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The Summer Before Boys

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  937 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews

Julia and Eliza are best friends. Julia’s mother is serving in the National Guard in Iraq, 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 of them is prepared for how it impacts their friendship, and Julia h
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Rrating Clarification: 2.5

The Summer Before Boys is a pretty short and very sweet story about a normal girl, Julia, who's just beginning her early years as a teenager and whose mother is serving in the National Guard, away from home, in Iraq, a country were soldiers (and civilians too) die too easily for Julia's liking.

Julia has to go live at her sister's house for the whole summer because of her parents' jobs, but she certainly won't complain. With her niece (although she calls her cousin) Eliz
Natalie Schneider
Jan 15, 2016 Natalie Schneider rated it liked it
Natalie Schneider
English 9-2
Goodreads Review

PERSONAL RESPONSE: I thought, The Summer Before Boys, was a sweet, young love story. I wasn't too impressed with the book. I thought it was kind of boring at times. I could relate to the main character, Julia, though. In comparison to Julia, I didn't understand why I developed feelings for a boy, and how that could affect an important friendship.

PLOT: Julia and Eliza were best friends. They spent their whole lives together, all 12 years to be exact. O
Alissa Bach
Remember back when life was so much simpler? You didn't worry about whether you had bought the right brand/style/color/etc. of jeans/shoes/purse/etc. You didn't spend hours agonizing over whether your crush liked you back or even knew you existed. There was no boy drama, no friend drama, no clique drama... There really wasn't any drama at all. It was just you and your best friend, living in a wonderful, magical world of your own making.

Remember when that all changed?

This is how it is for Julia a
Jul 04, 2012 Josiah rated it liked it
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

The Summer Before Boys, P. 158

Before reading Anything But Typical, I had little knowledge of Nora Raleigh Baskin's writing. I guess that I'd probably seen her name on a few books, but none of them had especially caught my attention until I began to hear the Newbery buzz generated by Anything But Typical. It was a book that I ended up reading mostly as an afterthought, just to
Arthur Pengerbil
Feb 22, 2012 Arthur Pengerbil rated it really liked it
Reading Level: Grades 4-7

Julia and Eliza are best friends. They are also family. Even though they are the same age, Julia is Eliza's aunt. Of course, Eliza doesn't call her best friend "Aunt Julia" but still...they are more tied together in ways most friends are. That was never a problem...until the summer they turned twelve

Eliza still likes to pretend, just the way she and Julia have done all their lives. But Julia finds it harder and harder to enter that make-believe world. There are too many
Jul 14, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it
I thought this story was very nostalgic, but it may be hard for a child to follow. There are a few different story lines. It often switches from what the girls are pretending to what is currently happening without warning. A lot of the references would have no meaning to a child today (cabbage patch dolls, beanie babies, etc).

This story is about Julia and Eliza, best friends and also family. Julia is technically Eliza’s niece, but they are the same age so they call each other cousins. Julie is
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
Aug 16, 2011 Chelsea Couillard-Smith rated it really liked it
Baskin's book perfectly captures that transition from the make-believe of childhood to a growing awareness of one's self in the larger world. Julia and Eliza have been best friends for as long as they can remember, knowing each other well enough to disappear into their imaginary worlds in an instant. But the real world has become a lot harder to ignore since Julia's mom was deployed to Iraq. Now they have the whole summer to spend together, but Julia is finding it more and more difficult to lose ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Anne rated it it was ok
Julia and Eliza have been best friends for forever. Oddly enough, they are also aunt and niece even though they are the same age. When Julia's mom is sent to serve in Iraq, she goes to live with Eliza for the summer. Both girls are really excited about this prospect as they always have fun playing imagination games together and just hanging out. But Julia's worry about her mom and the girls changing interests make this summer very different for them.

I really didn't think the games they played se
Tyler Sherwin
Sep 13, 2013 Tyler Sherwin rated it it was ok
The Summer before boys by Nora Baskin is about a young girl named Julia. This year she is spending her whole summer with her best friend Eliza, while her mother is serving in the National Guard. Julia has always hung out with Eliza, but this year it was different because they had many more privileges. They took many journeys with each other including the one time she met Michael; which ended up being her first real crush. Throughout the summer Julia becomes more interested on what Michael is doi ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a whimsical and poignant (my overuse of this word is going to kill me but truly this is a poignant story) about two little girls on the verge of growing up and maturing, but at very different speeds.

