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Summer on the Short Bus

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Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there's life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she's ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

272 pages, ebook

First published April 1, 2014

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About the author

Bethany Crandell

3 books322 followers
Bethany lives in San Diego with her husband, teenage daughters, and two destructive puppies. She eats more than she cooks, watches more than she reads, and spends a ridiculous amount of time under the hairdryer.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 150 reviews
Profile Image for Lauren.
12 reviews
March 6, 2014
Allow me to start by saying that I am well aware that this book isn't supposed to be PC. I have no problem with that. The problem I have is that the author clearly doesn't know what 'un-PC' or ' not politically correct' actually means. She seems to believe that she can say any horrible, rude, insulting thing and suddenly expect everyone to consider it funny simple because she says, 'oh, don't worry, I know it's not PC.' There is a LARGE difference between being rude and being not be politically correct. See if you can spot the difference:

1.) I asked my stewardess for a glass of water.

2.) Look at that fat, tub-o-lard over there!

Pretty easy, yes? The first is wrong because it is politically incorrect to call an airline attendant a stewardess. The second is just being rude, ignorant and horrible and it's also pretty much this entire book.

Thing with books like this is that if you don't like them you tend to be told, "oh, you just didn't GET it." YES, I know the main character is supposed to be a horrible brat, and I KNOW the point of the book is said brat learning a lesson. I KNOW that many people are supposed to find the book offensive, and unsettling. I know, I understand, I get it. I just don't care, because it didn't work. I'm fine with un-PC, and I'm fine with rudeness, and bitchiness, and ignorance, and anything else you'd like to name, but in order for those things to work there needs to be a strong point and or reason that those aspects need to be in the story. Problem here is that if you were to take out all the "un-PC"(or whatever you want to call them) bits in the story, in essence it would have been the same. All that means is that they weren't needed in the first place, and if the author wanted to write a book where that sort of attitude worked, then she needed to come up with a plot that was strong and involved enough to support and justify it. This just didn't.

I'm actually surprised this book is actually intended for young adults and not intended for adults as something of a satire, as there are a lot of young people I know that would find this book upsetting. And not in the way the author intended. Honestly, as a slightly over weight teen,(and for the record most ten girls feel that they are even when they are not) there are several parts of the book(mostly the fat-shaming bits) that probably would have made me cry. Also, just a note, author also seems to be obsessed(or think kids are still obsessed) with Zac Efron, and if you don't know who he is or know a fair amount about High School Musical, a lot of this book might be lost on you.

I also feel a bit cheated in that when I started this one I looked at all the great reviews, not then realizing that the vast majority of them are people that authors knows. Not to say their opinions don't matter, but it is certainly worthy of mention.

As for recommendation, I'd say do yourself a favor and skip.
Profile Image for Cassie Gutman.
665 reviews128 followers
August 20, 2020
This cover is so cute. And I had high hopes, I did. I love summer camp, and I love summer camp books. But the execution didn't hold up for me.

I am aware that this is not supposed to be a politically correct novel. And it wasn't. But it still shocked me. Like, made me physically cringe and turn away and put the book down for a while shock me. I was that mad. I was mad at the character, I was mad at the plot, and I was mad at everything, really, in general. But I kept reading because I wanted it to get better.

But there were quite a few issues I had with this along the way. There were tons of really specific pop culture references from like, my 8th grade year. So 2005? High School Musical and Hollaback Girl were a couple of them. But it wasn't just random references, it was really specific details that you wouldn't know unless you've watched/heard it multiple times. And kids with support needs are not that behind in pop culture references. I worked at a summer camp with similar circumstances, and our kids were super up-to-date and knew more than I did about what was cool.

In addition, these were TERRIBLE camp counselors. They could just sneak away and leave the kids alone in the cabin in the middle of the night? Swear in front of them? Make jokes and not act as though they are standing right there? It was totally ridiculous and unbelievable, I can't believe anyone would trust their children with these kids.

Read When: Honestly, my recommendation would be to skip it.
Profile Image for Liz.
311 reviews
August 12, 2016
I received an advance copy of this book and I'm upset that I wasted my time reading it.

I might have just written the book off as fluff but then I realized that the author seems to have a huge bias against people who are overweight. The author likes to remind us about certain character's weight every.single. time that character comes up. In my opinion, it's just nasty. Saying a girl's bra can double as a hammock? Having the main character call herself a fat ass after she's eaten a big meal? Pointing out that a roll of fat looks like dough ready to be put in the oven? It almost seems as though this entire book was written just so the author could get her kicks from saying un-pc things about overweight people.

Also, the ending. Does the author assume that everyone reading her book will have seen High School Musical? And know why it's funny that the character who looks like Zac Efron is in a Wildcats jersey? Well I haven't and I don't. In fact, I had to google "wildcats" in order for the ending to make sense to me. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who will be confused by the ending. Why wouldn't the author just make up her own teen heartthrob to put in the story??

In sum, I'd recommend skipping this book entirely.
Profile Image for A.G. Howard.
Author 19 books8,705 followers
June 4, 2016
I LOVE this book. I got to read an early version and not only did it make me laugh out loud with its irreverent wit, but it made me a little uncomfortable in my own skin for its honesty. The characters and their feelings are so authentic and uncensored that it's painful to watch at times, in that it forces you to reevaluate how you yourself view the world. Ms. Crandell has found a novel approach to remind us that differently-abled people aren’t so different after all, and that even when we're dropped into unknown terrain, we can still find our footing if we have the courage to wear someone else's shoes, and laugh at ourselves a little along the way.
Profile Image for Kerri.
Author 16 books24k followers
April 4, 2013
Hands down one of the funniest books I have ever read. This is a lovely coming-of-age novel that will make you laugh until you cry, then laugh some more. I could NOT put it down and gobbled it up in ONE sitting. You are in for a treat when it hits shelves.
Profile Image for A.M. Supinger.
Author 7 books44 followers
March 8, 2014
TRUST ME--read this! It'll make you laugh and cry, maybe at the same time, and leave your head crammed with a whole new perspective.

When you think about summer camp, drool and green thongs aren't normally what come to mind. But Bethany Crandell put a spin on summer, and it all starts with Cricket.

Cricket is the main character: spoiled, snarky, and stuck at Camp I Can as a counselor for a bunch of disabled dweebs. Imagine her joy. But life at Camp I Can isn't all bad. After all, it has it's own resident hottie, a Zac Efron lookalike with a heart of gold.

But is a hunky co-counselor enough to change her mind about the camp--and the campers? Or will it take something more, like compassion and hard work?

Ultimately, Cricket's posh upbringing holds her back...like a crutch. She'll have to get over herself before summer's end, or risk losing the Camp I Can family she's come to love.
Profile Image for Sara.
659 reviews12 followers
July 16, 2014
I get that the main character is supposed to be spoiled, point taken. But she's a caricature of even that - I mean, most self-centered and spoiled people really do feel distress when threatened - but she's just a joke/parody of meanness as viewed from outside. The non PC part didn't bother me, but it didn't address the real issues. All the characters were pretty stereotypical (except for one saving grace of a character who became disabled in an accident and admits he was just as bad prior to his accident).

