THE BEST WORST SUMMER, by Elizabeth Eulberg, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, May 4, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Two pairs of friends find themselves linked together across three decades in Elizabeth Eulberg’s The Best Worst Summer.
This is going to be the worst summer ever for Peyton. Her family just moved, and she had to leave her best friend behind. She’s lonely. She’s bored. Until . . . she comes across a box buried in her backyard, with a message: I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Things are about to get interesting.
Back in 1989, it’s going to be the best summer ever for Melissa and Jessica. They have two whole months to goof around and explore, and they’re even going to bury a time capsule! But when one girl’s family secret starts to unravel, it’s clear things may not go exactly as planned. —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
The Best Worst Summer is told in alternating chapters — Peyton in present day and Melissa in 1989. And because of this setup, Elizabeth Eulberg’s book is likely to have two sets of fans — middle readers and adults who grew up in the 80s.
I am one such adult. My childhood had no cell phones or social media. We didn’t get our first computer until I was 12. Summers were unprogrammed and unplanned. And children had a bit more freedom overall. I immediately connected with the fashion, music and feel of The Best Worst Summer. And I’m secretly glad for something to discuss with my daughter when she’s old enough to read it.
Similarly, Elizabeth does a fantastic job with present day societal norms. It, too, feels rich and authentic.
At the heart of The Best Worst Summer is a mystery. What happened to Melissa and Jessica? As the story unfolds, you find four characters who are unique and compelling in their own ways. Peyton and Lucas build a friendship while discovering how Mellissa and Jessica’s friendship dissolved. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition filled with connection, jealousy and heart.
The Best Worst Summer is a great summer choice. It’s a fairly fast read that should appeal to a wide selection of readers.
© 2021, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.