Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: The Last Best Days of Summer by Valerie Hobbs


The Last Best Days of Summer
by Valerie Hobbs
2010 | 192 pages | Middle Grade

All summer long, Lucy Crandall has hung around the pool with her best friend, trying to learn how to be popular, and has been paid to spend time with Eddie, the boy with Down syndrome who lives in her neighborhood. Finally, though, the last week of August is here, and Lucy is ready to make her yearly trip to her grandmother's cabin, the most-anticipated event of the entire summer. This year's visit is different, however, because Grams now requires neighbors to look in on her, and she is beginning to forget important things, sometimes including who and where she is. The situation only worsens when Eddie, realizing Lucy has lost an important bracelet at his house, runs off to find her at the lake.

Lucy is a sympathetic character, and I especially like that she can be cruel and make stupid mistakes that hurt other people. I also enjoyed the chapters from Eddie's point of view, that really humanized him, and showed what I thought was a very realistic portrayal of a kid with his special needs. While the scenes with Lucy and her grandmother were well-written, what stood out for me more were the descriptions of Eddie riding the bus, and trying to make his way through a world he hasn't had much chance to explore.

Overall, I felt a bit like the book tried to cover too much. Between Lucy's coming of age, Eddie's disability, and Grams's impending Alzheimer's, there were a lot of "issues" at play, and at times, I kind of lost track of where the story was trying to take me. But it was an enjoyable realistic fiction book, and I'm glad to have picked it up.

I borrowed
The Last Best Days of Summer from my local public library.

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