Author: Bethany Crandell
Publication: April 1st, 2014, Running Press Teens
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Source: A Christmas Gift from Bethany Crandell! (Thank you Manager!)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnesand Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Bookstore / Fully Booked (PH)
Cricket Montgomery has been thrown under the short bus. Shipped off to a summer camp by her father, Cricket is forced to play babysitter to a bunch of whiny kids—or so she thinks. When she realizes this camp is actually for teens with special needs, Cricket doubts she has what it takes to endure twenty-four hours, let alone two weeks. Thanks to her dangerously cute co-counselor, Quinn, there may be a slim chance for survival. However, between the campers’ unpredictability and disregard for personal space, Cricket’s limits get pushed. She will have to decide if suffering through her own handicapped hell is worth a summer romance—and losing her sanity.
Trying to change for the better seems to be a challenge for most people because they think it might break a ritual, a sense of self or a characteristic they hold. For the protagonist of Bethany Crandell's Summer On The Short Bus, Cricket, it holds very true.
So, take the rich, spoiled girl, Cricket Montgomery and toss her into a summer camp full of teenagers with special needs, along with the mysterious head of the camp, a chef who is head over heels for Madonna, a doctor with a fascination for Bieber/Edward Cullen band-aids and a group of counselors, Fantine, Colin and the ever irresistible Quinn and toss them together to form an unlikely group of people stuck together for two weeks, and Cricket is the only one who has to adjust.
Summer On The Short Bus was a light read for me, though it took my concentration to actually finish it (reading slump). It's full of fun characters with different views on life, and a heart to it that truly captures an essence of how a person can actually go towards making him/herself better.
I have a love/hate relationship with Cricket. She's adorable and feisty yet her dense, rich girl self just blows on me like a pile of rotten eggs. She's not the type of character you'd want to live with while she's on her diva mode, but she truly has a heart of gold and the effort to try to be a better person along her time at Camp I Can. What I also truly liked about her characterization, is that even if she is in fact a true brat, she is honest and in situations, kind and caring. I think the lack of fatherly love (as well as motherly) could be rooted to her behavior. Thank goodness for Carolyn though.
So this is where my argument sort of comes into play. I just did not like Quinn/Zac Efron look-alike as much as I would've wanted to. I know he's sweet, charming and kind to everyone and of course, he's not perfect because he pointed it out himself, and talked about his difficult parents, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around him. Then came Aidan and ASDFGHJKL my mind was on fire. He's a cute guy on a wheelchair. Adorable. But he's also very insightful and seems really mature for his age. He's also not one to back out from fun. But, Cricket and Quinn happened, so there. The only thing I have to say about their relationship is, well, good luck. HAHAHA! As for me, I'll have Aidan for myself. DIBS, BETHANY! DIBS!
The other characters in the book are given quite helpful roles and you might think they'll be shoved on the sidelines but they seem to be far more present than I expected. And those special needs kids! UGH!!! Adorable! Meredith made me happy, Claire a little annoyed at first but she was adorable.
I think what's also special about Summer on The Short Bus is that it gives us a look of how special needs kids can also have fun and that they are fun to be around and that they are also normal people who shouldn't be shun out from society. I did find myself a little reluctant at first to be around some special needs kids when I got the chance, but like 15 minutes later and we're like the bestest friends! They are fun though they have their issues. They seem to creep at you at times but they are actually the sweetest things ever!!!
Bethany Crandell knows how to mix humor and that pinch of needed family drama with her novel. Though there's so much more that could be spliced in the story and added more depth to some characters, for a light and fun-filled read, it's just right. It's like having tea or coffee in your porch and snorting a bit of it coz you thought of a fun memory.
Bethany and her husband Terry live in San Diego with their two daughters and a chocolate Labrador who has no consideration for personal space. She writes Young Adult novels because the feelings that come with life’s ‘first’ times are too good not to relive again and again. Bethany eats too much guacamole, thrives on tear-inducing laughter, and is still waiting for Jake Ryan to show up at her door.