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The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone

The First Last Day

by Dorian Cirrone

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Eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams, dreading her family's upcoming move - one of many in recent years - and wishing that her summer at the Jersey shore would never end, unexpectedly finds a way to evade the future when she finds a magical art set, and paints herself into a time-loop. Waking up each day, she continually finds that it is still August 26th, the last day of her summer vacation, the last day to spend with her new friend Kevin, the last day before Kevin's beloved grandmother, G-Mags, has a stroke. But is stopping time a recipe for happiness or for boredom? More importantly, can a person really live at all, if nothing ever changes...?

An engaging variation on the time-travel/time-slip adventure story, The First Last Day reminded me a bit of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode I enjoyed as a teen, in which the crew of the Enterprise had to experience the same stretch of time over and over again, until they were finally able to figure out how to free themselves from the loop. Given Kevin's obsession with science fiction films in Cirrone's story, this feels like an appropriate comparison to draw. However that may be, I appreciated the author's exploration of questions of time, immortality, loss and ethics here, and was also reminded, in this respect, of Natalie Babbit's Tuck Everlasting, which explores some similar themes. I was unexpectedly moved by the conclusion, in which G-Mags dies - unexpectedly, because although I enjoyed the story, I wasn't that involved emotionally until the end - and appreciated the fact that I didn't see the identity of the person who gave Haleigh her art set coming. All in all, this was an appealing middle-grade novel, one which explores a number of themes - fear of change and of uncertain futures, the desire to hold on to loved ones and friends - of relevance to children. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Aug 30, 2016 |
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After finding a mysterious set of paints in her backpack, eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture of her last day at the New Jersey shore. When she wakes up the next morning, Haleigh finds that her wish for an endless summer with her new friend Kevin has come true. At first, she’s thrilled, but Haliegh soon learns that staying in one place—and time—comes with a price.
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