It’s easy to say that summer camp is cool again, but it’s always been cool, even as the weather heats up. Kids get to spread their wings, make friends, redefine themselves, maybe even discover themselves for the first time. With the success of “Moonrise Kingdom” and a new collection of camp letters, we thought it time to showcase a few books that revolve around sleepaway camp. Climb into your bunk and give these a read.
“P.S. I Still Hate It Here: More Kids’ Letters from Camp”
By Diane Falanga
Whether or not you went to camp, you’ll appreciate this hilarious and charming collection of real letters written—yes, handwritten!—by campers to their parents. “Hi, I’m stuck in hell and they won’t let me call for you to pick me up so when you get this pick me up.” How can you resist that? Simply put, you can’t. So pick up this book and relive your own memories or be won over by the wit and wisdom of not-so-happy campers.
“The Lost Code”
By Kevin Emerson
(Katherine Tegen Books)
If you’re looking around for your next dystopian young adult book, the search is over. “The Lost Code,” the first in the Atlanteans trilogy, centers around Owen, an awkward teen who wins a lottery to attend a camp that’s protected by a dome after the ozone has been trashed and the earth scorched. While there, Owen drowns and in the process discovers girls, as well as some special powers and a link to the lost world of Atlantis. Emerson, also a kindie rocker and former science teacher, creates a believably scary but magical camp adventure that will keep teens turning the page and eager for the next book in the Atlanteans saga.
“Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp”
By Stephanie Klein
“No one likes fat girls.” So says Klein’s father, just one of the people in this heartbreaking, honest, and funny memoir who lead the author to fat camp. After being called “Moose” by her classmates and applying “chub rub” to her inner thighs, 12-year-old Stephanie heads to a summer camp, resolved to drop pounds. Drawing upon her memoirs and journals of the time, she recounts weigh-ins on a meat scale, “chunk dunking” in the lake, and struggling with her body, sexuality and self-confidence. If you’ve ever dealt with issues with your weight, you’ll relate to Moose’s journey.
“The Lightning Thief”
By Rick Riordan
The first installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, this rollicking read introduces us to Percy, a 12-year-old kid with behavior problems, not to mention ADHD and dyslexia. Come to find out, Percy (short for “Perseus”) is the son of Poseidon and he soon finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a secret camp for Greek demigods. How awesome is that? In this installment, Percy must retrieve Zeus’s lightning bolt and prove a god’s innocence. Camp + Greek mythology = A winning summer read.
By Anne Rivers Siddons
(Grand Central Publishing)
Unlike many kids, Thayer Wentworth felt most at home at her summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina. Years pass and Thayer marries Irish professor Aengus. They move into her grandmother’s Georgia house, only miles from another camp on Burnt Mountain, where her father died in a car accident years before. All is well until Aengus starts spending time at the camp, spinning Irish folktales to the campers. With growing distance between them, Thayer must deal with secrets from her past and present. Camp serves as a refuge as well as a impetus for change.
Jennifer Worick is the author of more than 25 books (including forthcoming Things I Want to Punch in the Face) and a publishing consultant; she can be found at The Business of Books.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive