One of the first authors I ever worked with when I launched Novel Novice almost eleven years ago was Elizabeth Eulberg. She was a debut author, launching her first book at the time. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed working with Elizabeth on many of her subsequent books — and today, I have the pleasure of revealing the cover for her newest middle grade book, The Best Worst Summer, coming in May from Bloomsbury.
The story follows two girls, over two summers, decades apart. Check out the gorgeous cover below, along with the official synopsis, and check out our short interview with Elizabeth about the book, the beautiful cover, and life in the 1980s.
The Best Worst Summer (May 4, 2021) is a new middle grade story about two summers – three decades apart – and the box of secrets linking them together. In the present day Peyton is having the worst summer. Her family just moved, and she had to leave everyone behind. She’s lonely. She’s bored. Until . . . she comes across a box buried in her backyard, with a message: “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”
Back in 1989, it’s going to be the best summer ever for Melissa and Jessica. They have two whole months to goof around and explore. They’re even going to bury a time capsule! But when one girl’s family secret starts to unravel, everything gets complicated. Told in alternating chapters between past and present (with great throwbacks that both parents and young readers will enjoy – camera’s had film? No social media??), The Best Worst Summer is a story of a summer that two sets of memorable characters will never forget.
It was love at first sight! I had seen lots of sketches, but the artist Dana SanMar uses cut paper to create the cover (how cool is that?) so I wasn’t sure how the final product would look. The second I opened up, I just loved it. She brought the characters that were in my head to life and I actually hugged my computer. So please, please judge my book by this cover!
What inspired you to tell a story set in two different decades?
I always love stories that are told in different ways. I had read two books in a row–The Muse by Jessie Burton and Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes–that just happened to both be about a painting that took place in one timeline where someone is looking at the painting and then when the painting was created. What are the odds? I really enjoyed both, so I was wondering if I could do something like that for a middle-grade audience. I decided a time capsule would be fun to do and set it in a time where I could do some reminiscing myself!
What throwback detail from 1989 do you think will most surprise today’s middle grade readers?
When I do school visits, I always talk about the fact that the internet didn’t exist when I was in elementary school. They’re always so shocked! “What? How old are you?” I think the lack of technology will be surprising, but also the amount of freedom we had. I had lots of conversations with friends about life then vs now for kids, and we all joke that we were treated like feral cats when we were young. You get sent outside and not expected to come home until dinner!