Writing is ok to good except for the "trying too hard" part with the pop culture. Crandell might grow up to write something much better, but reading her blog, her persona seems to be just as shallow as the protagonist. Skip this one.
Profile Image for A. Rolland.
Author 3 books114 followers
March 9, 2014
In a witty and brutally honest voice—so reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella—Crandell tells us the story of Cricket, a pampered teenager who gets served a dose of reality, which for the first time isn’t fed to her from a silver spoon. Crandell doesn’t hold back when it comes to wording, opinions or descriptions, and if she had, the story would have suffered. Cricket’s candidness is not due to a mean spirit- it’s simply narrating the inner workings of a sheltered, spoiled, self-centered teenager. I found myself laughing aloud and then covering my mouth because, well, it seemed wrong to find it so funny. But that’s the unique beauty of it.
Profile Image for Ally.
344 reviews2 followers
August 28, 2014
The main character Cricket Montgomery, is in short, a spoiled bitch. Bethany herself said that the book is a stage for "an honest character to evolve realistically (no matter how ugly). To me though, she didn't evolve.
Cricket starts the book horrified of the campers who are perfectly interesting people. And why is she horrified? For their crimes of being autistic, handicap-able, and in the case of Claire (and this one hits closest to home as I am what the doctors who say obese and the polite would call plus-sized) FAT.
So yeah, by the end of the story she's okay with the fact that though the campers are handicapped, they can do anything, and are actually really nice people. However, Cricket's inner thoughts about them, especially towards Claire have that nasty tinge to them. For example, at one point Claire is dancing. I believe she's doing the worm, and Cricket describes the her as a sausage coming out of it's casing.
I've been in Cricket's place. I've gone from sheltered kid to helping a special needs camp put on the end of summer show. My mom ran a special needs camp for YEARS. Luckily it didn't in any way resemble this garbage. I was NEVER as nasty as Cricket was, nor does anyone deserve to be treated the way she treats EVERYONE. Also, the whole mom and Rainbow storyline, felt like it could've been interesting but she forgot what she was doing, ran out of pages and was forced to wrap it up. It could've been removed from the book and nothing would've changed.
Profile Image for Lisa Nocita.
1,010 reviews2 followers
June 21, 2015
Trite and superficial novel about a spoiled rich girl whose daddy "punishes" her by sending her to a camp for children with special needs to work as a counselor for 2(!) weeks. And let me say up front that she doesn't last the entire two weeks either. She never really grows but the hunky Zac Efron look-alike completely falls for her despite her shallow, prejudicial, and immature ways. AND everyone keeps telling her what a special, good person she is! Puh-leez! "You might not believe it, but I'm now officially the best kid in the world because of that place." "It's a gift you know. Not everyone has that kind of connection to things...and people." Ugh. She has a connection to things alright. Cute boys? Definitely. Other people? Not so much.
"Team Oven Mitt would like to dedicate this song to someone who was very special to everyone at camp this summer--especially me. Cricket was the driving force of this entire production and should be recognized for all of her hard work...So, Miss Montgomery...this one's for you." (243) Really?! She bitched and complained about the job every time it was brought up and she made derogatory remarks about the campers' abilities to perform. AND, let's not forget that she was there for only 10 days of the summer...

Crandell says in her author note that it would be easy to assume that the book was inspired by her special needs daughter. "But it wasn't--not really." She further adds that there is nothing politically correct about the story nor is there an intentional message of inclusion. "This story is merely a stage for an honest character to evolve realistically (no matter how ugly), something we don't have enough of these days."
Success, Ms.Crandell. It's ugly. And it's not redemptive. When Cricket's dad pulls her out of camp, for something completely ridiculous btw, to whom does she say goodbye? Not the campers. Not her fellow counselors except the BOY. No thank you's to the director, no impassioned speeches to implore her father and demonstrate that she really does care. No. She's upset because she doesn't get her way, which is to spend more time with the cute boy with whom she likes sucking face after lights out. Utter tripe. There's a fair amount of swearing and some underage drinking, so more appropriate for more mature readers. Unless they have brain cells and a well developed sense of empathy and right versus wrong. Then not at all.
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
March 30, 2014
I was not sure what I would think as I began reading Summer On The Short Bus. When reading the synopsis I immediately felt a pull towards the special needs kids and knew that this would be an emotional book. Yet when I began reading this book it was so much more than just a story about special needs kids.

This is a story about Cricket Montgomery and how she overcomes her selfish, material ways and finds out more about herself than she could ever imagine. Cricket is sent to a summer camp to be a camp leader after her father is pushed to his limits by her irresponsible actions.

"And as if lecturing me until I was ready to ram scissors in my ears wasn't bad enough, he salted the wound by announcing that not only was he confiscating my credit cards until school started, but I would not be flying to Maui with Katie and her family as planned. Instead, I would be spending the rest of my summer acting as a camp counselor to a bunch of tweens who are too lame to know that summer camp stopped being cool when you were seven. Surely this is some kind of sick joke."

Cricket arrives at the summer camp and has no idea what she is getting into. Little does she know this is a summer camo for kids with special needs such as the handicapped and the mentally retarded. The children immediately take to Cricket and all she can do is cry and try to run away.

This story surprised me in so many amazing ways. Cricket deals with so much pain, heartache, love, surprise, and joy throughout her summer at the camp. I truly loved this book. I loved the kids and how they affect Cricket and all the other people around them. I love how this book shows the kids awesomeness and how normal they really are!! It was a short, sweet story that was a perfect mix of friendship, love, and family relationships.
Profile Image for Paula Stokes.
Author 17 books1,153 followers
August 3, 2016
Call this the year of the unlikable narrator or something--OMG Cricket makes my MC Lainey look like a saint :) Warning--some of Cricket's thoughts about "handicapped hell" will make you uncomfortable, but like the book points out, a lot of people share these feelings, whether or not they admit them.

I love the way Bethany has taken a spoiled rich kid and given her a chance to grow up a little. The bio mentions that Bethany has a differently-abled daughter, so I can only imagine how personal this story is to her. Mad props that she could write such a funny and fast-paced book about special needs kids without letting it veer into sappy or sentimental territory. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews361 followers
February 14, 2016
4.5 stars for this magnificent book!

At the beginning of this book I didn't like Cricket/Constance. I found her an uppity, little, whiny, spoiled bratty bitch. I can imagine it is a shock to find yourself dumped in a camp for disabled kids, and I can also imagine what a first impression might be scary or what the hell is this, but at least give them a chance, at least give the camp a chance. I didn't like her attitude, miss little princess expected some kind of fancy camp with all kinds of fancy stuff, and then starts whining and saying she will call her dad when she can so she can leave.

But, luckily Cricket doesn't stay like this through the whole book, slowly, but very surely you will see she starts to change. She starts to have fun, starts to accept those who look different or act different. She makes mistakes along the way, but she fights to show she is better than that eventually. In the end? I loved Cricket, she still got some things wrong, but nobody is perfect.
I also liked that in the end she just dropped her friend (at least she starts to just ignore the messages and such).

I loved Quinn, though most of the Zac Efron references (and also the ending) flew right over my head. I never seen, or cared for that matter, about him or that High School Musical thing, so it is a shame that it was featured so much in this book. Some things were funny, but a lot I was like: "Wait what? What is this supposed to be?"
Quinn was a great character, however, I had times that I just wanted to smack him. Cricket really tries, and yes she makes mistakes but for him to act like he did that one time. Not even wanting to see her change, not even giving her a chance to explain or to say sorry.

The whole camp thing was interesting, and I loved how great those kids were. Loved how honest they were and how open they were with a lot of things, nothing was too strange or too weird for them.

I didn't like Rainbow or the Dad. I know the will said she had to keep quiet about things, I feel like it was better if she was just honest. Cricket was seriously creeped out and also quite stressed because Rainbow, who is a complete stranger to her, knew all kinds of stuff about her that no one knows but her dad and someone on the staff at her house. I also didn't like her dad. I know he was trying to protect her and all that, but there is a line, a girl deserves to know her mom, deserves to know about her mom.

But all in all this was a fantastic book, and believe me it is worth it. Cricket is annoying for a part of the book, but you will see her grow and change, and you will also find out why she behaves like that. Read this book. :)

Review first posted at http://twirlingbookprincess.com/
1 review
June 15, 2014
I read a blurb about SOTSB online and thought, what a fresh premise! I REALLY wanted to read and love it.

There were some witty, funny laugh aloud moments toward the beginning. Bethany Crandell gets the voice of a spoiled rich SoCal chick spot on (even thought Cricket is from Chicago, the author is from San Diego.)

BUT, sadly I just didn't like Cricket very much—maybe because her so-called transformation didn't seem all that transformative. For example, during the climatic end-of-camp talent show, Cricket describes one camper's girth as "...rolls of belly fat sandwiched between the two garments gleam like dough waiting for the oven..."

Really? You've come to admire and love your special needs campers? Because you still come across as heartless and shallow.

