4.9 36
by Elaine Wolf

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Every secret has a price.

For most girls, sleepaway camp is great fun. But for Amy Becker, it's a nightmare. Amy, whose home life is in turmoil, is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls for the first time as a teenager. Although Amy swears she hates her German-immigrant mother, who is unduly harsh with Amy's autistic younger brother, Amy is less than thrilled about


Every secret has a price.

For most girls, sleepaway camp is great fun. But for Amy Becker, it's a nightmare. Amy, whose home life is in turmoil, is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls for the first time as a teenager. Although Amy swears she hates her German-immigrant mother, who is unduly harsh with Amy's autistic younger brother, Amy is less than thrilled about going to camp. At Takawanda she is subjected to a humiliating "initiation" and relentless bullying by the ringleader of the senior campers. As she struggles to stop the mean girls from tormenting her, Amy becomes more confident. Then a cousin reveals dark secrets about Amy's mother's past, which sets in motion a tragic event that changes Amy and her family forever.

Camp is a compelling coming-of-age novel about bullying, mothers and daughters, and the collateral damage of family secrets. It will resonate with a wide teenage readership. Camp will be a strong addition to school recommended reading and summer reading lists, and it is appropriate for anti-bullying programs. Mostly, though, Camp is a mother-daughter story for mothers and daughters to share.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fourteen-year-old Amy Becker dreads being sent to her Uncle Ed's sleepaway camp in Maine—she worries that she won't make friends and hates the idea ?of leaving her autistic younger brother, Charlie, with her chilly and image-?conscious mother. After Amy arrives at camp, a cruel camper named Rory taunts her at every occasion and puts her through a mortifying "initiation, " stripping Amy naked in front of two boys and throwing her in the lake. Meek and naïve, Amy has to lose her self-pity, boost her self-esteem, and make a friend to survive. While bullying is the focus of Wolf's debut novel, the author throws in a wide range of additional dramas and tragedies (extramarital affairs, abandoned children, death) that overwhelm the narrative. In the last quarter of the book, Wolf works to explain Amy's mother's troubled history and tie up loose ends, but there's little to establish the book's historical setting (1962) and Amy's mother's German heritage, both of which end up being important to the plot. Ages 13–16. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (July)
Children's Literature - Brenda Sowry
Are you or someone you know being bullied? Do you hate your mother? Are you a loner and believe you do not need friends? Going away to a camp for girls for the summer is a scary and unwanted event in the mind of introverted fourteen-year-old Amy Becker, despite her hatred of her mother. How will her autistic younger brother, Charlie, survive without her? Uncle Ed just purchased Camp Takawanda, cousin Robin will be there, and Amy"s dad thinks this is a great opportunity for her to meet new people and make friends. Rory, one of her cabin mates, is determined to show the new girl who is in charge. Amy survives a humiliating initiation by Rory and her followers, including cousin Robin, and a constant barrage of taunting and bullying. Teenage girls can be very cruel to their peers. Standing up for what is right is not always easy. Amy's dad is right though, the experience becomes an opportunity for Amy to find her voice and stand up for herself. As if dealing with all of this is not enough, Robin reveals a secret about Amy's mother, which eventually leads to tragedy for Amy and her family. When Amy's mom becomes ill, her hard-shell exterior is peeled away—a vulnerable, caring and loving mother that Amy had never met before remains. A must read for teenage girls struggling to enter an adult world. Reviewer: Brenda Sowry
VOYA - Judith A. Hayn
Amy Becker is fourteen, lonely, and troubled, stuck in her own angst evolving from rejecting her ?ber-controlling, German-immigrant mother and caring for her autistic brother, Charlie. Her dad struggles to keep the peace, but Amy wishes her strict, demanding mother were dead. Then, Uncle Ed buys a summer camp in Maine, and Amy reluctantly heads for the wilderness, where she finds her fellow campers far more deceiving than her secretive mother. Amy’s chief nemesis is Rory, a troubled deviant whose goal is to bully Amy into silence about the cruel mistreatment she and her pals create. Erin befriends Amy, and for once she has a true confidante and comrade. Wolf is known as a champion anti-bullying advocate, but there is much more to this story than applauding Amy’s efforts in learning to stand up for herself. Secrets meander through the pages and threaten to tear Amy’s world apart. The tension mounts as readers wonder why Amy cannot bring herself to reveal the torture she is undergoing at camp, what Amy’s mother is hiding, or what will happen when the truth prevails. The story is set in 1963; the timeframe contributes to the climax, but the awful price Amy must pay in her coming-of-age story resonates with horror and redemption as the denouement leaves the reader breathless. This mesmerizing book is a must-read for adolescents and the adults who care about them. Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Sent off in the summer of 1962 to Camp Takawanda, Amy Becker, 14, misses her autistic younger brother, Charlie, and her father, but not her carping German-immigrant mother, Sonia. Life at camp takes its toll when Amy becomes the target of bunkmate Rory's bullying. With lax adult supervision and Amy's inability to speak up for herself, Rory and her followers gain the power to intimidate Amy and rudely challenge counselors. On family visiting day, after Rory ingratiates herself to ingenuous Sonia and terrifies Charlie with a barking dog, Amy and her two friends decide to fight back and hope that Amy's Uncle Ed, owner of the camp, will send Rory home. To her credit, Amy attracts the attention of Andy from a nearby boys' camp and becomes an accomplished tennis player. Details of life in the early '60s add dimension to a plot that is rife with secrets about Rory, Uncle Ed, Sonia, and Amy's cousin Robin. Resolution comes in a melodramatic rush involving Amy's stealthy search through her mother's papers, Charlie's death after being hit by Sonia's car, a relocation to Connecticut, and Sonia's struggle with cancer, when she finally reveals to Amy details of her sad past. In a story told in retrospect as she is about to head to college, Amy is able to forgive her once-secretive mother.—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT

