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The Summer Before Boys

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,089 ratings  ·  209 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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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,089 ratings  ·  209 reviews

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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
Jun 28, 2012 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
Apr 01, 2011 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.

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
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
Aug 16, 2011 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 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
Jul 14, 2012 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
Arthur Pengerbil
Feb 22, 2012 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
Tyler Sherwin
Aug 29, 2013 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
Aug 26, 2012 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
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
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
Sep 23, 2012 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
Christina Y.
Oct 01, 2012 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
Sep 14, 2011 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
Oct 17, 2011 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
Oct 26, 2015 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.
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-school, ya
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.
Sep 27, 2011 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 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.
Jazmyn Troy
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The summer before boys #2 Quarter 3
The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a realistic fiction book. Takes place in the summer of 2004 . Also a girl named Julia and her best friend Eliza have been friends forever since they are actually family but Julia's mom is in the National Guard and as much as Julia tries not to think about her mom getting hurt she does she just tries to change the subject in her head

Main characters are Julia, Eliza
Julia is very scared of her mother being
Paperback Cass
For a short book, it really had an important message to it.
It follows the trail of two life long best friends during the summer. Julia's mom is deployed in Iraq and she's waiting for her mom to come home. Julia is spending the summer with Eliza (best friend). It goes from two different time points basically, since its written from Julia's point of view. I really love the message this book coveys, which is, best friends are forever and everything will be okay. If any children's parents are deplo
Patricia Strot
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
While volunteering at the library in the J. Fiction area I saw this book and the title piqued my interest. It was a quick read about a coming of age young lady named Julia whose mother was sent to Iraq and Julia was sent to stay with her aunt, uncle and cousin and best friend, Eliza. The story tells about Julia's worries about her mother, her friendship with Eliza, and her first crush and kiss. I felt it could have gone deeper into each of those but the reader does get a small view about each an ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I really, really liked Anything But Typical, so I expected to like this book, but I didn't as much. It just . . . hurt to read. So much discomfort, so much expectation, so much waiting for the inevitable bad thing to happen and so little recovery from it. I think it was well written, though, and I've bumped its rating up to three stars because I think it's quality, even though I personally didn't particularly enjoy reading it. At least it has a happy ending!
Mrs. Wegener
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic
"But I was changing. Looking back, that day, what was real and what was not real was slowly starting to separate."

This is a really great coming of age story, especially for girls. I like how the story goes in and out of pretend and real life because I think that is how 12 year old girls tend to be with one another. Plus, this story is FULL of figurative language including similes, metaphors, and personification!
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Confusing and a Disappointment

I find this a bit boring.. but girls, if your a teen like me who likes more teeny characters (instead of a girl who is 12 and acts like a 8 year old)..get a different book ( keep reading ), I'm sorry to say this but I think this is required for girls 10 and below. I was disappointed, if you know what I mean.

May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I like this book alot. But it wasn't the best
Lindsay Plessinger
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute short story.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It's good for the genre. Nothing extraordinary
Emma Gomez
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good Book! \(^u^)/
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AP Language SHS: Sheridan Barton Summer Reading 1 1 Oct 12, 2017 10:30PM  
  • Lucky for Good (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #3)
  • Camo Girl
  • Small Acts of Amazing Courage
  • Planet Middle School
  • Sparrow Road
  • The Romeo And Juliet Code (Felicity Bathburn #1)
  • From Willa, With Love (Wedding Planner's Daughter #6)
  • Water Balloon
  • The Summer of May
  • A & L Do Summer
  • Franny Parker
  • Subway Girl
  • Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider
  • The Summer of Firsts and Lasts
  • Bird in a Box
  • Looking for Me
  • Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception (Liar, Liar, #1)
  • Sugar and Ice

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.