Girls, go ahead and enjoy this book. Parents, you don’t have to read it. Let the girls have some fun. And this is one new author they must try out.
Twelve-year-old Kelly Hedges thinks it is going to be one of the worst summer holidays she’s ever had after agreeing to go to Pine Haven, a summer camp for girls. Built in 1921, the rustic cabins, bunks and makeshift bathrooms make Kelly wonder if she did the right thing.
Things get better after the first week—the only thing making her endure Pine Haven is the thought of her best friend enjoying the beaches of Hawaii. Soon she gets into the groove of camp life, makes friends and has a good time, especially with the “Evil Twins”, Rebecca and Jennifer, who have been to Pine Haven before. In between, there is a trip to Camp Crockett (for boys) for a dance—the kind of freedom each of them has dreamed of, often.
Summer Camp Secrets: Pranked:By Katy Grant,Aladdin, 218 pages, Rs160
The “twins”—nicknamed so because of the pranks they play—rope in Kelly as their third partner. As days pass, their pranks start, one after the other—the main target being Melissa, a quiet, reclusive girl whom nobody seems to like. Melissa is their target for short-sheeting (where the bed sheets are disarranged just so much that the sleeper can’t cover herself properly, especially after the lights go out) and other assorted mischief. They run off with her towel while Melissa is bathing and hang up her underwear on a pole right in the middle of the camp area and even send a letter in her name to Dustin, her dance partner at Crockett.
Relations deteriorate to a point of almost no-return and things get out of control when Melissa loses her bracelet and suspects the three girls. Later, she discovers that the girls had written a mushy letter to Dustin using her stationery.
Kelly, who can’t take it any more, confesses and suddenly finds herself friendless with weeks to go before Pine Haven winds up. Can she do something to get back on their wavelength? Will her friends accept her back?
The author wrote the first of the Summer Camp books eight many years ago. But it was published only in 2006.
Summer Camp Secrets is actually a trilogy—the other two being Acting Out and Friends ForNever. Grant acknowledges the contribution of Jen Klonsky, one of the editors at Simon and Schuster, the publisher, who first read the manuscript in 2000 and asked her if she would be interested in writing a trilogy. Though nothing came of that first interaction, it was her agent, Erin Murphy, who stayed in touch with the publishers for six long years and finally got it published.
Grant should know about camp life. The college teacher, who takes classes in writing and children’s literature, spent five summers at a girls’ camp in North Carolina, US. And North Carolina is the setting for Camp Pine Haven.
Following the new trend, this book, which hit bookstores in April, has a sneak preview of Acting Out, which came out in May. Friends ForNever is slated for a June release.
The writer is the editor of Heek, a children’s magazine.
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