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, hangin
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
The Summer before boys captures perfectly the awkwardness and transition of age 12 to 13. It had a real childlike quality to it, and I really enjoyed reading it.
It's short, and I'm not sure if it's classified as MG or not, but it's very clean. It does have some darker (not extremely dark, but...) issues. It's the first book I've read where a mom is in Iraq. She's dealing with this in the whole book, and I think that it's a noble and needed thing to talk about in contemps. (maybe dark isn't ri
Oct 26, 2015 Kylam rated it really liked it
I thought that the book The Summer Before Boys was a really good book. I liked the parts when you could not put the book down because you wanted to keep reading. For example when they could not find Eliza and they all went out looking for her to see where she was. I also like the parts when they were talking about her mom and that she missed her and wanted her to come home. Overall I thought this book was well written and had a lot of details.
Sep 23, 2012 Kristi rated it liked it
With all my heart, I wanted to give this book 5 stars. I'm not particularly sure why I didn't fall completely in love with this story, but I didn't. I liked it a a lot, but I didn't love it.

One thing I did like and hate, was the fact that this was written from the perspective of the boy-crazy and faster maturing girl. Usually these kinds of stories are written from the girl who is lagging behind.

Yet, I think this is also why I didn't fall completely in love with it-- I was always the friend of
Nora Baskin beautifully handles that tender time in a girl's life when she is still playing with dolls but begins to be attracted to boys. Julia and Eliza's close relationship is realistically drawn. The subplot involving Julia and Peter's parents serving in Iraq sets this novel in time and provides a view of the stress that this creates in their families. I was disappointed to see a grammatical mistake on p. 54 where the word lay is mistakenly used rather than lie. It's a common mistake but I h ...more
Christina Y.
Oct 22, 2012 Christina Y. rated it really liked it
The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin I think this wass a good romance/fiction/dramatic book. The book takes place in the summer of 2004 throught the winter of 2005. The setting is around a hotel. The Julia and eliza remind me of my sister and I. except we are two years apart. Julia and Eliza do almost everything together. When you read the book and you acually get the feeling you can picture the story and feel like you are there. The book is very detailed. I do like the athor's wrting stlye. the book is easy to read and relaxing. ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: tweens
It is rare to find a book that is so solidly representative of the shift from child to tween. In this story, you can almost sense the hormonal change that shifts one girl away from her best friend and into the myopic realm of worrying only about what boys may think of her. There are elements that are not as strong, such as the subplot about her mother on military duty in Iraq. Yet, this book does such of good job of putting the reader in the bewildering shift away from childhood, that those othe ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Tracey rated it it was ok
children's fiction/middle-grade. Meh. The writing is good but the story uninteresting. Julia is 12 years old, has a mom fighting in Iraq, likes to pretend with her friend that they live in the olden dys (with corsets and pantaloons and such) and is starting to think about boys. Baskin may have perfectly captured this time in a girl's life, but it's not something I care to read about; the parts about her missing her mom are touching, but there isn't enough here to carry the story. Not really a Ne ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Dannum rated it really liked it
This review consists of my opinion about the book but mostly my life. Just a warning.

This book is really different from other young adult books that i've read. The usual plot of this genre consists of unexpected relationships, mixed emotions, heart broken and etc. But this book tells the story in different way.
As the main character is still 12. The time where you had your first love or interest in someone and when you went all rebellious against your parents. The story was brought purely as if
Apr 29, 2014 Riley rated it really liked it
I liked this book but... one of my favorite characters left the story in the middle and you never know what happened to him. In this book, Julia's mom got called to Iraq to be a nurse for the war. Over the summer that she's gone, Julia's dad has to work all summer except for the weekends. So she goes to her sister's house. Her sister is a lot older than her and has a girl who is the same age as Julia and her name is Eliza. So Eliza is technically Julia's niece but the say that they are cousins a ...more
Oct 01, 2015 London rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2011 Marcia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, middle-school
Author Baskin totally nailed the crux of childhood/adolescence. The crazy time when it just clicks on at 12 or 13 and you do want to see the cute boy who caught your eye on the bus, and you don't care if that means you dump your best friend in the world to meet him. She sets this in a wonderful summer hotel world that has it's own amazing appeal and adds tension with a mom serving in Iraq. A terrific book for 6th/7th grade girls.
Sep 29, 2011 Sydney rated it it was amazing
It was really good because you have to keep track of everything you also have to pay attention.But the book is about............

