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The Summer Before

(The Baby-Sitters Club #0.5)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,601 ratings  ·  333 reviews
Before there was the Baby-Sitters Club, there were four girls named Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill. As they start the summer before seventh grade (also before they start the BSC), each of them is on the cusp of a big change.
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Scholastic Inc. (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Jesse Bornemann
Before sexy vampires and werewolves with six-pack abs, before angsty adolescent wizards, there was The Baby-Sitters Club (the BSC, natch). As a former Club devotee, turned card-carrying almost 30-something, I rushed out to purchase “The Summer Before,” Ann M. Martin’s new BSC prequel. As I presented the hardback to my almost 30-something salesclerk, she exclaimed, “I’ve been meaning to buy this! Which girl was your favorite?” With less hesitation than I approach 99% of life’s questions, I replie ...more
Rachel Brand
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, children
I must have read at least fifty of these books as a child and after coming across them in a charity shop at the age of sixteen and rediscovering the joy of the adventures of these preteen babysitters, I started to recollect the books. I now have half a shelf full of these colourful little novels sitting on my bookcase that I revisit when I'm in need of some light relief to destress myself. So when I heard that a prequel was being written I was naturally excited at the premise of it. Although man ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn't even know this existed until I started re-reading some of the Baby-Sitters Club books this year. I guess that was because it was published in 2010... well after the original series was complete. I really enjoyed this one! This tells the story of each of the girls before the start of 7th grade and before the Baby-Sitters Club actually began. It has been 20+ years since I read this series, so I'm not entirely sure if any of this stuff is touched on or flashed back in the other books or no ...more
When I found out that there was a new Babysitter's Club coming out, I actually pre-ordered the book from my local bookstore. I was--although I probably shouldn't have been--kind of amazed at the instantaneous nostalgia that this publication inspired for me. Suddenly, I was remembering the family driving trip through the Four Corners where I pretty much missed all of Utah because I was reading the first Super Special (Babysitters on Board!) and literally could not pull my eyes away from the pages ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I can't bring myself to utter one negative word about a novel by the author who inspired me to become a writer and move to New York City. I bought this prequel both out of nostalgia and and a desire to support Ann M. Martin no matter what she does. I was a little disappointed by the lack of desciption of fashionable outfits (no matter how horribly '80s); the book seemed to have a serious (maybe even depressing?) psychological undercurrent that ran deeper than the books in the original series. Th ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, there wasn't even time for me to put this on "to read" and/or to list progress on it. I was walking through the new children's library when I went to renew my card yesterday, saw that somehow, I missed the release of an actual honest-to-goodness BSC book, and not just one of the re-releases.

So I read it one sitting. Just like I used to. Except, as I pointed out to a friend, this time I did not lock myself in the bathroom the way I used to have to in order to keep out my older brothers
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Not as interesting as the regular series, in my opinion.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ever since I learned that Netflix was reimagining one of my favorite childhood book series, I had decided that I would be embarking on a re-read of this series, reliving a series of books that helped to shape me into a voracious reader. And with The Summer Before, I'm off on this mission. This particular book didn't even exist in the way back, when I first fell in love with the BSC, as it's only about ten years old. It was the perfect introduction, really, feeling both fresh and familiar.

What I
Erica Henry
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this and plan to continue the series.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I'm going to be reading a bunch of The Baby-Sitters Club books, so beware. ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Is there any way to objectively evaluate this book? I spent my childhood reading literally HUNDREDS of Baby-Sitters Club books, so reading this newly-released prequel was like watching a home movie -- full of so much nostalgia and warmth that it doesn't matter how awkward it is in retrospect.

I really love how easily Ann M. Martin was able to slip back into these characters, and each girl in the story has a very clear narrative arc. It's not great art, and the writing style is as weird as ever (w
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
OMG! I feel like a middle-schooler again! Not that that was a great time, but I loved reading the Baby-Sitter's Club books. I read them voraciously. And, I'm not embarrassed to admit, I kinda wanna read them all again after reading this one!

