Review: The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Title: The Summer Before Boys
Hardcover, 224 pages
Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon

Book Summary:
Julia and Eliza are best friends, spending the summer together. Julia’s mother is serving in the National Guard and Julia spends all of her time trying not to think about what could happen. So the girls lose themselves in their summer, hanging out at the resort where Eliza’s father works. But when they meet a new boy, neither one of them is prepared for what it does to their friendship.

Nora Raleigh Baskin delivers a poignant look at the way a first crush can come between best friends and the importance of hanging on to the time you have as a kid before rushing into growing up.

The thing that I liked most about The Summer Before Boys is that it deals with a mother that is shipped away for the military, and this is not a topic I have read about before (nor one that I have seen covered by many books at all). It is a very fitting story with the amount of conflict that exists in our world today, and reading this made me wonder why there weren’t more books that dealt with this topic in particular.

Along with Julia’s mother being gone due to the National Guard, she is also dealing with the moment when you start noticing the opposite sex. Nora Raleigh Baskin did an excellent job of portraying those first feelings, when a girl likes a boy and mistakenly gives up time with friends because of that feeling you get when you’re around said boy. Very young readers may not connect as much with Julia if they haven’t gone through the boy phase yet, but anyone that has will instantly think of her as a sister or younger version of themselves.

Eliza is the one left behind, but it’s Eliza’s house they are at for the summer because Julia’s mom is gone and her dad has to work. Eliza’s family has access to a resort (very near their house) where Eliza’s dad works, so the girls have many of their adventures there, which is a fun setting for a few young girls (I particularly liked the lady in the giftshop).

Along with the summer story we are given facts about women in the military through the eyes of Julia, who researches about this topic because she’s worried about her mom. This keeps the story connected to the military aspect while we are caught up in Julia’s boy troubles – a very nicely done balance between the two.

The Summer Before Boys captures that young feeling you have when you start to grow up and notice things around you.



Review: The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin — 13 Comments

  1. I was also attracted to this book because of the mother’s position in the military; I think my favorite parts were the historical information throughout the book. There really should be more YA books with military parents.

    • I agree that the information was well placed – and after reading realized how shocked I was at the lack of military in books in general (not even any graduating seniors going to the Army or anything). I wonder if there is a reason for that. The only other Army type book I can think of is Battle Dress by Amy Efaw (which I really liked)!

  2. I haven’t heard of this one, but I am going to add it to my to-reads list ASAP. I love the cover, and I love the idea. I was never into boys when I was younger, I felt like they were a burden for later (haha). But my best friend was and that is one of the biggest reasons I no longer communicate with her. It tore our friendship apart. So this is definitely something I would be interested in reading.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin « Waking Brain Cells

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