cover image The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

Kim Fu. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-09826-8

In the latest from Fu (For Today I Am a Boy), which reads like a collection of linked short stories, a summer-camp accident changes the lives of five girls, all between the ages of nine and 11. Nita, Andee, Isabel, Siobhan, and Dina arrive at Camp Forevermore in the Pacific Northwest for different reasons—entranced by brochures featuring girls with “bold smiles of uneven teeth and no-nonsense braids,” or eager to escape the strictures of their monotonous upbringings. At first occupied by swimming tests and self-conscious friendships, the campers soon embark on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island to become “capable, knowledgeable outdoorswomen.” When group leader Jan falls ill, the girls are forced to traverse the island’s dense woods seeking rescue, and must contend with the elements and one other. In sections that alternate between the events of the trip and the sweep of each character’s adult life, effects of the trauma linger; from Dina’s eating disorder and failed modeling career to Nita’s sublimated, near-rabid need for her son to Siobhan’s mistrust of children. Fu precisely renders the banal humiliations of childhood, the chilling steps humans take to survive, and the way time warps memory. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Feb.)