The Summer Before is a prequel book to all of the other Baby-Sitter's Club books. The girls are in the summer before 7th grade and are just beginning to babysit. At the very end of the book, Kristy gets the idea for the club. Which is where the first book, Kr
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I really loved this book; it reminded me of how much I liked the series when I was a little girl. The Babysitter's Club launched when I was in fifth grade (1986), and I bought "Kristy's Great Idea" off the shelf at my local Waldenbooks and eagerly awaited every new release. This captures the charm of the early books (which were written by Martin rather than ghostwriters), and she touches on some themes of the series in a slightly more serious way. It's great to revisit such familiar characters w ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bsc-challenge
A throwback to my childhood. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think that it'd be wonderful to live in Stoneybrook and be friends with these girls, especially Kristy and Mary Anne. Stoneybrook feels like a different time/place from the world that we know today (imho). There's a sense of community here; neighbours talked to and trusted one another. The girls also had a great deal of freedom and responsibility (sitting jobs where they took care of 2 and 3 year olds). I lived and breathed these ...more
Feb 18, 2010 rated it liked it
It was nice to take a trip down memory lane with the fab four. I loved the series when I was growing up. I hope this book re-news interest in the books for young girls. :)
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. t was very happy and upbeat. I could relate to it a lot.
Jennifer Hoque
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s exactly what you think it will be. Nostalgia to the max.
Feb 28, 2010 added it
Another nostalgia hit for me. This time we go back to before it all began. Stacey is still in New York, Claudia thinks she's better than everyone else because a bored eighth grader pays attention to her, Kristy longs for her father and Mary Anne tries to learn more about her mother. It was a good story. I felt bad for Stacey dealing with Laine who was such a bully. I can't believe they became friends again later on. Also Stacey's parents were kinda stupid not knowing what Laine did or how she wa ...more
Rachel Brown
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved revisiting the Baby-Sitters Club in anticipation of the Netflix remake that launches in a few weeks! I adored these books when I was in middle school, and I was pleased to see that some serious topics were tackled, which must be such a comfort for young readers trying to overcome the same obstacles. The writing is mature, too, which I didn’t remember, but it made reading this book as an adult all the more enjoyable.

I’ll definitely plan to reread more of this series (and Sweet Valley Twin
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun book to read. It still feels like the BSC books that I read in elementary school. I'm glad that the author remained true to the original series. Although, I didn't like Claudia as much in this book. Also, I wouldn't mind a book or books set in the future. It would be nice to see what became of the BSC. ...more
Dec 23, 2017 added it
The origin story of The Baby-Sitters Club! I thought this was a really cute read. It gives you an idea of what the 4 original girls (Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey) were going through during the summer before they started the club. I especially liked reading about the friendship between Kristy and Mary Anne and how they help each other through various problems in their lives. Great read for all fans of the BSC.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my fave serie when I was younger and I'm so glad I decided to read again some of the novels!
I love the characters
Allison Preston
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I've mentioned in several places, I originally read "The Baby-Sitters Club" from 1992 (halfway through third grade) until late summer of 1995 (right before starting seventh grade). I was familiar with the numbered series (I read up to #88), the Super Specials, Reader Requests, and to a lesser extent, the Mysteries. I also read the "Little Sister" spin-off during that same time (I think I read about 50 of those books). I loved "The Baby-Sitters Club," and the only reason I stopped reading them ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Ever wondered what the girls of the Baby-Sitters Club were like before KRISTY'S BIG IDEA? How Kristy's mom met her step-dad?

A prequel to the original series, these four girls will do a lot of growing up before Kristy comes up with her great idea for the Club.

The summer before seventh grade is not going as well as Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey thought it would. Kristy's mom is dating a new guy, but Kristy still hopes her dad will come back and pick
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a quick, easy read, as it's really aimed at the 9-11 year old set, even though it seems most of the readers snatching it up are of the late 20s/early 30s crowd who grew up with Kristy, Claudia, et al.

Not much happens plot-wise; this is just about the events leading up to "Kristy's Great Idea." Stacy leaves NYC, Kristy misses her father, Mary Ann... is there, and Claudia hangs out with an older boy who doesn't do right by her (though thankfully he's not as creepy as the guy from "Dawn an
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
What fun to go back to the series that made me fall in love with reading. I wondered if I would recall the characters and story lines with this book. It did a pretty good job. I might be a little too old to "love" a Babysitters Club book but this was pretty well done. I thought Martin lost the integrity of the decade in which the story evolves in this particular book…gift cards, slang, and some fashion descriptions. But I'm sure it was more about staying relevant to current readers than entertai ...more
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely prequel to the series that WAS MY CHILDHOOD. She did a great job of updating things to the new millenium, but kept true to the things I love about this series. I also appreciate that the very end of the book, in which Kristy has THE GREAT IDEA for The Baby-Sitter's Club, she lifts passages directly from the beloved original book. A great homage... I sighed a bit as the book ended, because I felt like my childhood was ending all over again. ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I know, I know but I read so many of these books when I was younger that I couldn't help but be curious about the prequel. I am also doing a reading challenge that I found on Pinterest and it says to read a book that will bring me joy and, well, this did! :) ...more
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Ann Matthews Martin was born on August 12, 1955. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, with her parents and her younger sister, Jane. After graduating from Smith College, Ann became a teacher and then an editor of children's books. She's now a full-time writer.

Ann gets the ideas for her books from many different places. Some are based on personal experiences, while others are based on childhood me

Other books in the series

The Baby-Sitters Club (1 - 10 of 131 books)
  • Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1)
  • Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-sitters Club, #2)
  • The Truth About Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club, #3)
  • Mary Anne Saves the Day (The Baby-Sitters Club, #4)
  • Dawn and the Impossible Three (The Baby-Sitters Club, #5)
  • Kristy's Big Day (The Baby-Sitters Club, #6)
  • Claudia and Mean Janine (The Baby-Sitters Club, #7)
  • Boy-Crazy Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club, #8)
  • The Ghost at Dawn's House (The Baby-Sitters Club, #9)
  • Logan Likes Mary Anne! (The Baby-Sitters Club, #10)

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