Summary: Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy.
Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He’s going to get expelled.
Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door.
First off, I have to say that I had to battle my ten-year-old son for this ARC. He’d seen a blurb about the book months ago, and had been asking weekly when we would get it. So once that book came into the house, he grabbed it and wouldn’t let go until he was done. He loved the pranks, the characters, and pretty much everything about it.
So did I. Seventh-grader Jeremy finds himself in the unfortunate position of being the only male remains of a failed attempt by St. Edith’s to go coed – and his mom won’t let him transfer, because the only reason they can afford the school is the scholarship money she receives as am employee of St. Edith’s. So Jeremy is determined to get himself expelled. And he knows just who to ask for help: his wild friend Claudia, mastermind of the school’s Film Club and violator of every point of the school’s dress code. Jeremy sets some guidelines for the pranks, though: no one can get hurt, and they can’t steal or damage anything. (The image of Jeremy assiduously labeling each of the garden gnomes he steals with the addresses of their owners cracks me up.) But soon the pranks get out of hand, as pranks often do, and not only do property and people get hurt, but Jeremy’s sister and her friends are blamed for his actions. When the big decisions have to be made, Jeremy starts to realize that maybe being the only boy in a sea of girls isn’t so bad after all.
Jeremy is a likeable, believable character. He’s one of those boys who isn’t particularly bothered to be surrounded by girls – but who feels like he ought to be. His friends are equally well-drawn, particularly Claudia, the bold prankster with a heart of gold, and Emily, the literal girl next door who’s just waiting for Jeremy to notice how compatible they are. THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S is a middle grade read with lots of fun and lots of heart.
THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S is out now.