How Julia and Eliza are best friends and family also.Julia stays over at Eliza house and they meet Michal. Then Julia gets a phone, and they go on a trail. Then something happens.....Julia is so scared.............

FOR THE REST READ IT! It is really good!
Jul 01, 2015 Jodi rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: tween girls
Shelves: young-adult
Meh! Your typical tween book about girls who are friends and also beginning to be interested in boys. I really don't understand why it was mentioned that Aunt Louisa is really her sister but she calls her Aunt Louisa. What?!? I am from a blended family and I became an aunt at the age of 4, so I get how some families can be very intricate but why would a sister allow her younger sister to call her aunt? Weird!! Also, while I enjoyed the facts about women in the military, I question how true some ...more
Sophia D
Dec 10, 2015 Sophia D rated it really liked it
Eliza and Julia have the whole summer to spend with each other. They are expecting it to be exactly like they imagined; playing outside, no schoolwork, not having to impress anyone, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. But those expectations were set when everything was simple. In the Summer Before Boys written by Nora Raleigh Baskin, Eliza arrives at Julia and her family's house for the summer because her mom is still in Iraq helping with the the war. She sees a boy that she can't s ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Anette rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book that I have been reading again and again, every now and then, for the past several years. It brought me to realization that I didn't need to be in any kind of relationship except a friendship. When I first saw a kind of theatric preview of it with my best friend (although we were more like sisters), we made a promise that we would NEVER let some BOY get in the way of US... Although we aren't as close anymore, and she blames a boy.... This book developed a promise in our ...more
Martha G.
Apr 18, 2014 Martha G. rated it really liked it
The Summer before boys is a really interesting book. This book shows how a young girl can come to be independent on her own. It adds emotions from any regular day to the best experiences ever. IN addition, many kids can relate to how they feel on their parents going to a war and not seeing them in forever. This portrays the feelings a kid can have when they get lonely and miss someone. I highly recommend this book to those who have not felt some emotion towards the kids who need help in not cryi ...more
Feb 16, 2016 _Lil_th0mpy_83 rated it it was amazing
Julia is in a storm of moods . She has a mother in Irac , father that she only gets to see on weekends , a summer full of adventures , and a boy. A boy. They are nuts . but when Julia meets Micheal her life begins to change. A lot . And do you have a confusing family ??????? Well Julia does . Her best friend is her Niece . Same age . And they are very close . In this book you will read and experience , love , friendship , and horror . Read it and find out what happens !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kylie Thelen
Sep 14, 2015 Kylie Thelen rated it it was ok
The Summer Before Boys Nora Raleigh Baskin
Julia and Eliza are best friends who spend the summer together hanging out until a boy they meet comes into their life. An easy book to read. It shows the importance of friendship and not letting boys get in the way. I recommend this book for girls looking for a short book to read.
Jul 26, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book's use of a fanciful world as a place of solace for one who needs it most. Julia and Eliza are at a point in their lives straddling childhood and adulthood, when young people begin to change and change in their view of the people and the world around them. I liked that the girls traversed between their imaginary "olde time" world of the Mountain Lodge's past with real-life challenges of adults and changing friendships. I liked the parallels between the hotel's past and ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it liked it
The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011
196 pages
MG; Contemporary
3/5 stars

Source: Received a free e-galley via Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab in exchange for an honest review.

Why haven't I read any other books with the main character's parent deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan? I prefer contemporary YA and yet I don't think I've read any other books that touch on this war. Any recommendations?

Anyway Julia and Eliza are best friends and famil
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Truth- I started writing seriously in 5th grade. I began with poetry. All I remember about my first poem, was that it had something to do with reincarnation. It was short but startlingly profound (so I thought). But what I remember most was my teacher’s reaction. She loved it. My life was changed. I had discovered the power of words.

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