SPOILER...Another element that didn't work for me: the whole plot line about Cricket's deceased mother. It felt tacked on in hopes of tugging the reader's heart strings, especially at the end. Cricket lost her mother at age four. Fourteen years later this is STILL the reason why her father is so emotionally unavailable? Unbelievable to me, as was the foreshadowing of Rainbow revealing intimate details of Cricket's life.

Cricket's loss and heartbreak over her mother (a central element) should have come into play right from the get-go, and in a much more authentic way.

One last quip. High School Musical? Zack Effron? Hollaback Girl? Isn't the first rule of fiction not to date your writing with stale pop culture references?
Profile Image for Eric Devine.
Author 6 books175 followers
February 1, 2014
Irreverence. Politically incorrect behavior. Snark. All of these are the mix of much of teenage life. And that is why SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS works so well. It is a story of transformation, but not one guided by the watered down, morally perfect teens that so often exist only in fictional pages. The voice is honest, and Cricket is a very unlikable protagonist. She owns herself and her pampered position in the world. And it is wonderful to watch her get knocked off that pedestal and remain there, grounded.

I loved the camp and its cast of characters who demonstrate the essence of living that is so often lost on the teens I encounter: just enjoy life. And nothing is held back. The reactions to the handicapped is as real and as painful as anything I have ever heard. That is important, because the message of overcoming that initial discomfort is paramount to so much of the subplots within the rest of the story.

Heck, I even enjoyed the Zac Ephron-esque love interest, which is a real stretch for me. But Quinn is flawed beneath that veneer of wholesomeness. That sold it for me. Two teens, a little broken in their respective ways, set against a backdrop of physically and mentally handicapped teens, where everyone is learning to trust and express themselves, in spite of their "flaws", embracing the time they have. Awesome.

Get on the bus. Enjoy the ride. I know I did.
Profile Image for Sara Raasch.
Author 16 books5,737 followers
January 27, 2014
In a world run by political correctness, walking on eggshells, and other such nonsense, Bethany delivers a truthful and comedic story that is downright refreshing in its realism. The way she accomplishes this is through heart, and lots of it -- every character BURSTS with personality and lovability in their own unique ways. Especially Cricket (BAD. ASS. NAME.) -- not gonna lie, I was concerned I wouldn't like her at first. She's very self-centered, as one can expect from a kid who grew up in extreme comfort, but whether through her humor or her mysterious past, Cricket instantly stole my heart.

Speaking of heart-stealing...QUINN. I just. I can't even. QUINN.

Basically, you NEED this book. It is the perfect, uplifting summer read that everyone will be scrambling for!
Profile Image for Allison.
398 reviews79 followers
September 7, 2017
This was super cute.

I read a lot of negative reviews before giving this a shot. So I knew that a ton of people were really unhappy with how NOT politically correct this book was. And they're right. Cricket was a raving jackhole. Like unforgivably awful. I don't know if I've ever encountered a more insanely rotten character. She gives Regina George a run for her money.

I felt kind of bad for finding this hilarious. The things she said were so off the wall and so not okay that I couldn't help myself. It was funny. I know that's awful, but I laughed a lot.

Only 3 stars for this because I felt like the romance subplot in this book was totally unnecessary. There didn't seem to be a real reason for Quinn to like her in the beginning other than the author needed him to witness her being a dick in order to give her "her moment" or turning point and advance the story. The story suffered because Quinn liked her for no reason, caught her being a dick, and then forgave her entirely too quickly (after she isn't a brat for a couple of days. Big deal. Most people can go a little while without acting subhuman so I don't see why she got a pat on the back.) Annnnnnddddd thennnnnn, they were suddenly in love. Cool.

Profile Image for Kira.
98 reviews11 followers
April 16, 2014
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Cricket Montgomery’s designer clad world is turned upside down when her father decides to send her away to a camp for disabled teens for the summer in order to teach her a lesson. Cricket thinks her chauffer has dropped her off in hell—one that will last for the next three weeks.

But as Cricket steps away from the world of designer labels and exotic vacations she begins understand that the campers are just like every other teenager and that they do not let their disabilities from doing incredible things.

