The Hardy Boys meets The Phantom Tollbooth, in the new century! When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected. Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time.
Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town--and each other--before time stops for good.
In his inventive middle grade debut, Giles (Overturned) riotously scrambles time, moving it backward, forward--and not at all. In the Virginia county that's home to genial African-American cousins and renowned sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston (whose sleuthing skills are rivaled only by crafty twin sisters), curious goings-on are commonplace, but on the last day of summer vacation, things "get stranger than usual"--by a lot. When Flux, a man with limbs that can stretch "like he was made of taffy," suddenly appears and instructs the boys to take a photo of their town with his vintage camera, residents become frozen in place and time. TimeStar, a futuristic superhero, then emerges from a portal in the sky and lunges at Flux, launching a madcap struggle between good and evil and the cousins' quest to unfreeze time. Villainous Flux commandeers Norton Juster-style "agents of time" the Clock Watchers--cleverly depicted personifications that include patriarch Father Time, indecisive Second Guessers, and the Time Sucks, fuzzy platypuslike beasts. Laced with humor, the fantastical time war plays out at a dizzying pace as Giles interjects affecting realism with themes of reconciliation, family, identity, and destiny. Ages 10-12. Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.