Saturday, May 28, 2022

Alexis vs. Summer Vacation

Sarah Jamila Stevenson and, Agarwal, Veronica. Alexis vs. Summer Vacation 
June 18th 2019 by Avenue A Books
Library copy

During the summer following her parents' divorce, rising high school freshman Addie finds her days consumed with watching much younger young siblings Austin and Addie. At least she gets to take them to the pool most days, where she makes friends with Luke, who is in the life guard training program, and Jason, who helps his father run the Pool Noodle food truck often parked outside. They have a lot of interests, from a Dungeons and Dragons type game to reading graphic novels. Jason is having a hard time with two boys who frequently come to the food truck, Max and Ryan, who constantly come right up to the line of bullying. His father won't step in and lose a customer, but it bothers Jason. Luke has issues with his "perfect" older brother, and Alexis has a crush on Haley, but hasn't figured out if she really likes girls, and certainly hasn't told her best friend or parents about it. There are small issues involving the care of her siblings, as well as her chafing at the expectations of her parents, who are both struggling to adjust to the new reality as well. When she and her new friends play their game, she encourages them to "level up" in real life as well, and Jason and Luke try to make changes in how they act in situations that bother them. They eventually challenge Alexis to do the same and talk to Haley. The two become friends, after some awkward moments, and while Alexis isn't sure if Haley likes her in the same way, she has at least talked to her crush and told those close to her about her feelings. 
Strengths: This reminded me a bit of Sunny Makes a Splash, in the best possible way! The only pool where I grew up was a country club, so I was never able to spend summers hanging out there, but my community now has TWO public pools that were within walking distance for my children, and they spent a whole lot of time there. That little bit of freedom is so appealing to tweens, and I even loved that Alexis had to babysit her siblings-- that goes on a lot, and when I was 12, I babysat a four and six year old from 5:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. five days a week! Of course, I didn't have friends to hang out with while doing this. My students are going to absolutely adore this. LGBTQIA+ books have become increasingly popular since the pandemic, and the illustration style is fantastic. Great summer colors. 
Weaknesses: Given the mother's business suit and the style of Alexis' kitchen, I thought for a moment that this was set in the 1980s. Then a cell phone appeared, and I was personally a little disappointed, but modern children will not be. 
What I really think: Glad I purchased this. It was a bit hard to get ahold of, although I will definitely be investigating other titles by Avenue A Books. I wish that Follett made this available in a prebind, but even PermaBound only has the paperback. 


  1. So, I don't know if this will work through Follett, buuuuut, I discovered that if something is available in paperback you can REQUEST it in a prebind! I use Baker and Taylor and they were sold by Follett, but before they were I was told that Follett would do it too...