Bethany Crandell’s Summer on the Short Bus is fun, witty, and heartfelt. Readers will found themselves laughing at Cricket’s sassy attitude and witty remarks as they, the readers, get journey through Camp I Can. Crandell keeps the story interesting by including an array of interesting characters and by intertwining humor, romance, and secrets. Summer on the Short Bus is a fantastic read that is sure to brighten anybody’s day.
Profile Image for Angela.
Author 2 books85 followers
January 16, 2014
I was incredibly fortunate to read an early version of Summer on the Short Bus and can easily say it's now one of my favorite books of all time.

Bethany Crandell is an amazing writer, who blows my mind with her talent for combining humor and heartfelt. With "Summer on the Short Bus," Crandell has created a story that makes you laugh until you cry, but also tugs at your heartstrings. However, not once does she ever allow the reader to pity or feel sorry for the underdogs; instead, we're left rooting for them, loving them, wanting to hang out with them!

My favorite thing about "Summer on the Short Bus," is that it's different than anything else out there. It was such a refreshing, couldn't-put-down, laughed-until-my-side-hurt read :)
Profile Image for Dev.
440 reviews3 followers
August 11, 2016
Let me quote the author's note: "There is nothing politically correct about Summer on the Short Bus, nor is there an intentional message of inclusion in these pages. This story is merely a stage for an honest character to evolve realistically (no matter how ugly); something we don't see enough of these days.

My summary: Spoiled rich kid goes to a summer camp for teens with disabilities, meets really hot boy, dates really hot boy, says something stupid, gets boy mad at her, and changes so that she can get him back. There's more in there, but that's the basic plot line as far as I can tell. Not my kind of book. Yet, I couldn't out it down waiting for that evolution. Not a reread.
Profile Image for Boyanna.
312 reviews93 followers
July 11, 2014
DNF around 25% - the MC was too obnoxious, all character felt like cardboard cut outs without depth and without personality saying thing what the author thought a nice person should say... i don't feel like this one's worth my time!
Profile Image for Makenzie Hofacker.
179 reviews1 follower
August 10, 2022
This book was truly difficult to read for the first half or so! But that’s not to say it was a bad book or I wanted to stop reading. It’s because seeing how some people view people with disabilities is difficult! I loved getting to see the changes Cricket went through in this book, first with how she treated her fellow camp leaders, how she treated the campers, and even to how she treated herself. I am so glad that I got to see her slowly change, especially after wanting to fight her while I read the first half!
Profile Image for Jayvee  "Writer For Misfits".
77 reviews22 followers
May 31, 2015
Trying to change for the better seems to be a challenge for most people because they think it might break a ritual, a sense of self or a characteristic they hold. For the protagonist of Bethany Crandell's Summer On The Short Bus, Cricket, it holds very true.

So, take the rich, spoiled girl, Cricket Montgomery and toss her into a summer camp full of teenagers with special needs, along with the mysterious head of the camp, a chef who is head over heels for Madonna, a doctor with a fascination for Bieber/Edward Cullen band-aids and a group of counselors, Fantine, Colin and the ever irresistible Quinn and toss them together to form an unlikely group of people stuck together for two weeks, and Cricket is the only one who has to adjust.

Summer On The Short Bus was a light read for me, though it took my concentration to actually finish it (reading slump). It's full of fun characters with different views on life, and a heart to it that truly captures an essence of how a person can actually go towards making him/herself better.

I have a love/hate relationship with Cricket. She's adorable and feisty yet her dense, rich girl self just blows on me like a pile of rotten eggs. She's not the type of character you'd want to live with while she's on her diva mode, but she truly has a heart of gold and the effort to try to be a better person along her time at Camp I Can. What I also truly liked about her characterization, is that even if she is in fact a true brat, she is honest and in situations, kind and caring. I think the lack of fatherly love (as well as motherly) could be rooted to her behavior. Thank goodness for Carolyn though.

