Start with a little Hardy Boys, add in a light dose of The Phantom Tollbooth, and sprinkle in a little Ghostbusters to top off the recipe. The result is a rollicking adventure with a pair of endearing cousins. Humor abounds as does a Final+Cover-1.jpgheartwarming story you’ll want to share.

Otto and Sheed Alston are legendary in their Logan County, Virginia community. These budding sleuths have solved some pretty wild and wacky cases. They long for one more adventure on the last day of summer break (and another key to the city), but never expect to find the whole town unable to move in some sort of time stoppage. Residents are stuck in their last position  but can carry on a conversation. Otto and Sheed are unaffected, still able to move, and set out to unfreeze the town.

Otto takes frequent notes, helping the two deduce what is going on. Depending on the situation, Sheed can either be laid back or jump in and get it done kind of guy. Filled with crazy characters and a touching bond between these two cousins, the story will appeal to both girls and boys. The third person narration stays close to the boys even when the evil doings keep them separated at times. The middle grade stage is ready for a pair of new heroes and what better ones than Otto and Sheed.




  1. Kids will attach themselves immediately to the feeling a last day of summer brings. Otto and Sheed will have them reading right to the first bell.
  2. Characters like Mr. Flux, AM, PM, Timestar, and Clock Watchers make sure surprising moments come at a fast pace throughout the 41 chapters.
  3. The less appealing side of time travel is presented when Otto finds out things about his own future and the ones he love. It might even bring a tear to your eye.
  4. Petey is a character a lot of boys and girls could emulate. Don’t be afraid to try something challenging and become the person you are meant to be.
  5. No issues of race here. That alone is refreshing.


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.


Lamar+Giles+Lamar Giles is a well-published author and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Lamar has two novels forthcoming in 2019: his debut middle grade fantasy THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER (Versify / HMH) and his fourth YA thriller SPIN (Scholastic).

Also a two-time Edgar Award finalist in the YA category, for his debut YA thriller FAKE ID (HarperCollins, 2014), and his second YA thriller, ENDANGERED (HarperCollins, 2015). His third YA thriller, OVERTURNED (Scholastic, 2017) received a glowing New York Times review, and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017. FAKE ID has been optioned by Sony Pictures.

Lamar is a contributor to the YA anthology THREE SIDES OF A HEART (HarperCollins, 2017), the editor of the We Need Diverse Books YA short story anthology FRESH INK (Random House 2018), a contributor to the forthcoming YA anthology BLACK ENOUGH: STORIES OF BEING YOUNG & BLACK IN AMERICA (HarperCollins / Balzer & Bray 2019), and a contributor to a forthcoming We Need Diverse Books middle grade anthology THE HERO NEXT DOOR (Random House 2019). He has published several short stories for adults.

(For more visit Lamar’s website)


I received an ARC in exchange for  my honest review.


You only have six days left to enter National Geographic’s huge giveaway to launch the second book in the Explorer Academy Series. ALWAYS in the MIDDLE and four other blogs hosted the tour last week. A separate Rafflecopter entry form is being used for each site so a total of five winners will win all the great items pictured below.  Here’s my post with all the details or head right over to the Rafflecopter entry form to sign up.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. You had me hooked in your first line of your post. I’ll be looking for this one at my library.

  2. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This book sounds like so much fun! I actually got to hear from Lamar Giles at the book festival over the weekend, so I’ll be sure to try this!

  3. What a great title and cover — love the expression on the cousins faces. Many kids will identify with this fun adventure! I know I would have!

  4. Joanne Fritz says:

    I’m reading this right now! (On Netgalley, so it takes me a while to read) It’s a lot of fun so far.

  5. Janet Smart says:

    This sounds like a great book. I love that they are cousins (I’ve written a manuscript involving cousins, and I have many great cousins). The fact that you said it takes place in Logan County, VA caught my eye. I know it is a fictitious county, but there is a Logan County in southern WV. Thanks for the review!

  6. This book sounds like fun! Thanks for your review.

  7. Aww. This looks like a lot of fun. I just love the title. Thanks for telling me about it.

  8. Andrea says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun!

  9. I love the expressions on the boys’ faces on the cover of this book, Greg. This sounds like a must read for me. Thanks for sharing it on MMGM.

  10. Pingback: THE LAST MIRROR ON THE LEFT | Always in the Middle…

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