The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before
The summer before there were four girls: Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, each individuals with their own interests, families, and even at times their own problems. Kristy is busy struggling to deal with the loss of her father and addition of her mother’s boyfriend and children to her family. The always-shy Mary Anne is trying desperately to show her own overly protective father that she’s growing up and not a baby anymore. And the new girl Stacey is moving away from the only home she has ever known in New York City to Stoneybrook, Connecticut, after a diagnosis of diabetes, which has up until this point—in her view—ruined her life and friendships. While Claudia has moved ahead of them all in her modern interests in fashion, art, and even boys, she must navigate her first crush—who just happens to be the boy her sister also has a crush on. What are the girls to do as summer takes them on a wild ride?
This was the summer before seventh grade and most importantly the summer before the creation of “The Baby-Sitter’s Club,” the club that made them not just more grown up, but also made them grow together. Before they were four separate girls, but after it made them inseparable; it made them best friends. It was also a club that, through books of the same name, created a place for a generation of girls to grow together, to feel like they, too, belonged, and to learn the love of reading. Now the beloved series is back for the next generation.
In the prequel to what has become one of the most beloved and successful series of all time, Ann M. Martin has once again given girls a voice they can relate to as they travel the journey to their teen years. Re-awakening this bestselling series by telling what truly brought the girls together before they became the famous “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” is a the ideal beginning to updating the series for a new generation.
Wonderfully told and as always perfectly written for its intended audience, Ann M. Martin has once again worked her magic. Characters that ring of authenticity, who go through the pangs of youth while learning the miracle about who one is as a person are features that have made this series legendary. The Summer Before is the perfect beginning for the journey to start again.
Reviewer Courtney Webb is a former librarian and reviewer for Charlotte Mecklenburg County Public Library Reader’s Club.