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The Summer Before

by Ann M. Martin

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-16093-3
Publisher: Scholastic

The Baby-Sitters Club returns! Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey take turns describing the summer after sixth grade, before their club began. Kristy’s mother’s dates with Watson become more frequent, Mary Anne chafes at father’s rules, Claudia gets a boyfriend and Stacey moves from New York to Stoneybrook. This prequel is smoothly integrated with the familiar series; the first three have been lightly brought up-to-date and will be reissued for a new generation of readers. During the summer Kristy deludes herself that her absentee father will take note of her 12th birthday; Mary Anne struggles to get permission to babysit on her own; Stacey describes how her best friend turned on her, after she developed diabetes; Claudia’s focus on Frankie, a rising ninth grader whose usual friends are out of town, sets her at odds with old friends and even her sister. These family and friendship issues will be familiar to today’s middle-grade girls, who will identify with at least one of the characters as closely as their mothers did. Book candy at its best. (Fiction. 8-12)