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October first, the air is still warm, but fall is rolling in. Thirteen-year-old Douglas Spaulding, his younger brother Tom, and their friends do their best to take advantage of these last warm days, rampaging through the ravine, tormenting the girls, and declaring war on the old men who run Green Town, IL. For the boys know that Mr. Quartermain and his cohorts want nothing more than to force them to put away their wild ways, to settle down, to grow up. If only, the boys believe, they could stop the clock atop the courthouse building. Then, surely, they could hold onto the last days of summer—and their youth. But the old men were young once, too. And Quartermain, crusty old guardian of the school board and town curfew, is bent on teaching the boys a lesson. What he doesn't know is that before the last leaf turns, the boys will give him a gift: they will teach him the importance of not being afraid of letting go.