Product Details

Sky Pony Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ELAINE WOLF is an award-winning writer, writing workshop facilitator, and former public school teacher and district language arts chairperson. She lives with her husband in Massachusetts.

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Camp 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! Camp brought me back to my own camp days. I recommend it to all! Definitely a 5 star read.
UniquelyMoiBooks More than 1 year ago
You know when you come across one of those books that really makes you stop and think about not only your life, but the way the world is? A book that grabs you and shakes you down to your core. Shakes hard. It's rare, unique, and to be treasured. That is exactly what I found in Camp. When I first decided to review Camp, I figured it would be some fluffy book about a mother/daughter adventure and a big bonding experience. What I found was far from that. Camp doesn't skim on issues at hand, but rips deeply into them, revealing how bad bullying can get. I know we have all had our share, but not like this. And certainly not having to deal with all of the numerous issues Amy Becker has on her plate. Amy and her mother have never gotten along. It isn't some trivial topic at hand, but an underlying issue that seems as though her mother truly hates her. If it isn't hard enough dealing with a mother who despises her, she also had to deal with the motherly role of taking care of her autistic eight year-old brother Charlie. This is not the life that a fourteen year old should be living. Her father understood this and signed her up for summer camp, hoping that she would enjoy some time away. Truth is--if Amy never would've went to camp, the tragic events never would have taken place. It was all a series of events starting with the overbearing bullying that took place that summer. I never would've had the courage and strength of Amy. My heart broke for her repeatedly. My tears continuously fell for her. In the end, I couldn't help but wonder... Could any of this really be true? This is something that I have never pondered after finishing a book. And in reading the note from the author, I had my answer. I am so very thankful for that note. So very thankful for Camp. Elaine Wolf deserves tremendous praise for her amazing talent.
cjfergie23 More than 1 year ago
For Teens, Parents, Teachers and Counselors.  An amazing book! I was fortunate enough to meet Elaine Wolf when she spoke on anti-bullying at our Nat'l Nightout event against crime.  She wowed me! Camp grabbed me in  the first chapter.  This book isn't just about bullying, it's about a relationship between mother and daughter and family secrets.
Discerning-Reader1 More than 1 year ago
A MUST READ! YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! I love CAMP! It’s a must read for everyone – from eighth-graders to grandparents. CAMP is a gripping story with heartbreakingly-real characters. CAMP is a haunting and inspiring coming-of-age novel about a fourteen-year-old girl who is ruthlessly bullied at summer camp, through a backdrop of complex family dynamics, marked by secrets, loyalties and betrayals. CAMP raises important questions about bullying that are relevant to children and families, teachers, and all who are or ever have been connected with young people in any way. How do friends, bystanders, and adults take a stand against bullying? When a child is exploited, what contributes to her silence? What factors empower her to listen to her innate wisdom, speak out, ask for help, and resist? How can we radically change our culture to limit the power of bullies, protect children, and foster compassion? CAMP invites the reader to explore these vital issues through pages one will have trouble putting down until the very end. Ultimately, this is a story of finding one’s voice, friendship, acceptance, and healing. I’ll say it again: I love this book!
BethFehlbaum More than 1 year ago
Elaine Wolf has created a story rooted in secrets--and how keeping secrets affects people's lives, like a stone tossed thoughtlessly into a calm pond. Amy is a victim of her mother's secrets: because of her own unbearably painful past, Amy's mom is unable to show Amy and Amy's little brother, Charlie, the love they deserve. Away at summer camp--a place Amy did not want to go-- she is tortured by Rory, a poisonous person whose own secrets drive her to devastating depths of cruelty. Amy's cousin Robin, whose father owns the summer camp, is likewise cruel to Amy, taunting her with the knowledge of a secret about Amy's mom that seems to be common knowledge to everyone but Amy. I love character-driven fiction, and Elaine Wolf has created believable three-dimensional characters--especially Rory--a character who could have been a one-dimensional villain, but the reader is made to understand in some small way what could drive a person to be so awful to other people. CAMP is a book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
Kirsten_L More than 1 year ago
A moving and thoroughly absorbing coming-of-age tale. When Amy is sent to sleepaway camp against her wishes, she must deal with a cabin full of bullies. The mean girls are sharply drawn and shrewd, and the scene where Amy is initiated feels real enough to be frightening. A good pick for mother-daughter book clubs, as the mother daughter relationship is integral, and the themes of forgiveness and acceptance will resonate. I highly recommend it!  
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E-Ridley More than 1 year ago
Elaine Wolf’s “Camp” is a classic coming-of-age tale that recalls the work of Judy Blume in her prime with its likable (and refreshingly “real”) heroine, 14-year-old Amy Becker, who faces the challenges of adolescence with courage and aplomb. Amy has a strict German-immigrant mother, a kind but ineffectual father, and a younger brother with special needs, but Amy’s real trouble begins when she spends the summer at a girls’ camp in Maine run by her uncle, where she endures savage bullying, humiliation, and revelations about her own mother that force Amy to question everything she thought she knew. “Camp” raises difficult topics including bullying, incest, infidelity, and the Holocaust, but in ways that are always honest, direct, and never melodramatic. In the end, “Camp” is a story of hope, redemption, and reconciliation, portraying in moving detail how even the deepest emotional chasms can be crossed through patience and love.
reggie_s More than 1 year ago
It took an international vacation, but I finally got a chance to read CAMP and could not put it down. I was totally engaged from start to finish. It's such an interesting, original and timely story, about so much more than summer camp. It's about bullying, the cost of family secrets, parent-child relationships, and sibling relationships and rivalry. Though written for a young adult audience, there is something for everyone. The characters are vividly and realistically drawn, and difficult topics are explored. The book will stay with you well after you've turned the last page. I am so glad I had it to keep me company on my very long flight.
mommybooknerd More than 1 year ago
Wow. I am still reeling. I am also having a hard time articulating how this story affected me. Wolf captures the darker, less talked about world of teenage girls and bullying in her novel CAMP. Wolf tells a story of how relentless bullying affects a young woman while she is attending a summer camp. Wolf subtly gives us the back-story of many of the characters, giving the reader a better understanding of all sides. This story is deep and complex. CAMP is so much more than just teenage bullying and camp. It is about family, secrets, history, friendships, marriage and tragedy. Often sad and sometimes tragic Wolf writes an emotionally driven story that is a must read for all. I rate it 4.5 stars and think that this novel will stick with me for quite some time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Camp! It was supposed to be my vacation read; instead, I started Camp before we left and finished it within 2 days. I could not put it down! I know many readers are taking the bullying aspect from the book, but I cannot stop thinking about the aspect of mothers and their/our secrets.
RosemaryV More than 1 year ago
What a great read! I took it on vacation and couldn't put it down until the last page. It ended too soon! Great characters, heartfelt, and a very important subject. I highly recommend it.
b0okw0rm More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book!!!! I couldn't put it down, it is well written and a great story that all teens should be exposed to.
Retired_Librarian1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Camp and was impressed with the writing. The people and dialogue were real, the flow and pacing excellent. I gave it to my almost-sixteen granddaughter when my visiting family stayed at a nearby hotel. They expected to be at my apartment 10 am next day but arrived after 11, explaining that she had been so engrossed in Camp that she hadn't wanted to leave the hotel before finishing the book.
wendyr706 More than 1 year ago
