Julia has always loved spending time with her best friend Eliza. Technically, she and Eliza are aunt/niece (Eliza is the daughter of Julia's much older half-sister), but they've always been more like cousins. Now Julia's spending the summer with Eliza's family while her mother is serving in the National Guard in the Middle East. Things are about to get more complicated, though, because Julia can't stop thinking about a boy who's hanging around the resort where Eliza's father works. How will this change Julia and Eliza's relationship?
I love how Nora Raleigh Baskin plays with the idea of growing up. It's not so much a straight line of progression as it is a couple steps forward, a couple steps back, on and on until you're at a place where you can look back and recognize your childhood as something you're not in anymore. When's the last time you played with dolls? When's the last time you pretended to be an imaginary character? When you're doing it, do you know it's the last time? Do you know you're having the summer before boys until after, when you've had a summer with boys? Amplifying these themes are the questions of life, death, duty, and family that surround Julia as she's away from her father, living with her sister/aunt and niece/cousin, and dealing with her mother serving in the military.
I read an advance copy through the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin