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The Last Grand Adventure

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Twelve-year-old Bea finds herself on a unique road-trip with her grandmother, as they search for her grandmother’s long-lost sister—the legendary Amelia Earhart—in this charming novel from the author of When Audrey Met Alice and Summer of Lost and Found .

It’s 1967 and twelve-year-old Bea is in need of some adventure. Her mother is off in San Francisco, while her father has just gotten remarried in Los Angeles. Bea has gained a younger stepsister, and she’s not thrilled about her blended family. So when her ailing grandmother, Pidge, moves to an Orange County senior-living community and asks if Bea would spend the summer helping her get settled, Bea is happy for any excuse to get away.

But it turns out, her grandmother isn’t interested in settling in. What she really wants is to hop a train back to Atchison, Kansas—where she thinks she’ll be reunited with her long-missing Amelia Earhart. And she wants Bea to be her sidekick on this secret trip.

At first, Bea thinks her grandmother’s plan is a little crazy. But Pidge has thirty years of letters written in “Meelie’s” unmistakable voice, all promising to reunite. This might be the adventure Bea needs…

With letters in hand, Bea and Pidge set off on their quest to find Amelia. But getting halfway across the country proves to be more of an adventure than either of them bargained for. And their search for Amelia leads to some surprising truths about their family—and each other.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published March 20, 2018

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About the author

Rebecca Behrens

5 books139 followers
Rebecca Behrens is the award-winning author of three critically acclaimed middle-grade novels that explore famous historical figures and fascinating places: When Audrey Met Alice, Summer of Lost and Found, and The Last Grand Adventure. Her thrillingly realistic survival story The Disaster Days is a Junior Library Guild selection, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, and an ILA Teachers’ Choices selection. Her latest middle-grade adventure, Alone in the Woods, is now available. Rebecca grew up in Wisconsin, studied in Chicago, and now lives with her husband in New York City. You can visit her online to learn more about her books at www.rebeccabehrens.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 45 reviews
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,194 reviews724 followers
August 14, 2018
Thanks to the author for the review copy ~ all opinions are my own.

I'll do this one list style ~ here is what I loved about it!
- historical fiction covering TWO periods of history
- fabulous down-and-dirty road trip showcasing a lot of the US
- using journaling for adventures AND worries
- rich relationship between granddaughter and grandmother
- Amelia Earhart!!!

Highly recommend for libraries serving middle grades - the sweet spot for this one is grades 4-6 in my opinion, appropriate for younger as a read aloud.
Profile Image for Laura Mossa.
175 reviews12 followers
October 9, 2017
With her dad’s remarriage to Julie, new stepsister Sally, and her writer mom away covering the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, it is completely natural for 12 year old Bea to feel a little lost When her grandmother Pidge moves from Boston to a retirement community in California, Bea agrees to stay with her and help Pidge get settled. In her worry journal, Bea admits her fears about leaving home. What if her dad and Julie enjoy her being gone? In contrast, Bea though writes in her adventure journal that “every adventure has to start somewhere.”

Little does Bea know the adventure that is in store for her. Soon after she is dropped off, Pidge tells Bea of her plan to reunite with her missing sister, “Meelie” who just happens to be the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. At first, Bea seems skeptical but then Pidge shares Meelie’s letters with her. Bea had so many questions the first being was she up for this adventure? What if she is the the only Earhart who isn’t brave? And the most important question of all, what if this adventure changes her life?

Rebecca Behrens writes a touching and heartwarming story chronicling Bea and Pidge’s journey to not only find “Meelie” but also find themselves. Through her relationship with her grandmother and their experiences together, Bea learns she is not lost, but part of an amazing family and has more courage than she ever realized. I can truly identify with Bea because I still have to keep my worry in check, but thankfully I know taking risks has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

A special thanks to Rebecca Behrens for providing #bookexcursion group with an advance review copy of The Last Grand Adventure. Pre-order your copy now, for its release date is March 20, 2018.
Profile Image for Susan.
500 reviews2 followers
January 12, 2019
The Last Grand Adventure

By Rebecca Behrens

Thank you to @rebeccabehrensbooks and @kidlitexchange for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

First of all, when I was growing up I always loved Amelia Earhart’s story and I always had the secret hope that she survived and was living happily somewhere on a desert island. When I began my freshman year at Purdue (where Amelia was a professor) and I found myself living in Amelia Earhart Hall, I was convinced it was a sign that my secret wish was true. So when I learned about The Last Grand Adventure, I knew I had to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I loved every moment of the adventure, right along with Pidge and Bea!

