I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I first heard about The Last Boy at St. Edith’s last summer when I began to follow author Lee Gjertsen Malone on Twitter. I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read, and I was very excited when I received an opportunity to read an advanced copy via Netgalley.
Jeremy Miner is a seventh grade student at St. Edith’s Academy. The school was coeducational for a few years, but all the other boys have moved away or transferred to other schools. Jeremy hates being the only boy at an all-girls school, but his mother will not allow him to transfer. So, Jeremy does what any reasonable person would do in this situation: he formulates a plan to get himself kicked out of school. He and his friend Claudia come up with a series of pranks, and while Jeremy tries to set guidelines about no one being humiliated or no property being damaged, things don’t always go according to plan. As Jeremy gets closer to achieving his goal, he realizes that his actions are affecting those around him- is this really what he wants?
I read this book with my oldest daughter, who is almost nine years old. She’s in the target demographic for middle grade books, and she has been an invaluable resource when reviewing the books I receive from Netgalley. She loved The Last Boy at St. Edith’s, and laughed numerous times throughout the book. She says that she liked that Jeremy made friends with some of the girls even though he was the only boy at the school. She also liked some of the surprises throughout the book; it “upped the suspense”, she says.
I also loved this book. I appreciated the messages about friendship, and introspection. As a parent, I appreciated that the book had a sophisticated vocabulary; my daughter was able to learn many new words that she’ll be able to use in her writing at school.
I would absolutely recommend The Last Boy at St. Edith’s to middle grade readers, as well as fans of school stories. My daughter says this book is great for both girls and boys because “they can see the perspective of being the only girl or boy at a school”. This is a very funny book and a wonderful debut. We are looking forward to more books from Lee Gjertsen Malone!