The Summer Before

Baby-Sitters Club fans were recently in for a treat: Ann M. Martin brought back the four original founding sitters and wrote them into a long-awaited prequel. Fans could feel the nostalgia radiating from the pages; it was as if a reader never grew up and left the series.

Feeling like a visit from old childhood friends whom were first introduced back in August 1986, Martin writes twelve-year-old Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacy just as they were : sans, I-pods, cell-phones, and Justin Beiber, Martin’s book takes the reader to the summer before Kristy had her infamous great idea to start a Baby-Sitters Club.

Kristy’s has to baby-sit younger brother David Michael constantly, as do her older brothers Sam and Charlie. When life happens however, their single mom realizes that her older kids have extracurricular activities and cannot always be relied on. Kristy then has the idea to gather her friends to start a club where many sitters can be reach at once at a certain time.

Before the idea, Martin brilliantly gives the reader insight into the characters’ lives and why the club is a necessity-not just for the after school money, but for friendship as well. Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different original BSC member. As the book progresses, readers learn:

Kristy’s single mom is now dating a rich man, and does not want her father (whom abandoned her and forgot her birthday) replaced because she still cares about him.

Mary Anne’s single dad is overly strict and does not allow her to dress her way, nor go off on her own while he is out. Although she is responsible, she is nonetheless limited in her ways. She wants to babysit like her best friend Kristy, but her dad won’t give her a chance.

Claudia the artist and non intellect of her Japanese-American family is ‘maturing’ faster than her two pals. She gets her first boyfriend and her friends take a back seat in her life. This causes quite a few issues between family and friends.

Stacey (-unknown to the others until the very end,) is in NY as the others are living in Conn. She is diabetic, and cannot wait to start anew since she has had embarrassing mishaps with her disease (i.e fainting in class and wetting the bed at a sleepover). She yearns for a change, yet she is uncertain that she would be comfortable in her new small town of Stonybrook.

The summer before the series captures all of the tween drama that has captivated the four future members of the BSC. Martin introduces us to the girls with a notion that none of them are perfect, and none of them are the same.

In the end, their differences are what bring them together.

The theme of friendship is apparent throughout the novel, as well as the celebrated series, resulting in a must-read for all fans, and those who wish to read the BSC for the first time.

About Maria Sica 52 Articles
Maria Sica teaches Middle School English, tutors college students, and has recently completed her Master’s Degree in English Education at Brooklyn College. She loves keeping busy, yet does not mind the occasional moments when she can catch up with a good book wrapped in a fleece blanket, and drinking a cup of tea (which may sound boring to her friends and boyfriend, but she doesn’t care). She has always loved to read and write at an early age. She will be the first to admit that she is a nerd-and loves anything sci-fi such as the X-files. She is also a fan of Harry Potter and Spongebob Squarepants, and counts them as her favorite Heros next to Wonder Woman and Marty McFly. However, unlike most nerds, she can’t do math if her life, or yours, depended on it.

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