• Last Summer Boys

  • A Novel
  • By: Bill Rivers
  • Narrated by: Michael Crouch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (262 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this rapturous coming-of-age debut, a naive-yet-determined Appalachian boy will go to any length to save his family over the course of one life-changing summer.

“If you’re famous, you don’t have to go to war.”

Summer 1968. When thirteen-year-old Jack Elliot overhears the barbershop men grousing, he devises a secret plan to keep his oldest brother, Pete, from the draft. If famous boys don’t go to war, he’ll make his brother their small town’s biggest celebrity. Jack gets unexpected help when his book-smart cousin Frankie arrives in their rural Pennsylvania town for the summer. Together, they convince Jack’s brothers to lead an expedition to find a fighter jet that crashed many winters ago—the perfect adventure to make Pete a hero.

But with a greedy developer determined to flood their valley, a beautiful girl occupying his middle brother’s attentions, a wild motorcycle gang causing trouble in town, and a disturbed neighbor setting fires, Jack realizes it isn’t just Pete who needs saving.

Set during a single, tumultuous summer, this beautifully told tale is a heartwarming tribute to innocence, first love, and the unbreakable bond of brotherhood.

©2022 William J. Rivers III (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing. Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“A wonderfully evocative coming-of-age tale about a young boy’s determination to hold on to all he holds dear during the tumultuous sixties in rural America. The setting and the time period are perfectly captured, but it was the characters in Last Summer Boys that really pulled me in. I found myself rooting for these boys from the first page to the last in this unforgettable debut novel that’s sure to capture your heart, too.”—Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Every Now and Then and Whistling in the Dark

“Over the course of one life-changing summer, one boy will do whatever it takes to save his oldest brother from the draft. But when other hurdles arise that threaten his family, he’ll summon every ounce of his courage and strength to try to protect them all. Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure narrative, this heartwarming and uplifting debut is perfect for fans of William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land or the beloved film Stand by Me (adapted from Stephen King’s The Body).”—Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and The World Played Chess  

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What listeners say about Last Summer Boys

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Great Read!

Set in the late '60s, this story weaves those tumultuous times with a coming of age story of four teenage boys. The author's descriptive narrative made me feel I was right there. The narrator was exceptional. I hope Bill Rivers will do a sequel. I am not ready to let go of the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Absolutely wonderful!

Sometimes I forget just how innocent we were in the sixties. This book transported me back to that time when summers seemed to last forever and violence did not happen in our own neighborhoods. Jack, Frankie, Will and Pete stand on the cusp of a new and frightening world in the summer of 1968. And yet they carry with them courage, character and strength. These boys are the boys we all grew up with and the gutter they face will change them, but I have a feeling they’re going to be just fine. The narrator does a marvelous job and he had exceptional material with which to work. I am looking forward to more works from Bill Rivers.

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What a surprise!

This book was a delight! I usually listen to historical fiction (a lot of WW2), and I think I picked this up on a whim. It is so well written, with many poetic descriptors that made me want to bookmark to read again later! It had me chuckling and crying. A brilliant debut novel for Bill Rivers, and narrator Michael Crouch does an amazing job of bringing us right alongside Jack on his adventurous and heart-wrenching summer.

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Great book with fun plot twists!

Wonderful narration for a fantastic story! I highly recommend this book for people all ages.

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great summer read!

This was like a memoir. It's a sweet story of a young man coming to age during the 1960s in the rural mountains of PA. The narrator brought it to life! I felt like I really knew Jack and his whole family.

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Waiting for something to happen

After 14 chapters I kept waiting for something dynamic to happen. It was taking too long to build my interest.

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Great Summer listen

If Kindle hadn’t proposed it, I doubt that I would have found this treasure. Good balance of laughs, a few tears, and sweeps of nostalgia.

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About the main character's voice

I struggled with the first person voice of the 13 year old main character, Jack. His character's metaphors were lovely and descriptive but not things a young teen would say.

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Heartwarming and real!

As the mother of boys, who are now grown men, I can tell you this novel is the real deal. It doesn’t have a forced relationship in it. The boys are endearing, earnest, and funny as only that unaffected age group can be. Read this book! Not only will you love the characters, but the storyline is amazing as well!

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outstanding Book

This was without a doubt an outstanding book reminded me of my youth when we all feared Vietnam and our friends and family being taken away well written well spoken terrific book anybody who's in their '60s and '70s should definitely read this book it'll bring them back to their childhood