Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Summer Before Boys” as Want to Read:
The Summer Before Boys
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Summer Before Boys

by
3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  811 ratings  ·  169 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
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Summer Before Boys, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Summer Before Boys

Silence by Becca FitzpatrickShattered Souls by Mary LindseyEntwined by Heather DixonWither by Lauren DeStefanoUnearthly by Cynthia Hand
Best Book Covers of 2011
69th out of 144 books — 238 voters
Entwined by Heather DixonWither by Lauren DeStefanoUnearthly by Cynthia HandAcross the Universe by Beth RevisDarkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Beautiful Book Covers of 2011
303rd out of 712 books — 4,366 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,320)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Claudette
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
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
Josiah
"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
Arthur Pengerbil
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
Ashley
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
Chelsea
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
Anne
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
Tyler Sherwin
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
Sarah
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
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
Kristi
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
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
Christina Y.
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
Donna
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
Tracey
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
Riley
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
Marcia
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
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!
Jodi
Jul 01, 2015 Jodi rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
Anette
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.
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
Anita
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
Bookworm1858
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
...more
Maria
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
Page Turners Blog
The Summer Before Boys is a sweet, unconventional coming of age story. Very innocent.


Julia and Eliza are best friends, but their relationship goes deeper than just friendship - they are also aunt and niece. They are use to spending vacations together but this year, is a little different. Julia's mom has been sent to Iraq and her father is busy at work; she is sent to spend the whole summer with her sister. Julia is excited about staying the summer, hanging out with her best friend Eliza and get
...more
Alyssa hoffmaster
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
Ms. Schutte

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be nostalgia. I think this is a fantastic work of realistic fiction for a fourth or fifth grader, but would lose its appeal for older middle schoolers because of how young it is.

The book takes place one summer when Julia spends the summer living with her best friend (and niece--it's confusing). Julia is with Eliza's family because her own mother (their mutual father's second wife, presumably) has been deployed as a nurse to Iraq and her fathe
...more
Laura
I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this when I started it. I didn't expect it to be so much about Julia's mother and how she dealt with that. I liked that about it though. It was so nice to see the difference between the Julia that plays make believe with her best friend and the Julia that has so many thoughts and feelings about the war and her mother being in it.

Baskin's voice in this book was perfect. There was a true feeling of a girl who is starting to grow up, but hasn't quite made i
...more
Bdalton
This is the story of two friends, Julia and Eliza, who are both 12 through most of the story. Julia is actually Eliza's aunt but they are also best friends. When Julia's mother, a national guard member, is sent to Iraq, Julia goes to live with Eliza for the summer. Julia falls for a boy and makes a bad decision that could change her relationship with Eliza forever.

This story does a good job of conveying a child's anxiety of having a parent serving in a war zone. This is a daily preoccupation, a
...more
Victoria Whipple
Julia and Eliza are best friends--it gets a little confusing when Julia has to explain that Eliza is also her niece, even though they are the same age. Julia's mother is serving with the National Guard in Iraq, so Julia goes to spend the summer with her sister (Eliza's mom) and Eliza since her father is working. This is fine with the girls, as they enjoy each other's company and have games that they've developed over the years. That and the fact that Eliza's dad works at a summer resort, so the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 77 78 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Lucky for Good (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #3)
  • Camo Girl
  • Planet Middle School
  • Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider
  • Sparrow Road
  • The Romeo And Juliet Code (Felicity Bathburn #1)
  • Bird in a Box
  • Nerd Camp
  • From Willa, With Love (Wedding Planner's Daughter #6)
  • The Summer Sherman Loved Me
  • A & L Do Summer
  • Water Balloon
  • The Summer of Firsts and Lasts
  • Lizzie at Last
  • Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas
  • When Life Gives You O.J.
  • Small Persons with Wings
  • Star in the Forest
280493
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.

By 6th grade I was writing short stories and keeping journals. I
...more
More about Nora Raleigh Baskin...
Anything But Typical What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows Almost Home All We Know of Love The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah

Share This Book