This is a fascinating historical fiction story (set in 1967) of a granddaughter, her grandma, Pidge and their search for Pidge’s sister, Amelia Earhart. While I read this absorbing book (I had a hard time putting it down!), I experienced so many emotions as I followed Pidge and Bea on their cross country trip from Sun City, CA to Atchison, Kansas to celebrate Amelia’s 70th birthday. They are in a rush, because Pidge believes with all her heart that her long lost sister will be waiting for her on her special day. At times the story was heart wrenching and at times full of excitement. Bea, who is a rule following straight A student who rarely leaves her hometown of Burbank, is suddenly thrust into a situation where she is a stowaway who is thrown off a train in the middle of the desert, and turns into a hitchhiker with very little food and almost no money. I felt her fear and her embarrassment when she realizes the grandmother she barely knows has gotten them into an unbelievable situation. I also felt her struggle to face her fears as she bravely supported and protected her grandma, and to find the courage to continue their great adventure. I felt her growing hope that just maybe her great aunt Amelia might be waiting for them in Kansas. Finally, I loved how Bea learned so much from her adventure about the kindness of strangers and the realization of the importance of family; even if it is a step family. I highly recommend this to students in grades 4-8, who are looking for a story full of adventure, mystery and history!
Profile Image for Jessica Lawson.
Author 6 books105 followers
June 28, 2017
Oh goodness, this one's a road trip for the ages. I am a HUGE fan of well-written multi-generational relationships, and to throw a meeting with Amelia Earhart into the stakes, well garsh. I'm in. Bea and Pidge are a superb pair and the growth they both experience shows how risk/journeying/adventure is medicine for every heart, no matter the age. A bonus for me was the treatment of the blended-family aspect, as I'm a stepmom.
Profile Image for Maizee.
27 reviews3 followers
April 12, 2022
Well, the ending was dissapointing, but I'm not going to spoil this book for you. THE ENDING IS SOOO SAD!
Profile Image for Patricia.
1,177 reviews35 followers
August 11, 2018
I wasn’t quite comfortable with this story. On one hand, it was a fun imaginative look at history, but on the other, a girl’s grandmother, who is starting to suffer from dementia, basically kidnaps her and forces her to break the law and do some pretty dangerous things. It is pretty humorous at times, but hard to laugh at under the circumstances. Maybe just a little more serious than I was looking for in a book right now.
465 reviews59 followers
July 8, 2022
*3.5- I really enjoyed this novel! I picked up this book not realizing who the author was, but when I looked at the author's name, I realized that I have already read, and reasonably enjoyed, two books from this author. This wasn't my favorite book of hers, but I did like. I found Beatrice relatable. She had concerns, but she was also seeking adventure. She knew that she wanted something fantastic to happen in her life, but she wasn't sure if she was ready to go for it. I also found Pidge a sweet character. She showed that an older woman can still go on an adventure, though some of the realizations that came with that were sad. There weren't too many other supporting characters that took up a lot of time, but I thought that they did all add to the story in some way or another, and there were some really fun characters. The plot was definitely interesting. I love a good road-trip vibe, and I do wish that this would have been a little more like that. Especially given the time period this book was set in, I wanted something a little more, dare I say, groovy. I just think that the characters could have been a little more eccentric. There were also a few times that I got a little bored with what was happening, and I thought that the book did have a tendency to move a little slow. I'm also a huge fan of Amelia Earhart and all the details of her disappearance, so I was sad that more of the facts weren't really discussed. I did like the ending, and I thought that it was fitting to the story. I also appreciated the growth that some of the characters experienced. There was no cursing in this novel, and there was no sexual content. There wasn't anything that I would consider violent, but there was talk of plane crashes. This book is perfect for the middle-grade age group, but I do think that older readers could enjoy it. I do recommend this book. I think that it's a great introduction to the idea of Amelia Earhart for younger readers. I am open to reading more from this author, and I'm looking forward to doing so.
Profile Image for Jane.
898 reviews18 followers
June 11, 2019
I love the “what if…” behind this story - What if Amelia Earhart really lived and was in hiding and on her 70th birthday came out of hiding to spend the day with her sister. Rebecca Behrens has written a mid-grade historical novel based on this “what if.”

