Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell. Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there's life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she's ever had."Cricket Montgomery is a very privileged seventeen year old. Her father pretty much caters to her every whim and her summer is shaping up to be a memorable one. She is planning on vacationing on Maui with her best friend. That is until she gets caught throwing a party and her dad has had it with her. Instead of Maui, he is sending her to "Camp I Can" for two weeks and she'll work there as a counselor. "Camp I Can" isn't just any camp; it's a camp for teenagers with special needs and Cricket has little to no experience nor compassion for people with disabilities. Her father is hoping that these two weeks will teach her a lesson and thankfully, Cricket does learn a lesson and one that she'll never forget. Bethany Crandell's debut novel, Summer on the Short Bus, is a hilarious and quick read which focuses on important lessons, such as compassion, empathy and letting prejudices go.
Cricket Montgomery is the quintessential spoiled rich girl who cares for no one other than herself in Summer on the Short Bus. I pretty much loathed her right from the start. So many of her comments about the teenagers with special needs were extremely abrasive and politically incorrect. I cringed when I heard her refer to them as a "bunch of retards" and other upsetting comments about their appearances. So, needless to say, for about three fourths of the book, I really couldn't stand Cricket. As she learns (more about herself and her family) and grows to accept all types of people, she becomes much more tolerable, thanks to a fellow camp counselor, Quinn.
Quinn is Cricket's love interest in Summer on the Short Bus. He's pretty much Zac Efron's doppelgänger and thanks to his charming personality and good looks, he helps Cricket deal with her prejudices. Essentially, he helps her to stay at camp instead of running away the moment she could get in contact with her dad. I liked Quinn…what's not to like? He's a good guy, but I didn't necessarily approve of their romance as I felt it happened fairly quickly. I mean Cricket is sort of abysmal and I think that it would take more time than one week for someone as goodnatured as Quinn to really like her.
I do like the message in Summer on the Short Bus. Yes, Crandell makes many politically incorrect statements in the book that others may frown upon, but this is life isn't it? People can be mean, rude and brutally honest. Ulimately, I think Crandell does portray reality accurately as well as the honest truth regarding how some people behave around special needs individuals. Readers are reminded about kindness and acceptance when we read this novel and I liked that.
So, if you are looking for a read that will most definitely make you laugh out loud this summer and has a lot of heart, check out Summer on the Short Bus.