Let’s go to summer camp with this triple feature!
My first special attraction was Camp Sylvania by Julie Murphy. It’s finally summer and Magnolia “Maggie” Hagen is eager to go to the Camp Rising Star with her best friend Nora. Instead, her parents send her off to Camp Sylvania under the guise of her “becoming well” aka weight loss camp, a camp her own mother attended as a girl. There are weigh-ins, weird diets, and of course workouts, but this camp goes beyond bizarre with an odd demand for campers to donate blood. Maggie easily befriends her bunkmates, Kit and Evelyn, finds a mentor in Captain B, and has a sweet romance with Logan, who joins her in the camp production of The Music Man. Slowly, Maggie and her friends unravel the unusual happenings at the camp and come together to mount a plan of attack. Julie Murphy gives us a classic tale of camp, blending in a hint of the supernatural, with a coy nod to the vampirism of the “wellness industry.”
My second feature is Give me a Sign by Anna Sortino. Lilah hears partially and wears hearing aids, but lives in a hearing world. You learn through her first-person account how she has to navigate this reality, while at the same time accept her Deaf identity. An opportunity opens up for her at a Camp Gray Wolf, a summer camp for hard of hearing, deaf and visually impaired children. Sortino gives Lilah a place where she can feel completely at ease with all the fun summer camp can bring – games, talent shows, swimming at the lake and summer love. A fantastic first-person perspective gives readers a true understanding of how we can “walk in another person’s shoes.”
My third offering is a backlist title from Paula Danzinger There’s a Bat in Bunk Five bringing back beloved Marcy from The Cat Ate my Gymsuit. Marcy gets an invite to be a counselor-in-training at Camp Serendipity, an arts camp with her mentor Ms. Finney. She learns that imperfection is normal (nothing at camp is perfect) and blossoms in her new role, slowly letting go of her insecurities. Camp has talent shows, first loves, challenging kids and a bat – in bunk five.