The Summer Before Boys
By Nora Raleigh Baskin
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2011. 196 pages. Realistic fiction.
The Summer Before Boys is about Julia and Eliza, who are relatives and best friends. Julia goes to stay with Eliza for the summer because her mother is serving as a nurse in Iraq. Eliza's family lives and works at a mountain resort, which provides for both scenery and adventure. Julia and Eliza love to play make-believe and dress up, but during this summer, Julia slowly slips away from being a little girl. As Julia is experiencing her first crush, and the grief of having a deployed mother, Eliza begins to feel increasingly distant from her best friend. Nora Raleigh Baskin has written a touching book about the sensitive period between childhood and adolescence. Girls of all ages will appreciate the acknowledgement of the subtle challenges of growing up.