Spring 2022

This Last Adventure

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

When Archie’s beloved grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Archie desperately wants to slow the progression of his grandpa’s memory loss.

Using Grandpa’s old journal entries as inspiration, he creates shared role-playing fantasies with epic quests for them to tackle together—allowing Grandpa to live in the present and stay in touch with his fading memories. But as Grandpa’s condition gradually worsens, Archie must come to terms with what’s happening to his hero. The limits of the fantasies, revelations about Grandpa’s past, and a school project about the future force Archie to grapple with what it truly means to live a life worth remembering.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 5 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Fiction
Category Diverse Books: Mental Health & Neurodiversity, Diverse Books: Physical Disability & Illness, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 304
Publication Date 2022-02-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV039050, JUV013030, JUV039240
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 650
Guided Reading Level X
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, and eSource


Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“Dalton deftly explores the anguish of a family when a beloved father and grandfather begins to lose his memories as he faces the onset of Alzheimer’s. One morning eighth-grader Archie Reese’s grandfather doesn’t recognize him. Archie, uneasy and disturbed, can’t figure out a way to approach his mother about this event. Since he and his grandfather used to engage in fabulous fantasies together, Archie tries to pull his grandfather back from the fog by engaging him in daring action fantasies based on his Granddad’s life-long experiences as a firefighter. Archie begins to discriminate between Granddad’s “real self” and his “lost self”. At the same time Archie, a scholarship student, tries to navigate social life at his private school more adeptly; he may even want a girlfriend! In the effort to complete a student project “what you want to be”, Archie makes closer friendships with some students he didn’t trust, finds that having a girl as a friend is possible, and finally determines his personal focus for his project. Meanwhile, his aunts and uncles and mother come to recognize that their father, Archie’s grandfather, may need more help than they can provide, but Granddad has made his own plans. The characters, adults and students, are realistically portrayed in their family and friend relationships as are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and family responses to them. This is an excellent book for students who are close to their grandparents and wonder about Alzheimer’s. Could be valuable for school counselors to have on hand and for librarians to recommend for students with questions. An Author’s Note explains the origins of the book in the author’s own grandfather’s battle with Alzheimer’s and Questions for Discussion make this book useful in a book club or counseling group.Reviewer Rating: 5" —Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

The Horn Book Magazine

“Dalton sensitively delineates the complexities of loss, hope, and love in this unusually rich and philosophical middle-grade novel.”—The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

“This novel sensitively explores difficult issues with hope and warmth, creating believable characters readers will care about.”—School Library Journal


“[W]ill deeply involve—and move—its readers. An important subject and one that, altogether, is well-handled.”—Booklist

Aprilynne Pike

“A sensitive, touching story . . . With a family history of the disease, I can’t wait to hand this book to the younglings in my family.”—#1 New York Times Bestselling author Aprilynne Pike

Christina Collins

“As empowering and inspiring as it is heart-wrenching, this book will no doubt comfort kids who are dealing with the emotions and struggles that come with watching an aging loved one go through changes, whether from Alzheimer’s or another condition.”—Christina Collins, author of After Zero

Dusti Bowling

This Last Adventure has something for everyone: family, friendship, a little bit of fantasy, and a whole lot of heart. I loved it.” —Dusti Bowling, author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and The Canyon’s Edge

Author: Ryan Dalton

Ryan Dalton spends his time thinking up stories when he’s not wearing a cape and fighting crime. He’s a singer, a voiceover artist, a pretty decent amateur chef, and a lover of all things geek. Ryan lives in an invisible spaceship that’s currently hovering over St. Louis, Missouri. He is also the author of the Time Shift Trilogy.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

This Last Adventure

When Archie’s beloved grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Archie desperately wants to slow the progression of his grandpa’s memory loss. Using Grandpa’s old journal entries as inspiration, he creates shared role-playing fantasies View available downloads →