Crandell, Bethany Summer on the Short Bus, 245 p. Running Press, 2014. $10. Language: R ( almost 300 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: G.
Spoiled princess Cricket, 17, has angered her absentee father one too many times, so now she has to pay - instead of going to Maui for the summer with her best friend, she is shipped off to summer camp - not as a camper, but as a leader. And this camp is not for just any kids, but for special needs kids - gross! Cricket’s inability to relate to anyone not like her and her party girl behavior make for a very rocky start. But she has nowhere else to go and no way to escape any way and the two girls she is leading are kind of getting under her skin in a good way. And it doesn’t hurt that there is a handsome boy as a possible love interest. Just as Cricket is starting to settle in, she may be ripped away.
Besides wading through the enormous amount of swearing, I enjoyed the characters and the story. and don’t give me any crap about the language being “authentic” - I consider that a cop out for using swearing as a crutch. Too bad, really, because Crandell skillfully addresses a callous girl’s reaction to and growth from interacting with differently-abled teens. If you want a better book that addresses a spoiled rich girl learning getting her well-deserved lessons in a realistic way, try 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody. It doesn’t address the differently-ableness of this title, but at least you won’t feel like you need to wash your eyes out afterwards.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS.