From the Bookshelf of Mock Newbery 2016

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Realistic fiction set in 2004. Fast read, short chapters and the reader spends a lot of time in Julia's (the main character) head. Julia has an interesting family dynamic: she calls her sister her Aunt and her niece (and best friend) her cousin, and her mother is in Iraq for most of the story. The story is pretty simple Julia is spending summer with her sister, brother-in-law and niece at the old-fashioned resort they live at while Julia's father puts in a lot of overtime at work throughout the ...more
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
The inevitability of putting away childhood fantasies is poignantly told through 12-year-old Julia as she shares one coming-of-age summer. When her mother is deployed to Iraq, Julie resides for a summer with her same-age niece Eliza with whom she has shared her childhood. Julie fears for her mother’s safety are as real and immediate as her sudden interest in boys as she straddles the fragile line between childhood (pioneer-girl) fantasies and her new grown up feelings. This book could have more ...more
Julia is spending the summer before seventh grade living at her (much) older sister's house because her mother, a nurse in the National Guard, has been sent to serve in Iraq. Lucky for Julia, her sister has a daughter, Eliza, who is just her age and also her very best friend. Julia is walking the line between being a girl and playing pretend while dipping a tentative toe into the waters of boys and first kisses. Baskin perfectly captures the tween dilemma of wanting to growing up yet still wanti ...more
I enjoyed this middle grade, coming of age novel. It is a great choice for upper elementary/early middle school girls as it considers the transition from childhood to your more adult life. The story at times was a bit confusing to me as she seamlessly alternates from her real life and the imaginary world the characters create but it is a small criticism. I also liked the added dimension of dealing with an absent parent.
Cute book addressing what it is like for a girl to leave behind being a little girl with her make believe worlds and entering "teenagedom." (though honestly I don't think that jump means you have to kiss a boy) Also, what it is like to have a mother sent to the middle east.
Recommended Ages: grades 5-7

"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." - product description

Sweet story about transitioning from childhood to teenager.
Sharon Lawler
Eliza and Julia are family, and since they have spent a lot of time together, an imaginary game of identities anchored in the past has become a favorite. However, this summer marks their entry interest in boys, and everyone is not equally onboard. This is a coming of age story for girls, and women of all ages will enjoy revisiting that time in their life.
Great characters--the sense of childhood & imagination, and trying to hold onto that--that's all very strong & poignant here. Some of it felt a little melodramatic, but that's how it must have felt to the characters...good writing and realistic characters/feelings/setting.
A McCavitt
Really liked this book. Liked the innocence of a young girls first kiss contrasted with her love of her best friend and learning that friends will always be there and boys will cone and go but not to give up on your friend for a boy. ;)
Apr 30, 2011 Susan marked it as to-read
Dec 16, 2014 Amy marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2011 Holly marked it as to-read
Shelves: childrens-lit
Apr 16, 2012 Angie marked it as to-read
Beth G.
Jun 10, 2015 Beth G. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Beth by: Cybils Nomination
May 05, 2011 Emily marked it as to-read
Mrs. Evelyn Oros
Jun 08, 2012 Mrs. Evelyn Oros marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2011 Vilia marked it as to-read