, two adventurous cousins accidentally freeze time on the last day of summer, and the secrets hidden between the seconds, minutes, and hours aren't quite the endless fun they expected!

Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have.

That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.

And don't miss the Legendary Alston Boys in their next adventures: The Last Mirror on the Left and The Last Chance for Logan County!

ISBN-13: 9781328460837

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 04-02-2019

Pages: 304

Product Dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Series: Legendary Alston Boys Series #1

Lamar Giles is the Edgar Award–nominated author of the Legendary Alston Boys series, as well as several young adult novels. He is the cofounder of We Need Diverse Books and the editor of the WNDB anthology, Fresh Ink. He lives in Virginia with his family. Dapo Adeola is an award-winning illustrator and designer who creates characters and images that challenge expectations around race and gender in a fun and upbeat way. He is the co-creator and illustrator of bestselling picture book Look Up! — winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the number 1 debut picture book of 2019. Dapo is also illustrator of the Versify fiction series The Last Last Day of Summer and other upcoming series with Macmillan and Bloomsbury.London born and bred but of Nigerian heritage, when he’s not busy cooking up new characters and adventures you can find Dapo running illustration and character design workshops with children or organising events to help highlight the possibilities of a career in illustration to underrepresented members of the Black diaspora. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @dapodraws.

Read an Excerpt


First of all, Grandma’s teacup-pig calendar lied. It said the last day of summer was September 21. Everyone already knew September was a bad month with no good holiday in sight after Labor Day. Fourth of July was at least two months gone; Halloween was more than a month away.
But the real last day of summer was the last Monday in August. Cousins Otto and Sheed Alston had known this for a while, thanks to the big red circle around the last Tuesday in August. Inside that circle, equally red and in Grandma’s handwriting, were the letters BTSFOASTG!
When they asked about it, Grandma said, “It’s an acronym. It means ‘back to school for Otto and Sheed, thank goodness!’”
The boys began thinking of it as an ACK!-ronym, because it meant back to alarm clocks, and homeroom, and homework. ACK!!
In Logan County, Virginia, summer ended when school started. Tomorrow.
And, thanks to an unfortunate headline in the latest printing of the county’s newspaper, Otto was not going to take it lying down.

“Wake up!” Otto said. He finished tying his sneakers with jerky, irritated motions and stretched one leg across the gap between their beds, nudging Sheed’s mattress with his toe; he’d allowed his cousin to snooze long enough, given the circumstances.
Sheed said, “Ughhh! Stop.”
Otto had risen with the sun, eager and upbeat, like most mornings. As was his habit, he padded downstairs in socked feet, eased Grandma’s front door open, and plucked the latest issue of the Logan County Gazette off the porch. There was usually some mention of him and his cousin in the folds of the daily paper, some new clipping to collect. The county folk loved reading about their local legends.
But what he saw on that morning’s front page would never benefit from his admirable scrapbooking skills.
He’d stomped back upstairs, got dressed in tan cargo shorts and his favorite T-shirt. It was green with big white block letters that read STAND BACK, I’M GOING TO DEDUCE! There was work to do.
“Come on, Sheed. It’s the last day.”
The angry air from Sheed’s nostrils puffed the sheet over his face into a tent. “I know. That’s why I want to sleep.”
“You only want to sleep because you haven’t read this morning’s newspaper.”
“I don’t read any morning’s newspaper. What are you even talking about right now?” Sheed burrowed deeper under his covers, like a mole in dirt.
All around, on haphazardly aligned shelves the boys had fastened to the walls themselves, amidst the model cars and their made-up superhero drawings, were souvenirs from all the adventures they’d experienced throughout the season. A mason jar holding a shiny, pigeon-size husk from a Laughing Locust. A lock of banshee hair that sang them to sleep whenever the moon was full. And many more things unique to—or drawn to—the strange county in which they lived. Of all the trophies, it was the two Keys to the City awarded to them by the mayor of Fry that filled Otto with the most pride. Until today.
He smacked Sheed’s shoulder with the rolled-up newspaper, then peeled back his blanket. “You don’t really want to waste time sleeping on our last day of summer—our last chance to have one more adventure before you-know-what starts.” Otto refused to say the S-word. “Do you?”
“Yes!” Sheed covered his head with a pillow.
Otto yanked the cord that zipped their blinds to the top of the window frame, flooding the room with bright sunshine. Sheed threw his pillow. Otto dodged it easily.
Sheed said, “Fine. I’m up. What’s with you?”
Now that he had Sheed’s attention, Otto unfolded the offensive newspaper for his cousin to see. Sheed read it. Then groaned. Then smacked his forehead. “I can’t believe you woke me up for this.”
Otto turned the paper so he could reread the worst news ever, unclear why Sheed wasn’t more upset. The headline read: EPIC ELLISONS RECEIVE THIRD KEY TO THE CITY!
“They broke the tie,” Otto said, his gaze flicking to their meager pair of keys; they somehow seemed duller in this morning’s light.
The Epic Ellisons—a.k.a. twin sisters Wiki and Leen—were the county’s other adventurers. Some might say they were rivals. Not Otto, though. In his mind, the Ellisons were clearly the inferior duo. Otto might have to talk to Mayor Ahmed about handing those keys out willy-nilly. But in the meantime . . .
“Come on.” Otto grabbed his notepad and tiny always-there pencil. “The Legendary Alston Boys never sleep late!”
“That nickname’s stupid,” Sheed said, not meaning it. “This Legendary Alston Boy does sleep late whenever his annoying cousin lets him.”
“Exactly.” Otto slipped on his backpack, cinching the straps tight against his shoulders. “Like I said. Never.”

Sheed rounded the corner into Grandma’s kitchen and found Otto shoveling a final spoonful of cereal into his mouth. He still wasn’t happy being dragged out of bed so early, but had somehow managed to get dressed despite feeling all yawny and stiff. He’d put on jeans that were spotted with permanent grass stains and ripped at the knees, red high-tops, a white T-shirt, and his favorite purple Fry Flamingos basketball jersey (given to him by Fry High School basketball star #00, Quinton Sparks, after Sheed and Otto got rid of the ghost haunting the Flamingos locker room last fall). He flopped into his usual seat while combing a plastic wide-toothed pick through his (admittedly small, but growing) Afro, fluffing it out as far as it would go. First a ’fro. One day, dreadlocks. A solid plan, if he said so himself.
“Don’t pick your hair at the table,” Grandma said. She faced the stove, never needing to actually see them to know they were breaking some rule or another. “Now, go on and eat.”
Sheed ceased his grooming, wedged his pick tight into his thick hair, so only the handle protruded, and dug into a bowl of Frosty Loops. Otto’s foot tapped the tile floor impatiently. Sheed decreased his eating speed by half, just to annoy his cousin.
When Sheed finally finished, Otto was on his feet, bouncing and fidgety. “Ready?”
“I guess.”
“Hurry up, then.”
The skin around Grandma’s eyes crinkled as she narrowed her gaze in their direction. She said, “Boys, why you always got to be at odds? One fast, one slow. One say east, t’other say west. Stop all that foolishness.” She poked the teacup-pig calendar, her finger right on BTSFOASTG! “That time’s going to fly by before you know it, so go on and enjoy your day, and each other.”
But Grandma was wrong. The time wasn’t going to fly by, and they would not be enjoying the day because things were about to get stranger than usual in Logan County.
The Legendary Alston Boys just didn’t know it yet.