There is nothing I love more than a book about camp. Seriously. As soon as I found out about Slept Away by Julie Kraut, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. Laney Parker is a true New Yorker who loves the city. She is trying to figure out how to spend her summer and is sure she can come up with a great plan. However, her mother and her mother's boyfriend have a different idea. They decide that Laney should experience a summer at camp, away from the city. They can't be serious, can they?
Yes, they can. Laney is in denial and believes that her mother will change her mind, but she ends up on a bus to camp with a duffel bag full of strange neon outfits (including culottes!) Laney finds herself spending the summer in a bunk with an endlessly cheerful counselor, Mandi, who is enthusiastic about "the rules," and three bunkmates (Hayden, Aiden, and Aidan) who decide immediately that they do not like her. She is thrust into activities that are far out of her comfort zone and cut off from her ever-present forms of electronic communication. Her only hope is Sylvie, the final camper in her bunk. Although Sylvie appears awkward at first, this may be a chance for Laney to get past appearances and see what lies underneath the exterior. Laney also finds that Ryan, one of the outsiders from home, is popular and sought-after at camp, another revelation which may just change how Laney views the world.
I found myself laughing out loud at several points throughout this book. Kraut's snarky sense of humor is very similar to mine and I frequently said to myself, "Oh, yeah, that's so the camp experience." Slept Away, which will be released on May 26, 2009, is a must-read for campers, former campers, and wannabes alike.
ps I owe Julie Kraut a s'more--how do you mail one? Also, her blog is very interesting--she has recently spent time working at an orphanage in Africa and has written about the experience. Enjoy!