So this is where my argument sort of comes into play. I just did not like Quinn/Zac Efron look-alike as much as I would've wanted to. I know he's sweet, charming and kind to everyone and of course, he's not perfect because he pointed it out himself, and talked about his difficult parents, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around him. Then came Aidan and ASDFGHJKL my mind was on fire. He's a cute guy on a wheelchair. Adorable. But he's also very insightful and seems really mature for his age. He's also not one to back out from fun. But, Cricket and Quinn happened, so there. The only thing I have to say about their relationship is, well, good luck. HAHAHA! As for me, I'll have Aidan for myself. DIBS, BETHANY! DIBS!

The other characters in the book are given quite helpful roles and you might think they'll be shoved on the sidelines but they seem to be far more present than I expected. And those special needs kids! UGH!!! Adorable! Meredith made me happy, Claire a little annoyed at first but she was adorable.

I think what's also special about Summer on The Short Bus is that it gives us a look of how special needs kids can also have fun and that they are fun to be around and that they are also normal people who shouldn't be shun out from society. I did find myself a little reluctant at first to be around some special needs kids when I got the chance, but like 15 minutes later and we're like the bestest friends! They are fun though they have their issues. They seem to creep at you at times but they are actually the sweetest things ever!!!

Bethany Crandell knows how to mix humor and that pinch of needed family drama with her novel. Though there's so much more that could be spliced in the story and added more depth to some characters, for a light and fun-filled read, it's just right. It's like having tea or coffee in your porch and snorting a bit of it coz you thought of a fun memory.

Summer On The Short Bus is cute, sweet and definitely worth to be added to your summer TBR.
Profile Image for Pili.
1,164 reviews216 followers
April 13, 2015
I got Summer on the Short Bus shortly after release last year but for one reason or another it got buried under more books in my Kindle library and remained unread. Then I took part on the 1 year anniversary blitz for it and thought that it was about time I read it and it took over my Sunday!

Constance "Cricket" Montgomery is a spoiled brat with an hilarious and offensive inner (and outer) monologue that made her feel extremely real and infuriating and that once confronted with a summer sentence working at a camp, tries every one of her tricks with her daddy to get out of it. And once she can't and has to face working on Camp I can with kids with special needs... she literally faints!

This story is full of snark, laughs and some serious fuzzy feels! I love how Cricket has to get off her spoiled rich girl horse and face more than her own share of prejudice and realize how that hurts when it's directed at you, as opposed as being the one spewing it. The best thing about Cricket though is how upfront she is with everything. She doesn't have a politically correct filter that makes her pretend to be one thing while snarking inside as another and that makes her honest and genuine, even in her spoiled brat self.

I love how Cricket learns a lot about empathy and about herself and her past and her own family, in a way that she could have never imagined, and even if it all might have been initiated by making the most out of spending time with the resident hottie and Zac Efron look-alike, it is not a change done only on surface. She is not faking for Quinn's sake, so she'll look good, the campers and other counselors are making her see things differently, and see herself differently, and she doesn't want to go back to being who she was anymore.

All the characters had a lot of depth and personality, from the campers, counselors to even Cricket's dad. There is so much more to them all than what we see at first when we meet them, and even if we don't get to know them all in depth, the characters have that realness to them.

A fantastic book that made laugh and snicker, and smile and gave me quite a few swoony feels and that managed to give quite a few lessons on diversity, equality, empathy and being honest with outselves and others without ever feeling preachy or self-righteous!

