Little, Brown Young Readers (2009)
Reviewed by Hillary Krajewski (age 16) for Reader Views (7/09)
When Sam’s best friend gets her first boyfriend, going off to summer camp is the only way to escape being the third wheel. So she applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp. But this isn’t going to be all s’mores and sleepovers. Not only is Ashley, the most popular girl at camp, out to get her but Cole, another CIT, keeps teasing her about her crush on the hot and unattainable counselor, Hunter. But at least she has her bunk. They all become quick friends and form a secret group called the Sleepaway Girls to make the summer more memorable.
This book was pretty much the summer camp experience I have never had. The book was filled with familiar brands, such as American Eagle and Puma, which helped to make the characters more relatable. Also, references to the Jonas Brothers and Disney channel movies made me laugh. Although it did seem to be kind of similar to the Lindsey Lohan Parent Trap movie in many ways, the great friends and Sam’s great personality made it bearable, and even enjoyable. Also, this seemed like a much more relatable and updated version of it, but more focused on the camp experience. I think it will really appeal to teen girls.
Jen Calonita’s writing made it feel as if I were experiencing the brutal heat and the rush of sneaking out late at night. I feel like it was a real place from the way that it was described. I am going to miss Sam and her new friends. It was something I could really get caught up in. When everything started to happen, I found myself staying up late a night just to finish it. I didn’t want to stop, and I do not believe I could have if I wanted to. Now, I’m dying to read Jen Calonita’s other books. “Sleepaway Girls” is something I would recommend to all my friends as a nice summery book to read. Girls twelve-years-old and up would love it. Some things about it were a little predictable, but overall it was a great story that any girl could enjoy!