Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Reading on a Theme: Summer Camp

 I love a good summer camp setting. Campfires, hiking, bug spray and sunscreen, swimming in the late. Camp is such a great way to get into a summery mode. Here are five books that will take you to summer camp.

Camp Reynolds:
After taking a mail-in DNA test, Abby learns she has a full sister, Savannah, whom she's never met. Confused over why her parents never told her about her sister and feeling like a consolation prize, Abby doesn't tell them she's found out about Savvy or that she will be spending the whole summer with Savannah at camp. Suddenly having a sister doesn't mean that you suddenly have a new best friend, and clearly there's some backstory behind the sisters' parents. You Have a Match would make for a great summer read. Emma Lord doesn't take the easy way out with this story. Finding out you have a secret sibling makes for a rocky ride. Out January 12, 2021. Review copy from NetGalley. 
Bear Meadow Camp:
A Kasie West book set at summer camp! Count me in! Avery Young is headed for two months of family summer camp in the California mountains. Being off the grid makes it easy for Avery to avoid the drama she left behind at home, for better or worse. A series of events makes Avery realize that she needs to take more risks and that happens to include spending time with Brooks, the lead guitarist of the camp band. As a member of the staff, Brooks is strictly off limits, but as Avery sees Brooks reaching for his goals, it makes her want to face her fears too. Sunkissed is sweet and very cute. While it is a little predictable and requires a hefty suspension of disbelief, it is also the best kind of fun and fluffy summer romance. Out May 4, 2021. Review copy from NetGalley.  
Camp Daybreak:
Lucy has spent every summer at the church camp run by her father. but this summer is different. Her mother's cancer has returned, and Lucy's mom might not have much time left. Somehow Lucy's parents talk her into taking a job as a counselor at the summer camp on the other side of the lake. It's a camp for kids who have been through tough times, and Lucy feels a little out-of-her depth. What do you say to kids whose world is falling apart when your world is crumbling too? I found Lucy's struggle with her faith after finding out that her mom's cancer has returned to be so poignant and heartfelt. I've long been a big fan of Emery Lord, and The Names They Gave Us is my favorite of her books. 
Camp Blue Springs:
Sam is off to summer camp to be a counselor to a group of young girls. Her boyfriend, Eli, is headed to Europe, all summer, and at camp, Sam is undeniably drawn to Gavin. What I really liked about Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe is that it shows how you can be doing awesome in one aspect of your life (it was so gratifying to see Sam hit it out of the park with those campers) while simultaneously really flubbing up another aspect of it. It's not pretty, but it is very realistic. Sarah Mlynowski's book is definitely on the older side of YA. Sam has just finished her freshman year of college, and so this book is not appropriate for younger reader of YA. (CW: There is cheating here if that is a turn-off for you.)
Knights Day Camp:
On her first birthday Abbi Hope Goldstein became the face of 9/11 when she was captured in a famous photograph and dubbed Baby Hope. Fifteen years later, Abbi is looking for one summer of normal where she's not Baby Hope. Her solution is to become a camp counselor at a day camp two towns over. She won't find the anonymity she seeks, but she will find Noah Stern, who has his own reasons for obsessing over the Baby Hope photo. Hope and Other Punchlines is a beautiful, poignant, funny, and hopeful read. I absolutely loved the relationship between Abbi and Noah. Julie Buxbaum's books always perfectly balance serious subjects with a bit of lightheartedness and a whole lot of humanity. 

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