The Last Grand Adventure is a coming of age story of sorts. Bea likes the comfortable and her life has been far from comfortable since her parents’ divorce. In fact, she has two journals - a Worry Journal, which she has more than filled, and an Adventure Journal, with nothing in it. That is all about to change. When she leaves home, Bea barely tolerates her little stepsister Sally. By the time she returns home she has learned to appreciate having a little sister - after all Pidge is Meelie’s little sister. Bea also goes from being the pre-teen granddaughter trying to develop a relationship with a grandmother she doesn’t really know to a young lady who steps up when she needs to to take care of things for the two of them. I really appreciate the growth in Bea over the course of the story.

I always appreciate when authors of historical fiction help readers discern fact from fiction. Rebecca Behrens does that in her author’s note at the end. She also includes a bibliography and ideas for educators, making this a useful book for teachers and homeschooling parents.

The Last Grand Adventure would be appropriate for my K-12 Christian School library. However, the story moves slowly at times and I can only see my avid readers sticking it out to the end of the book.

I received a complimentary copy of The Last Grand Adventure because I am a member of the Land of Enchantment Award committee. A review was not required.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews185 followers
August 24, 2018
The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens, 315 pages. Aladdin (Simon & Schuster), 2018. $17.

Content: G.



Bea is feeling out of place during her 1967 summer with her dad and his new family, her stepmother and stepsister. In order to relieve some of the pressure, her dad invites her to spend a couple of weeks with her grandmother – his mom – whom he just relocated from her home in Boston, because she was starting to lose her memory. But when Bea and her grandmother Pidge are alone, they start off on adventure to reunite with her sister Meelie – better known as Amelia Earhart. Meelie and Pidge have been exchanging letters these last few years and whether its by train, plane, or automobile Pidge is determined to get from Los Angeles to Atchinson Kansas in time for Meelie’s birthday. But Bea catches her grandmother telling lies and causing trouble and Bea is not sure if she can trust her any more.

The old-fashioned setting makes this book about an aging grandmother a little harder to connect to. If sweet books are big sellers in your library, then this is a perfect fit. I have a harder time selling sweet to a wide variety of students, personally. It would be a nice read aloud for home, though.

Cindy, Middle School Librarian
Profile Image for Andrea.
26 reviews
April 28, 2018
@kidlitexchange #partner

Thank you to #kidlitexchange for the review copy of The Last Grand Adventure. All opinions are my own.

In The Last Grand Adventure, Rebecca Behrens has created a beautiful, exciting piece of historical fiction. It’s 1967 and Beatrice is twelve. Her parents are divorced, she has a new stepmom and stepsister, her magazine reporter mom is gone a lot, and now she’s told that she’s going to spend some of her summer with her grandma (Pidge) who she barely knows. Right away Bea can tell that her time with Pidge will be very different than at home. Soon, Pidge shares her plan to travel and meet up with her sister, Amelia Earhart, whose disappearance 30 years earlier had a profound impact on the surviving sister. Through the years, Amelia has corresponded with Pidge, and now it’s time to travel from Sun City, California, to their hometown of Atchison, Kansas, to be reunited. It won’t be an easy trip for them, but Earhart girls have the determination to get through any adventure. In this story filled with unexpected twists and turns for the unlikely travelers, readers discover the love between family members, the courage to pursue a dream, and the importance of a little help from fellow humans on our paths in life. I’d recommend The Last Grand Adventure for readers in 4th-8th grade who enjoy exciting historical fiction.
Profile Image for Amber Webb.
729 reviews12 followers
January 27, 2018
The Last Grand Adventure was a historical fiction adventure that every child will want to go on. As Bea is challenged with fitting in with her "new" family and figuring out what is going on with her mother, she decided to spend some time with her grandmother who has always been very distant from her. This almost immediately seems like a bad idea, but Bea decides to view it as an opportunity for adventure instead of a worry. The adventures the two go on throughout the book REALLY push Bea to change her attitude, perspective and sense of adventure. During the time she spends with her Grandma, Pidge, she realizes a lot about herself, her mother, her new stepfamily and what adventure really means.
During the story I felt worry, excitement, fear, fun, sadness, joy, laughter and so much more. This book was a delight. I think that readers and classrooms will easily connect with and learn a great deal from Bea, Pidge, Meelie and their interactions throughout the story. The Last Grand Adventure has much to offer!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
51 reviews
April 22, 2018
I adore Rebecca's books and I love that I can share them with my 11-year-old niece, who is also a big fan. The plots are always so interesting and you don't realize how much you're learning because you're caught up in the story.

