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The Summer Before Boys

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3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  988 Ratings  ·  198 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 ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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(showing 1-30)
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Claudia
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
...more
Josiah
Jun 28, 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
...more
Sarah
Apr 01, 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.

Synopsis:
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
...more
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
...more
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
Natalie Schneider
Jan 10, 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
...more
Ashley
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
...more
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
...more
Tyler Sherwin
Aug 29, 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
Anne
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
...more
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
...more
Becky
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
Kristi
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
...more
Christina Y.
Oct 01, 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
Tracey
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
Donna
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
Kylam
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.
Marcia
May 17, 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.
Sydney
Sep 27, 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!
Rachael Carter
Nov 27, 2016 Rachael Carter rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
i think this book is really awesome. it can tell us what could happen to most friendships. trust me i have seen it before. i would want to read it for ever but i do always want to read new books too.
Emma Gomez
Mar 17, 2017 Emma Gomez rated it it was amazing
Good Book! \(^u^)/
Mary
I checked off the contemporary shelf, but it is such a lovely quiet book about growing up and friendship that it has an old-fashioned sensibility (in a very good Anne of Green Gables sort of way) despite its very up to date, mother off to the Iraq war theme. I really enjoyed this book!

First line: "My Aunt Louisa, who is really my sister, snored like a machine with a broken part, a broken part that kept cycling around in a shuddering, sputtering rhythm."
Amy
Mar 30, 2011 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-mg, library
This review originally appeared here at Bookalicious.org

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a sweet and thoughtful story about the summer that everything in 12-year-old Julia’s life changes. Her mother, a nurse, is serving in Iraq, and Julia is counting down the days, fingers crossed, until she comes home. The Summer Before Boys is a quiet, personal look at what life is like at home for the children of deployed military personnel.

Nora Raleigh Baskin has written a story that is certa
...more
Katie Fitzgerald
It is 2004, Julia is 12 years old, and she is spending the summer with her much older sister, whose 12-year-old daughter, Eliza, is Julia's best friend. Julia's mother is a nurse in the National Guard, and she has been deployed to Iraq, so Julia spends much of her time missing her, and worrying about her safety. She also struggles with her changing friendship with Eliza. The girls once shared a wonderful world of make-believe, but, as she gets older, Julia finds it more and more difficult to pre ...more
Maria
May 07, 2011 Maria rated it really liked it
The Summer Before Boys is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of the war in Iraq. Julia's mom has been in Iraq for the past nine and a half months. Because of this and her father's job, Julia is spending the summer with her sister, brother-in-law, and niece, Eliza. Julia and Eliza are the same age and best friends - inseparable. They spend most of their time at the resort where Eliza's father works wandering the hiking trails, trying to sneak into tea, playing Lester and Lynette, and ...more
L_manning
May 04, 2011 L_manning rated it it was amazing
The Summer Before Boys was a couple stories in one. The first deals with the that time in life where we begin to lose our youth and become interested in things like boys. The other story is about the sacrifices that member of our Armed Forces and their families make during times of war and deployments. Both stories are intertwined in a simple and beautiful manner.

Julia and Eliza are best friends and relatives. They love to read and pretend. They read the classics- Little Women and Little House O
...more
Rachael
May 10, 2011 Rachael rated it really liked it
Julia and Eliza are best friends. Technically, Julia is Eliza’s aunt, but since they’re practically the same age, they just tell everyone that they’re cousins. This summer, Julia’s mother is serving in the National Guard and her father is too busy with his job, so Julia gets to stay with her Aunt (technically sister) and Eliza. And at first it’s great. Spending time with Eliza at the resort just up the hill is the perfect way to distract Julia from her worries about her mother’s safety. And it’s ...more
Alyssa hoffmaster
Sep 28, 2010 Alyssa hoffmaster rated it really liked it
The Review on my blog: click here

I actually had no idea what this book was going to be about when I first started it. I had no idea how the storyline was going to play out as I was reading it.
Julia’s mom is heading off to serve in Iraq and her dad has to work so she goes and lives with her older sister who she calls her aunt. Because Julia and her older sister are so spread apart in age, she calls her sister and brother in law her aunt and uncle and her niece she calls her cousin.
Julia and her
...more
Anita
Apr 04, 2012 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
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
Apr 03, 2011 Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit) rated it really liked it
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 de
...more
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I am seriously an open book. I've been writing semi-autiobiographical fiction since I was in 6th grade (1972) then, in 2001, Little, Brown published my first middle grade novel, about my life in 6th grade! titled "What Every Girl (except me) Knows." Sixteen years and thirteen books later, that still, pretty much sums things up.
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