(BSC) The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Summer Before
Author: Ann M. Martin
Genre: fiction, YA fiction
ISBN: 9780545160936
Pages: 215
Year Published: 2010
Source: public library
Rating: 3/5
Award(s):
Challenge(s):

I first heard of this book while browsing My Books. My Life. I thought it looked a little interesting, as I was an avid Baby-sitters Club (BSC) while in elementary school. I was even subscribed, in some way or other, to the BSC and received 4 books and a BSC newsletter every month. However, I could only continue with it as long as I kept up with the books I received (my mom’s rule)–needless to say, as a 12-year-old, I couldn’t read 4 books a month so I only got the first 20 books 🙂 Plus, my love of reading really grew in 5th and 6th grade, so not only was it hard for me to read 4 books a month, but I also wanted to read a wider variety of books. I discovered one of my favorites in 5th grade, Ella Enchanted, while on a break from BSC.

And, again, I digress…

Michelle summed up the story pretty well on her review of this book (@ My Books. My Life.), so I have copied it here. (Hope you don’t mind, Michelle!)

  • The girls have just finished 6th grade and have their entire summers before them.
  • Kristy is dealing with her mom’s new boyfriend and the hurt from her dad abandoning her.
  • Mary Anne gets her first chance to babysit, but still has to convince her dad she isn’t a baby.
  • Claudia experiences her first boyfriend and a distance as she matures faster than her friends.
  • Stacey, friendless in New York City, anxiously awaits her move to Stoneybrook where she can start over.

For what the book was worth, as it is no piece of great literature or a future classic, it was alright. I was a little disappointed in the aspect of Stacey, as I thought there would be a little more of how her friendship with Kristy, Mary Anne, and Claudia grew. I can’t remember how the first books in the BSC series really addressed this–maybe it was explained in the first book more than I remember. The story was a little slow, however easy it was to read.

And I noticed something, as I read along. Aside from the fact that Kristy is having problems with her father, on the opposite side of the country, and Claudia had problems with her first boyfriend, the story seemed almost a little to happy for me. I mean, the description of Stonybrook and of many of the events  that happened reminded me of Pleasantville (film). I mean, everything was happy-go-lucky and perfect, for much of the book. I don’t remember how much this happened in the series, but I think it was a little more realistic because each book essentially had a problem that one of the BSC members had to overcome.

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