In this book, I felt like I was right there with Bea and Pidge, along for the adventure. Bea was so relatable, especially with her worry journal, and Pidge and Neta, were pretty great, too. I cracked up on page 63 because my grandfather used to called it a "hurry up light":

We were cruising down the highway now, much faster than I'd ever seen an elderly person drive. Whenever we hit a traffic light that looked to be turning yellow, Neta would toot on the horn and barrel through the intersection. "Remember this, Beatrice - yellow means accelerate."

It was great to see Bea emerge from her shell and work through various relationships.

This was a fun book, but tinged with sadness. The ending was perfect, a beautiful way to end the adventure.
Profile Image for Mary Louise Sanchez.
Author 1 book20 followers
August 23, 2019
Twelve-year-old Bea's mom is busy on a journalism assignment to San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love; and her dad is remarried with a younger step-daughter, Sally, who is always underfoot in Bea's life.

Thus, this is the perfect time for Bea to visit her grandmother, Pidge, who has recently moved to a retirement community in California from Boston. However, Pidge, is ready for a grand adventure to Atchinson, Kansas to meet up with her long time missing older sister, Amelia Earheart, who has been writing letters to Pidge for thirty years, even after her disappearance, about the reunion they will have back home.

And what a grand adventure it turns out to be when Bea and her grandmother are stow-away passengers on a train and are hitchhike passengers near Santa Fe, New Mexico. This adventure also shows Bea the meaning of sisterly love and home.

The entire trip was amazing!

August 31, 2020
This book is like eating a fluffernutter sandwich with lemonade.

The writing took me by surprise. It's beautifully structured, each sentence lovely. Bea's narrative is the best I've read in a while; it's not loaded with sarcasm or slang of any kind. It's honest, a little old-fashioned in the best way, and easy to connect to. She feels like a real human being.

I found Pidge believable right from the start. Although she does drag Bea into some pretty crazy things, she's never to crazy for my taste - just deliciously unreliable.

So many books have dead parents, and I've just read several this month, so I was happy that Bea's parents are alive and well. The complicated bonds between everyone ring true, and the one between Bea and Sally is especially moving.

I was in the thick of the plot as if I were a character, always agreeing more or less with the decisions made. The whole road trip is enjoyable - every twist and turn.

And I liked the historical notes.

Read it! The world needs a fun book occasionally. As well as a few more fluffernutter sandwiches.
Profile Image for Addison Children's Services.
439 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2018
It's the summer of 1967, and Bea, who is a worrier at heart and wants no more adventure than that provided by Disneyland, finds herself wanting something different. Her father just remarried and Bea isn't sure where she fits in with her stepmother and stepsister Sally, who is like a barnacle attached to Bea's side. Plus, her mother is a journalist and often traveling for work, leaving Bea feeling more worried than ever. When Bea's grandmother Pidge invites her to spend the summer with her at her new retirement community, Bea feels that's got to be more of an adventure than spending all her time avoiding Sally. Soon after Bea arrives at Pidge's place, she discovers she's in for a real adventure - a cross country train trip with the promise of meeting Pidge's sister, the real Amelia Earheart. But didn't Amelia disappear when her plane crashed in the middle of the Pacific?
Profile Image for Nikki.
Author 10 books167 followers
June 25, 2017
Here's the official review: Hooray for The Last Grand Adventure, an irresistible blend of historical fact and adventure-filled fiction! Behrens sweeps the reader up with this charming mystery about Amelia Earhart’s whereabouts and the unbreakable bond between sisters. Traveling with twelve-year-old Bea and her rule-breaking, free spirited grandmother Pidge across America in 1967 was the perfect way to explore timeless lessons about following dreams, taking risks, persevering, and the unshakable strength of family ties.

