Summary: Best Friends, Bikinis, and Other Summer Catastrophes
In Best Friends, Bikinis, and Other Summer Catastrophes, Alex is looking forward to spending the summer (as she’s always done) with her best friend, Will. Will’s mother runs the concession stand at their community pool, and both kids have spent several summers playing games at the pool. This summer, though, a schoolmate named Rebekah has eyes for Will — and him for her! As Rebekah and Will begin a tentative crush-friendship, Alex feels threatened and ropes Will into a big summer project (building their treehouse), for which they’ll need several summer jobs to afford building supplies. Surprisingly to Alex, Rebekah also wants to be her friend too. Can Alex get over her jealousy and other issues in her life to figure out this summer friendship drama?
I LOVED this book! The story was so engaging, I inhaled it in one sitting. Alex is the quintessential middle schooler figuring out her emotions and insecurities. Which girl never felt insecure about how beautiful or appealing another girl seemed to be. Alex is not fussy about her appearance but starts to rethink after observing Rebecca (who already wears a two-piece swimsuit!). Spoiler: Alex does not have feelings for Will, but he’s her only real friend, so she’s naturally concerned about a third person upsetting their dynamic.
My favorite thing about this book is the surprising turn of events (can’t say much else!) in the friendship dynamic between the three kids. This book will take you back to life as a tween and the author does a phenomenal job at depicting the ache of feeling left out, testing new friendship waters, and grasping for more independence.
Another appealing thing about this book was the warm family dynamics all around. Alex’s mom is a therapist who works from home, while her dad is a carpenter (or some kind of construction person) who helps the kids out with their treehouse. She has three brothers and babysits the two younger ones often. She even takes a babysitting class later in the story. There’s also a very moving subplot of a grandparent moving forward with a new partner after the death of his wife.
Overall: Best Friends, Bikinis, and Other Summer Catastrophes
Best Friends, Bikinis, and Other Summer Catastrophes is a terrific summery middle grade book about evolving friendships, growing up, and adjusting to changes. This is one of my favorite books this year and one of the rare ones I wish I could experience for the first time again since I’m not so big on re-reading. It features everything from tween crushes, grandparent bonding, summer jobs, and fun sibling relationships. Highly, highly recommend!