Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Summary: Samantha is not excited to be starting her summer taking a road trip with her grandmother, Gram’s friend Mimi, and Mimi’s grandson Brandon. Coming off of a tough sixth grade year, Sam is intimidated by Brandon’s coolness and certain that he finds her a complete dork. Sam’s high-powered mother is concerned about the newly-widowed Gram, but when they visit her in Florida, they discover she’s trying all kinds of new things, including competing in a karaoke contest. Mom gets called home for business, leaving Sam to watch over Gram and keep a record of the trip in her new journal. The four have a series of mishaps, including getting stuck in a ditch on a remote back road, being forced to sleep in a leaky cabin in a rainstorm, and trips to both urgent care and the emergency room. But when the trip ends, Sam has made some interesting discoveries about herself that may help her in seventh grade and decides she wouldn’t have traded the trip for anything. 304 pages; grades 3-7.
Pros: This will definitely get on my “recommendations for summer reading” list. Why not? It takes place over summer vacation, it’s about a road trip, it’s written in a fun-to-read journal format, and it has a hint of romance with nothing objectionable for readers as young as 8 or 9.
Cons: Gram and Mimi checked all the boxes for stereotypical Florida Golden Girl retirees.