Here's the unofficial one: I was an Amelia Earhart nerd, and this book was right up my inner-kid alley! I loved the way the relationships between sisters (of different generations) developed, and I know readers will have fun with Pidge, the rule-breaking Grandma.
Profile Image for Talulah.
14 reviews
April 23, 2022
Based in 1967, the summer of love, The Last Grand Adventure follows 12 year old Bea who feels out of place in her home now occupied with her new stepsister and stepmother. So, she decides to spend some time with a grandmother she has never met, Pidge. Pidge Earhart. Suddenly a boring summer becomes risk taking when Pidge takes Bea on a trip, to Atchison, Kansas. Pidge needs to be there before July 24, someone’s 70th birthday. That someone is Amelia Earhart. Using “Meelie’s” letters, the manage to travel all the way there with only a couple changes of clothes and some money. Albeit, this book was AMAZING! The characters were ones you could relate to and it kept me excited the whole time. Bea found the Earhart in her.
16 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2018
It took me halfway through the book to get interested but, it was a delightful read finally. How Bea felt left out of her new family situation and her mom always working away. Bea was able to build a relationship with her Grandmother and learn a bit of history as well. She was always a worrier and now she was on this grand adventure. Little did she know the "growing" she would do along the way. She learned she was loved by many and she even began to see herself as a sister to Sally and not see Sally and Julie as enemies. It touched upon the historical Amelia Earhart and her adventures along with creating new adventures. Although scary at times she learned to face her fears.
Profile Image for Memeee Kun.
4 reviews
January 31, 2022
Told in the POV of Bea, a 12-year old kid who has to adapt to the changes of having a new family (new stepmom and stepsister). She felt lost like an outsider, as if she didn't belong in the new family. This is a great book about family love and how to overcome your fear and seek new adventure. Bea, as the adventure unfolds, becomes braver than anybody else and has come to realize that she do loves her stepsister. The story is good, the characters are amazing. Read further about my review on this book in my blog: https://chasserdedroom.blogspot.com/2...
1,273 reviews5 followers
April 15, 2018
What a wonderful way to teach your child history without them really knowing it! I loved this story of a you f girl's adventure with her grandmother, the sister of Amelia Earhart. Of course, I did some research if my own about Amelia Earhart as I read this great story. Beatrice, the young girl in the story, learns so much about herself as she sets off with her grandmother to fine Amelia. The journey has twists and turns from train rides, to a bus and plane. They meet fascinating people along the way and discover the importance of family. Set in 1967, I loved every minute. Great for adults, too!
Profile Image for Clarissa.
1,234 reviews30 followers
August 6, 2018
An exploration of family/sisterhood, living life to the fullest, and bravery. This book follows the wild adventure of Bea and her grandmother Pidge, (who is Amelia Earhart’s younger sister), as they cross the country on a shoestring budget trying to get back to the house where Pidge and Amelia spent their childhood summers.
Profile Image for Allison.
108 reviews23 followers
February 24, 2018
"Why did adventure and uncertainty have to go hand in hand?"-Bea from The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens. My heart is full after reading about Bea & Pidge's adventure to find family, courage, & themselves!
Profile Image for Amber Kuehler.
437 reviews72 followers
April 7, 2018
Kids interested in unsolved mysteries will love this book! Who doesn’t wonder what really happened to Amelia Earhart?! I know I have often wondered what happened and this book had my heart hoping that I would learn a little more about that fascinating story. Spoiler: I did learn a few things!
Profile Image for Tammy Barb.
6 reviews
April 29, 2018
It was a wonderful adventure of a grandmother and her granddaughter. Bea and her grandmother, Pidge, travel to Kansas where she believes they will be reunited with her missing sister, Amelia Earhart.
Profile Image for Shelley.
81 reviews
January 29, 2019
This is a very engaging book. During the course of the precarious adventure of a grandmother and her only grand daughter, there is excitement, suspense and a mystery solved with good character growth and development.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,709 reviews16 followers
March 31, 2019
Oh, how I wish it were true (and that the ending in this book wasn't). Seriously, this book is one of those where you are wondering the entire time how the author is going to pull it off, and Behrens does a masterful job of it. Bravo!
Profile Image for Alice.
3,433 reviews1 follower
July 22, 2019
3.5 - Ever wonder what it was like to be Amelia Earhart's little sister? Well, Bea's gram IS Amelia Earhart's little sister and she wants ONE last grand adventure back to Atchison Kansas for Amelia's seventieth birthday.
Profile Image for Lionheart.
238 reviews46 followers
April 8, 2018
Rated 5 stars!
Ages 11/12+
This book provided a great insight into the relationship between Amelia Earhart and her sister, and I loved reading about her in the back of the book. A great read!
Profile Image for Kathy.
173 reviews3 followers
April 10, 2018
Great read. Quick story about a young teen and her grandmother.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 45 reviews

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