This Last Adventure
by Ryan Dalton
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 01 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Books ®
When Archie's beloved grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Archie desperately wants to slow the progression of his grandpa's memory loss.
Using Grandpa's old journal entries as inspiration, he creates shared role-playing fantasies with epic quests for them to tackle together—allowing Grandpa to live in the present and stay in touch with his fading memories. But as Grandpa's condition gradually worsens, Archie must come to terms with what's happening to his hero. The limits of the fantasies, revelations about Grandpa's past, and a school project about the future force Archie to grapple with what it truly means to live a life worth remembering.
"A sensitive, touching story . . . With a family history of the disease, I can't wait to hand this book to the younglings in my family."—#1 New York Times Bestselling author Aprilynne Pike
"As empowering and inspiring as it is heart-wrenching, this book will no doubt comfort kids who are dealing with the emotions and struggles that come with watching an aging loved one go through changes, whether from Alzheimer's or another condition."—Christina Collins, author of After Zero
"This Last Adventure has something for everyone: family, friendship, a little bit of fantasy, and a whole lot of heart. I loved it." —Dusti Bowling, author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and The Canyon's Edge
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
What worked: Illness, injuries, and death are parts of young people’s lives, and this book focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease. Archie looks up to his grandfather and loves him with all his heart, but Archie worries about the times when his grandfather’s memory slips. His grandfather forgets to use Archie’s nickname during their daily greetings, and he doesn’t remember he’s living with Archie and his mom. The author skillfully expresses the frustration, anger, and fear of watching a loved one’s mental capacity slowly deteriorate. He also addresses how the loved one experiences those same emotions to demonstrate how Alzheimer’s affects the entire family. You’ll go through the same range of despair. However, the story leads to a tender, emotional resolution that will bring you to tears. The characters create subplots that mesh into an overall engaging book. Archie and his best friend Zig work in a school group with Archie’s crush, Desta, and the school’s top jock, Spencer. Zig adds humor to the story, and he’s truly a loyal friend. Desta is pretty, intelligent, and the most popular girl in school, and she’s equally kind to everyone. Archie manages to help the others in his group improve their projects, but he’s frustrated and embarrassed that he can’t think of a career for himself. Becoming an author is the obvious choice, but does it reflect his passion? Maybe there is something more important than asking a seventh-grader what he wants to be when he grows up. The grandfather has good days, bad days, and really bad days. On the good days, he enjoys time with Fletch, his nickname for Archie, and he offers life lessons to his grandson. He’s kept a journal of happy and sad memories and shares it with Archie. He marks the pages Archie’s allowed to read, and Archie uses those moments to create fantasy adventures with his grandfather to stimulate positive thoughts. However, Archie and readers will wonder about the forbidden pages in the journal. Grandfather is Archie’s hero, so it’s impossible he could have done anything too terrible to share. The truth is revealed in the end and forces Archie to reflect on his expectations of others, and himself. The final verdict: A special, loving bond spanning generations. This book shares an emotional roller coaster of adventure, heartbreak, and affection. The curse of Alzheimer’s is a ruthless enemy, but pleasant and passionate memories must not be forgotten. This book will appeal to a wide range of readers, and I highly recommend you add it to your list of must-reads.
Such a sweet, heart-wrenching story about a boy struggling with his grandfather's Alzheimer's diagnosis. I appreciated the range of emotions portrayed by the main character. The family too was portrayed in a believable way. There was one moment when the young female friend gave the main character some advice that I thought was a bit more worldly than a 13 year old girl could have articulated so well but I let that pass as it did bring the mother's struggles into perspective for the reader. I would certainly recommend this book to a middle school child in a similar situation. Well done.