Monday, May 14, 2012

The Summer Before

The Summer Before
Ann M. Martin
215 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Yes, this book is younger than YA but it was a trip down memory lane that I want to share with you.

I still remember my first Baby-Sitter's Club book.  My parents bought my Kristy's Great Idea to take on vacation with us when I was in first grade.  After that trip, I was hooked.  I had it figured out to the day when new books were coming out and I would drag my father to Waldenbooks to buy them.  I was a pretty big fan and read them well past their intended age range.  Then, earlier this year, my online book club decided it would be fun to revisit the series and do a couple rereads for discussion.  I reread Kristy's Great Idea, both the chapter book and the graphic novel version.  I also found out about The Summer Before, Ann M. Martin's prequel to the series, which she wrote in 2010.

This book follows the lives of the four original baby-sitters the summer before their club started.  Kristy wants to be reunited with her father all while trying to deal with her mother having a new boyfriend after her divorce; Mary-Anne is dealing with a strict father who is very hesitant to allow her to start baby-sitting even though her two best friends have already been sitting for some time; Claudia is discovering clothes and boys more and even gets herself a boyfriend for the summer; Finally, Stacey and her family pack up and leave NYC (and snobby, former BFFs) behind in exchange for a new life in idyllic Stoneybrook, Connecticut.

The Summer Before captures the same voice as the original Baby-Sitter's club novels.  It was great to revisit the characters and see how they become the young women they were during the series.  If you were a fan of the series, and I know there are a lot of you out there!, you must pick up this book and take a trip down memory lane.  I think it's a shame this series has fallen from popularity over time and not many girls are reading them anymore, so after you're done with your copy, see if you can find a little girl who loves reading and introduce her to this iconic series.

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