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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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. In alternating chapters, from Peyton in present day to Melissa three decades earlier (a time with no cell phones, no social media, and camera film that took days to develop, but also a whole lot of freedom), beloved author Elizabeth Eulberg tells the story of a mystery that two sets of memorable characters will never forget.…

The Best Worst Summer

by Elizabeth Eulberg

Overall Book Review:

Time capsules were a big thing in the ’80s and The Best Worst Summer reminds us of that as BFFs Melissa and Jessica begin their summer creating one. Jump forward three decades to Peyton, who’s devastated to have moved away from her best friend at the beginning of the summer. Things start to look up for Peyton as she finds the capsule that Jessica and Melissa made.

This is a book about friendship and forgiveness and helps readers understand that when situations change, such as friends moving away from each other, adapting can help relationships continue and grow. It also teaches us the very important lesson of not giving up on friends and remembering that things aren’t always as they seem. One of the best parts of the book is when a character decides to stand up to a bully after a friend is being treated poorly. In addition to teaching some valuable lessons, you’ll love the relatable characters who will likely remind readers of themselves or their friends. We also get to enjoy a little mystery as Peyton tries to decode some of the items found in the capsule. There’s like, totally rad ’80s references to the max that will be fun for kids to be introduced to, for sure. If you enjoy these references don’t skip the acknowledgements. There’s so much to love about this novel and it will be enjoyed by both male and female middle grade audiences who like reading a relatable story that could happen to them.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation.

Content Analysis:

Violence/Gore:  Few (3) brief incidents including a reference to dead pets and rabies; second-hand report of pet dying; implied spousal abuse.

Sex/Nudity:  Several (13) brief incidents mostly involving tweens including girls talking about liking boys; girls making reference to their future husbands; second-hand report of husband wooing wife; teens flirting; talking about teens dating; reference to girls having crushes; picture of girl kissing picture of boy and other girl staring at picture of boy; husband kissing wife’s cheek; character thinking her mom is pregnant; homosexual couple.

Mature Subject Matter:

Implied spousal abuse; racism; divorce; reference to drunk driver; homosexual characters. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Reference to drunk driver; adult smells of cigarette smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I love being able to help busy parents who just don’t have the time to pre-screen all their children’s books and know how much I appreciate it as my sons have gotten older. I feel very blessed that my amazing husband makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mother to four amazing boys. When not reading or enjoying time with my family, I like baking, especially trying new recipes, and the occasional sewing project.