The Last Best Days of Summer
By Valerie Hobbs
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374346706, 208pp.)
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
For twelve-year-old Lucy Crandall, the last week of August is the most perfect time in the world. It’s the week she gets to spend with Grams at the lake house, canoeing, baking cookies, and glazing pots in Grams’s potting shed. Grams has a way of making Lucy feel centered, like one of the pots on her kick wheel—perfect, steady, and completely at peace. But this summer, Grams doesn’t seem to be exactly the person she once was. And as the week turns into a roller coaster of surprises—some good, some awful—Lucy can’t help but wonder: Will things ever be centered again?
Valerie Hobbs is the recipient of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein Award, a biennial prize that recognizes "an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of children's fiction." She is the author of young adult and middle-grade novels including Sheep, Defiance, and Anything but Ordinary. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has taught academic writing. Valerie lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband.
“Lucy's story will encourage young readers to find courage for adventure.” –The Topeka Capital-Journal
“Like the final stretch of freedom before school begins, there's something quietly magical--and bittersweet--about Hobbs's (Anything but Ordinary) latest novel. Hidden beneath the ordinary anxieties of a 12-year-old starting middle school (Will she be popular? Will her clothes be the right style?), lies a tearjerker that is both insightful and penetrating.” –Starred, Publishers Weekly
“This is a touching book that makes the reader think about problems outside of themselves.” –Library Media Connection
"The story’s finely tuned realism is refreshing, particularly in Lucy’s yearning for social acceptance and in the fully drawn and wholly memorable characters." –Starred, Booklist
“Engaging and thoughtful.” –Kirkus Reviews
“This thoughtful coming-of-age novel tells the story of Lucy and her summer before entering junior high . . . . There is also a satisfying open-endedness that leaves readers with a sense of hope, despite the knowledge that challenges still exist.” –School Library Journal