Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
In this funny, big-hearted friendship story, perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Linda Urban, twelve-year-old Edie and her impossibly cool cousin, Rae, set out to complete a mysterious list of “Good Ideas for Summertime” that their eccentric late grandmother wrote back when she was their age.
But good ideas? Most of them seem like bad ideas. Reckless. Foolish. Ridiculous. Still, by accomplishing everything on the list, rule-abiding Edie feels certain that she can become the effortlessly brave adventurer she dreams of being, just like her daring cousin and bold grandmother. For this one summer at least, bad ideas are the best shot she has at becoming who she wants to be.
Bad Idea Number One: It’s time for a new set of rules.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. I voluntarily reviewed it.
I don’t often pick up Middle Grade books, but I do like to read them now and then. The pretty cover and interesting concept of this one caught my attention and I decided to give it a try. The Summer of Bad Ideas was a fun read. I quickly read through it and had a fun time reading this one. The story focuses on Edith, who feels boring and not so brave and she tries to change that by following a list of good ideas from her grandmother that they find. Which turns out to be more a list of bad ideas, hence the title.They never met their grandmother and now she’s dead and the family has to clean up her house, which means a summer spend in Florida.
I thought the concept of a list they follow was a fun set up for the book. Edith thinks the list will make her more brave and focuses strongly of trying to do all the things on the list. It’s more the road of trying to follow the list that changes her or maybe just everything that happens that summer. It was nice to see her change over the course of the book. Not everything goes according to plan, actually a lot goes wrong, but that’s part of the experience. I liked the random encounters with the town’s people they have and how they all knew their grandmother.
While there’s the list and Edith her friendship with her cousin, who is brave and fearless in her eyes, there are some other sub plot lines as well. There’s a strong focus on friendship, a bit of family thrown in and a bit about growing up and finding yourself. My favorite part of the book was actually getting to know Petunia, the grandmother. Even though she’s dead, them being in her house and around her things gives the reader a chance to get to know her. She seemed like a great person. I didn’t care as much for Rae, Edith’s cousin and Edith makes some valid points towards the end of the book that I agreed with. But I did get how Rae seemed like the brave type of person Edith wanted to be. I would’ve liked to get to know both cousins a bit better.
It’s been a long time since I was Edith’s age, which sometimes makes it a bit hard for me to fully get into Middle Grade books. It can be hard to relate to characters that are so much younger. Although in this case I was able to relate to Edith pretty well, some aspects of her reminded me of how I was at that age, but it mostly serves to remind me I am glad I am not that age anymore.
I did think the book was very well written, the first person point of view really worked here and the pace was well done. I also thought the characters were all very realistic. They all seemed pretty normal and how they acted felt very realistic for kids their age. The twins were a fun addition with how they sprouted trivia. Although at the same time it felt a tad overdone at times as all they do is state fact/ trivia and play intellectual games. Then again I am not really sure what’s normal for smart kids their age, so maybe that is.
To summarize: This was a fun read! I would recommend it to everyone looking for a fun Middle Grade book featuring a summer in Florida and a list. I liked the set-up for this book and the focus on the list. Although my favorite part was getting to know Petunia a bit, even though she wasn’t around anymore. It was written, the pace was well done and the characters all acted very realistically. I could relate a bit to Edith as I recognized a few characteristics of myself at that age, but mostly it was a reminder I am glad I am not that age anymore. All in all I am glad I gave this a try as it was a fun read.
You can also read my review on Goodreads