A & L Do Summer (review)
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Reviewed by
Jan, Blazanin. A & L Do Summer. Egmont, 2011. [288p]. Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-60684-191-4 $8.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-60684-243-0 $8.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-10.

Newcomer Laurel is determined to get herself and her best friend, Aspen, on their rural Iowa school’s social radar, so she devises a prank and posts her plans on Facebook. Level-headed Aspen, the narrator, talks her out of its execution, but too late—a trio of bullies the girls call Buttferk have picked up the plan and acted on it. Realizing that they are the ones who will be blamed, A & L have to figure out a way to get three rather large pigs (and any evidence they leave behind) out of their high school in the middle of the night. Thus their summer begins. The girls try working fast food, going to parties, and rescuing a doomed chicken (Laurel works at a chicken farm), all of which end in disaster and punishment. Laurel is the instigator, with Aspen tagging along to try to keep her friend from getting into more trouble than she can handle, but with Buttferk dogging their steps and threatening them with retribution if they tell, they always seem to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, ending up deeper and deeper in trouble with both the law and their parents. When Buttferk takes things too far, however, the girls end up heroes, with the help of Aspen’s brother and his cute friend (who always seems to catch Aspen at her worst). As far as character development goes, this reads almost like a sequel, jumping into the middle of Aspen’s family life and her lopsided relationship with Laurel without providing much context; however, it’s clear early on where everyone fits in the grand scheme of things, and the book is so plot- and antic-driven that character becomes a secondary concern. For readers looking for some light-hearted, decidedly farm-scented summer fun, this fills the bill quite nicely. [End Page 509]

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