Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: The Summer Before Boys

Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Release: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

  • I liked reading from Julia's point of view. Since I was able to see how she felt about her mom going overseas, I understood the things she did and the way she thought. Also, I was able to connect with Julia because when I was around 12, I developed my first real crush. I understood what it was like to feel self conscious and caught up in a crush.
  • Julia and her niece (THEY'RE THE SAME AGE!) were very imaginative, much more than I was at that age. I love that they were more friends than relatives. They had a good time just being around each other and I think everyone needs someone like that in their life.
  • You won't believe how nostalgic this book made me. Nora made so many references from my childhood: Harry Potter (!!!), Lizzie McGuire, That's So Raven, Lilo and Stitch, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, Power Rangers. I was actually able to imagine myself as Julia, the main character, watching these shows and playing with the dolls.
  • I liked the facts about war and the American National Gaurd that were copiously sprinkled throughout the novel. They weren't random or in-your-face. Julia would recount the facts to stress a point or a feeling. 
  • The social issue presented in this book is touching. Julia's mother is deployed to Iraq for the war and we get to see how it affects the lives of deployed soldiers and their families. 
  • I can't really think of any substantial dislikes. Everything that comes to mind can easily be explained and understood. For instance: Julia crushes on this dude and she likes him A LOT. But the relationship goes no where. There's no development even though we can tell that all she thinks about is him. HOWEVER, she's 12 years old. Never had a boyfriend. How could she possibly know or understand what it means to be in a relationship? So it makes sense that even though Julia texted and occasionally talked to the kid, she didn't really act on the crush.
To Sum It Up
  • Touching, nostalgic read.
  • Accurate portrayal of being 12 years old and the trials that often come with the age. 
  • Interesting facts and information about the soldiers in the National Guard.
Oh Galley Grab, I bow down to you! You da best :)
2011 Contemp Challenge: 5/13 books completed. 


Brodie said...

Harry Potter and Power Rangers references?? Um, yeah. I think I'm gonna love this book! Great review! This really sounds good and I can see you're powering through your contemp challenge with all the right books! :D

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

love your blog title!!

Karis Jacobstein said...

I was just looking at this for my daughter today at B&N (she's going to be in 5th grade in August). I think I will have to get it for her. Thanks for a great review!


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