Camp Outlook

Brenda Baker. Second Story, $11.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-927583-35-7
This first novel by children's music performer Baker takes on faith, doubt, and normalcy. Seventh grader Shannon, her mom, and dad used to be a "normal" family. Now Shannon's parents are packing her off to church camp—and Shannon has decided she is an atheist. Why? Because her parents wanted a sibling for Shannon for so long, her mother had fertility treatments and suffered miscarriages, and finally there's a baby—but he's not a normal, healthy baby. He has Down syndrome. God has not answered her prayers. Her parents are overwhelmed. Now Shannon's afraid her peers will ostracize her just like they do Paul Kordinski, who has a brother in a wheelchair. Told in the first person in a conversational, if sometimes clunky style, the writing reflects Shannon's spunk and humor. For example, her underarms are "supremely itchy" around a cute counselor. Despite her atheism, at camp Shannon has several "bizarre" (her word) mystical experiences involving the special needs campers. A believable and relatable portrayal of an adolescent girl struggling with a new normal. Ages 9-13. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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