Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
Posted by Caitie F on April 2, 2014
Summary from pub:
Seventeen-year-old Cricket Montgomery was born with a silver spoon in her mouth (though Tiffany Platinum would have been preferred). So when her father rips her from her cashmere comfort zone and ships her off to work at a rural Michigan summer camp, she is less than thrilled. Adding to her horror is the arrival of two short buses and the realization that she will be a counselor to teens with special needs.
What puzzles Cricket more than just a world without Vuitton bags and four-star dining, is why these “strange-faced” kids are so happy, despite their obvious differences. But between being force fed a hearty dose of reality (by a very cute co-counselor) and organizing the end-of-summer talent show, Cricket might be able to survive this summer one wheelchair spoke at a time.
When everyone talks about needing more diversity in YA, I always agree. I really think there need to be more books with young adults with disabilities, when the disability isn’t all the character is. So when I saw what this book was about, I knew I had to read it.
At the beginning, this book is very VERY hard to read. Cricket is not a good person. She is nasty and says incredibly offensive things about the campers. I was so uncomfortable reading it, but I knew that it was set up. It also was how a lot of teens actually feel, which is a problem. While her life has been financially easy, it has not been easy in every way, she lost her mom early and it has been hard on her and explains a lot.
I don’t know if I ever grew to love her, but I thought she was a very realistic character. She didn’t change instantly, but she did so realistically. The kids at the camp were amazing. The kids at the camp were normal teenagers. They had crushes, they made jokes, and they had so much more going on than just their disability. They were so well-rounded and developed.
The other counselors were an eclectic group, but I loved how they stood up to Cricket’s horrible comments, but were still understanding and patient with her. People don’t change their preconceived notions right away, and these characters had way more patience than I ever would have, but they are the kind of people who can help change opinions.
It was a good step in adding some diversity into the YA market and I hope more people read it. I would love to see a book with one of the campers as the main character.