cover image Wish You Weren’t Here

Wish You Weren’t Here

Erin Baldwin. Viking, $19.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-5936-2269-8

High school junior Juliette Barrera-Wright is eager to begin her summer camp counselor duties at Fogridge Sleepaway Camp, which, as one of seven children, is the only place she feels seen. She’s also ready for a break from social media star and class frenemy Priya Pendley, but she’s shocked to learn that Priya is attending Fogridge as well. Worse, Priya is assigned as her roommate and mentee. Juliette’s friends take to Priya immediately, prompting self-conscious feelings that worsen when a fellow counselor labels Juliette a “brat” for arguing about her activities schedule. Despite their differences, Priya readily assists Juliette after she hurts her ankle and even encourages her to try new things, such as auditioning for the camp musical. As the girls grow closer, Juliette realizes she doesn’t hate Priya after all. She might even like her—as more than a friend. Baldwin unspools an organic enemies-to-lovers summer camp romp via Juliette’s introspective and bitingly humorous first-person POV. While lengthy descriptions of Fogridge traditions, games, and lore occasionally feel extraneous, the silliness of such customs and the many intersectionally diverse characters who take part in them energize this charming debut that gives way to electric romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lauren Spieller, Folio Literary. (June)