Very well deserved 4 stars and a very much recommended read for all of those that love contemporaries and all of those that aren't entirely sure if it's their genre too!
14 reviews3 followers
December 31, 2022
Cricket is a spoiled rich girl who gets in trouble and has to spend 2 weeks working at a summer camp for children with disabilities. I've never read a book with such an unlikable main character but I kept reading because I figured that was the point. Start out hating the main character so that you can really appreciate her growth to become a better person. But the problem is her motivations to become a better person was a boy. And not just some average camp counselor. This guy supposedly looks like Zac Efron and from the very beginning Cricket gushes about how he looks like a movie star. We already know this girl is shallow, so why make her motivation to be a better person be to impress the hottest guy she had ever seen? It would have been more meaningful of a change if her sudden desire to be better was motivated by the campers, the teens with disabilities. The campers seemed to just be there to make a more interesting backdrop for the story. We never really get to know the campers themselves. Out of the two girls Cricket is responsible for all we know is one is in a wheel chair, has an obsession with Miley Cyrus and is a good swimmer, and the other is "fat" and has down syndrome. I'm really surprised of the way that the author chose to describe the campers. Yes Cricket had never been around people like this and she is a very shallow and self centered person but her thoughts on the campers and the way she viewed them was disturbing. Especially considering the author has a child that has disabilities. But yet throughout the entire book they are referred as "handicapped" by everyone, including the other counselors who are supposed to be more caring about the campers and actually have connections with them. You would think we would get to really know the campers in the story and through Cricket getting to know them she would become more accepting and invested in their lives but that doesn't happen. We're made to believe that those 2 weeks changed Cricket but really she's just as shallow as she had always been but a little more self aware and a little more aware of how others might be feeling. So now she knows it's better just to keep your mouth shut instead of just shouting out that you think someone has a "smashed in face" or has rolls of fat hanging over their shorts.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,136 reviews187 followers
April 20, 2014
I am so glad that Cricket did not turn out to be a royal pain in the butt. Otherwise she would have brought this book down some and I would have wanted her to go on a one way trip to nowhere on the short bus. Claire and Madeline were another story. They did bring the fun. I loved Claire and her chirping in response to Cricket’s name. Then there is Quinn aka Zac Efron look alike. Yes, I did watch all of the High School Musical movies and thought Zac was cute. The more grownup movies that Zac has starred in does show he can be a leading man. So I could see why Cricket fell for Quinn. However I did think Quinn was a bit of a hypocrite. He thought Cricket was spoiled but when she changed and apologized, he would turn his back on her. So who was the mean one here? The author starts she writes sarcastic novels and she succeeds here. This was part of the reason that I enjoyed reading this book besides the characters. I look forward to reading more books from this author. Summer on the Short Bus is a fun, campy, barrel of laughs.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews701 followers
March 7, 2014
This book was fantastic.

I've never laughed so hard before whole reading. Within the first 50 pages I found myself wanting to quote all of the things and I woke up the dog with all of my cackling. Twice.

Being inside Cricket's head was a lot of fun. The snark is strong with that one. She's a bit of a shallow bitch in the beginning, but it's quite a fun journey she's on. And don't get me started on Quinn...all I will say about him is that I've already got a request in to Bethany for him, so that should tell you something.

All in all, it's a great story with an amazing message. Definitely something kids should have to read. I cannot recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Stas.
1,085 reviews5 followers
December 2, 2014
What a horror.
Don't go there. PLEASE.

EDIT 2014/07/21 - Some clarifications

The idea was interesting - but executed just terribly.
I'd love to read a decent book dealing with special needs people. Hell, I'd love to work at this kind of camp!
I loved those kids, with bright and colourful personalities.

The main character? Flat cardboard cutout. No development.
Outdated culture references.
Author seems to not know what "politically correct" IS.

This book is plain terrible
235 reviews10 followers
September 9, 2014
Gladly, I read the author's note first. While I appreciate what the author was trying to do with being unapologetic. I despised Cricket for every aspect of her personality, not just her horrifying comments about her charges. She was a spoiled brat throughout, Quinn would never have forgiven her, and anyone that says I love you after 13 days is wildly naive. I rolled my eyes through most of the book. The only redeeming points in the book were the realistic descriptions and personalities of the campers, which the author has a lot of experience with.
Profile Image for Hana.
14 reviews
June 18, 2015
I absolutely loved this book! To all the negative comments - seriously? It is one thing to share your opinion because you have a right; but it's another thing when you're digging so deep into this book and trying to find EVERY little thing wrong with it. Of course not EVERYTHING is going to be *on point*.... As a teenager who has an Autistic twin brother, this book is very relatable to me and the situations I've dealt with other people like Cricket! it shows a great moral and lesson to everyone who doesn't always know about people with special needs. Love love LOVE it! :)
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