cover image Sleepaway Girls

Sleepaway Girls

Jen Calonita, . . Little, Brown, $16.99 (297pp) ISBN 978-0-316-01717-6

This novel set at a summer camp offers much of what one might expect: crushes on older counselors, cabin-mate rivalries, late-night sneak-outs and lots of bonding between campers. Counselor-in-training Sam is at a disadvantage when she first arrives at Whispering Pines in the Catskills. Unlike the other CITs, she is unfamiliar with her surroundings, having never attended a camp. Despite her rookie status, she proves to be a natural leader, but her pride in doing her job well is undermined by catty remarks from fellow CIT Ashley. Fortunately, Sam is able to form friendships with other girls, who soothe her sagging spirit and help her sort out her feelings for two boys, Hunter (“Mr. Ab-solutely perfect”) and easy-to-be-with Cole. While Calonita (the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series) is well versed in camp routines and dynamics, some of the escapades—like a gigantic food fight Sam has with her rival—come off as a little cheesy, and some minor characters—especially Ashley and Hunter—appear manufactured. Nonetheless, Sam emerges as a likable, realistically flawed heroine, who proves that good girls can come out on top. Ages 12–up. (May)