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Bill Rivers Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Last Summer Boys (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Bill Rivers is a nonfiction author brought up in the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware and was awarded an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania as a Truman scholar.

The author worked in the US Senate before becoming a speechwriter for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. His work was to develop classified and unclassified messages on national security and travel through Europe, America, and Asia Middle East.

Last Summer Boys
During the summer of 1968, the Elliot brothers are enjoying their last summer together in the Appalachian Mountains doing most activities together. Pete will soon be turning 18, meaning he’ll be legible for the draft, which could send him into the Vietnam war.

Thirteen-year-old Jack can overhear men grousing and comes up with a plot to keep Pete, his elder brother, from the draft. Jack loves his family so much, including his two older brothers, Pete and Will, who are obsessed with the stories about Robert Kennedy.

Because the famous boys aren’t allowed to go to the battle, he plans on making his brother their town’s famous celebrity. There is a Vietnam war going on, and Kennedy is campaigning for the Democratic nomination in the nearing presidential election. This time, Martin Luther King was shot several months before the novel’s start.

Though he’s only eighteen years old and the draft is looming, Pete is working in line with his father, who fought in Korea in the Vietnam War, so he is ready to go. King assassination riots are going on in the city of Memphis, where 13-year-old Frankie lives after his parents sent him out to live with his cousins in New Shiloh during the summer so that he can be safer from the riots happening in Memphis. After all, his father is a policeman whose responsibility is to help keep the peace.

The unrest and violence are in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The war is still ongoing, and Jack is worried about his brother, which marks the beginning of troubles he will face that summer.

The boys enjoy swimming in the river but are still afraid as Pete will soon be drafted into Vietnam. On the other hand, some developers are taking over Elliot’s property, which dips in a valley to flood it and construct a dam and lake.

The boys are severely harassed by the developers who want to steal their property, pretending to flood the valley to bring more water to the town’s residents. Elliot isn’t ready to sell the and isn’t planning to get intimidated by this man who comes to him multiple times.

Thirteen-year-old Jack can’t think straight, knowing his elder brother will be shipped overseas. A lot of boys have gone to Vietnam either signed up or drafted, and Jack knows he isn’t fair for trying to keep Pete safe, but he seems not to care.

Jack unexpectedly gets help after his cousin Frankie gets to their rural Pennsylvania town for the summer season. United, they try convincing Jack’s brother to be the leader of an expedition to locate a fighter jet that had crashed multiple winters ago.

This was the ideal adventure to of making Pete a real hero. However, with a selfish and greedy developer planning to flood their valley, a beautiful girl who has caught Pete’s attention, a disturbed neighbor starting fires, and a wild motorcycle club stirring trouble in town, Jack finds out that it isn’t just Pete who needs to be saved.

Last Summer Boys is an excellent blend of tragedy, suspense, faith, Joy, family, civil unrest, adventure and community bonds. It is a great book; the characters are well-crafted and easy to understand. The story is narrated from the thirteen-year-old Jack’s view as he experiences the most eventful summers of his life.
Last Summer Boys is a novel about a naïve but determined boy who is ready to do anything to save his family during the life-changing summer. The book is perfect for young readers as the author has included a lot the boys have to deal with. However, full adults can enjoy it as it’s easy to relate to.

The characters are well crafted, and the writing style is easy to read and understand. The story shows how a group of young boys were forced to grow up before they got ready. The story is narrated from Jack’s point of view showing his innocence, naïve, and brave loyalty to his family.

The many action scenes make the story a page-turner as it keeps the reader engaged to the end. It’s slow-paced, and the author doesn’t rush you after the twists and surprises. The conflicts drove the plot, making the story more realistic and ensuring the book doesn’t become over-sentimental.

The virtue of faith weaves through the story as a natural thing of daily life. During this time, neighbors worked together, prayed together, kids played outside, and sought adventures and mischief with respect.

The boys have an adventurous summer together as things happen and surprises come. The thing that happens is both good and bad as they learn to support each other. The characters are relatable, and you will find yourself feeling like friends and family.

It’s a story of a family facing turbulence during the changing times in America while portraying the innocence and love amongst the brothers and the community. They are used to supporting one another. There are suitable life lessons and family values that one can learn in the course of the story. For readers who like stories about first love, innocence and the unbreakable bond between brothers, Last Summer Boys is the perfect book for you.

The setting and the period are excellently captured with characters that will pull you in the right from the beginning. It’s a fantastic story about the strength of friendship and family and the wonderful final adolescence days lived in the light provided by the glow of a firefly. The manner in which Jack has courage in how he faces life’s challenges is inspiring.

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2 Responses to “Bill Rivers”

  1. Jeannie: 2 weeks ago

    I loved this book! The mother was a minor player but when she told her son her son to never make anybody feel their life didn’t matter then he used her teaching as he was dealing with the bully, the strength of character in the whole family was displayed.

    Reply
  2. Julie Hoensheid: 4 weeks ago

    Good Morning,

    Last May I downloaded Last Summer Boys by Bill Rivers onto my Kindle. I loved it so much, I chose it as my selection for Book Club, (which is just around the corner on December 6th, 2022). In my excitement to share this wonderful story, I didn’t think to check and see if there were available reading guides or discussion questions for our group to get the most out of the book. This was a big mistake because as far as I can tell, there aren’t and I am just not up to the task of creating one. Frankly, while I re-read it for our meeting, I just want to go on the ride and enjoy it all over again!

    I’m hoping someone there can help by pulling together some meaningful discussion points specific to the story or asking Bill Rivers what he’d like his audience to notice or address.

    Yours with finger crossed,

    Julie Hoensheid

    Reply

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