This is an exellent book for preteens, teens and young adults. It is a"cant put down book". As a 60 year old I could relate to it as well. It is uplifting and empowering.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A TERRIFIC BOOK FOR TEENS AND ADULTS CAMP is a great read. It is well-written and the story is really powerful. I fell in love with Amy, the main character in CAMP, in Chapter 1 and was rooting for her as she dealt with more problems than a teenager should have to deal with. I like it when the author makes a character so believable that you feel her emotions and know exactly what she is going through. This would be a great book for high school students and also their parents and grandparents. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a book!!! You cannot put it down. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When we think of bullies, many of us tend to think of big, strong boys physically harming (or threatening to physically harm) other boys. We forget that girls bully, too – often employing far more psychological tools in the process. In “Camp” author Elaine Wolf tackles the topic of bullying – along with family dysfunction, teenage angst and budding sexuality, secrets, lies and adultery. Somehow Wolf manages to effortlessly and sensitively wrap all of these extremely difficult issues into a riveting and very believable story that had me completely engrossed. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. I was right there “in the story,” feeling all of the protagonist’s fears and anxieties along with her. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! CAMP is a great read, and I high recommend it for readers of all ages. It's a really powerful mother-daughter story about family secrets, and there's a strong bullying plot, too. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the main character, who is so "real" and just tugged at my heart. Put this one on your must-read list. You won't be sorry. My book club has already chosen CAMP as one of our titles for this coming year. I'm sure the discussion will be terrific.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp is the must-read book of 2012. I opened it last week and could not put it down until I finished reading the final page. It is perfect for young adults, as advertised, but also for adults. You will get drawn into the story: how will Amy make it through the summer, what will happen at the end of the camp season, and what secrets is Amy's family keeping from her? A fascinating story told through a beautifully written book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! CAMP is so well written, and it's a great story. I couldn't put it down. But CAMP is more than just a terrific read; it also highlights the serious problem of bullying that is so prevalent in camps and schools. As a psychotherapist and a director of a group practice that specializes in working with teenagers and their parents, I see many teens who have been bullied. Wolf's description is right on - no more is it just "You're fat and your mother wears combat boots." The psychological and emotional toll of bullying can't be underestimated and Wolf captures the essence of the experience in a story that is both believable and riveting. I believe that CAMP should be required reading for every middle and high school student nationwide, as well as for all teachers, parents, and everyone who works with teenagers...and everyone else! And it would make a fabulous movie. I hope that's in the works.
KathleenBridge More than 1 year ago
CAMP weaves together a narrative where the fibers of love and truth get entwined with those of hate and deceit. There are no true villains in this story of bullying and buried secrets because the author affords the reader insight into the motivation behind each character’s actions. The 'Madmen" 1960s setting points out the universality of many life-altering issues we are still dealing with five decades later. I wish my daughter and I could have met Amy back when we were going to camp or starting high school. But we are both happy to have gotten to meet her today. CAMP is a true classic that belongs on every bookshelf, no matter what the reader's age. I love this book!
seniorcitizen More than 1 year ago
WOW! WHAT A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE! A few days ago, someone gave me a copy of Elaine Wolf’s new novel, CAMP, and told me I’d love it. I was skeptical, because the inside flap of the book says “Young Adult” and “a mother-daughter story for mothers and daughters to share.” Well, I haven’t been a young adult for nearly 50 years and I am neither a mother nor a daughter. I am a man in my late sixties, and I loved this book. Wolf is a great storyteller and CAMP is a great story. I couldn’t put it down. And who gave me CAMP and told me to read it? My 15-year-old grandson, who read his mother's copy and loved it as much as I did. So CAMP is clearly a book for readers of all ages and both genders, from teens to senior citizens. I am sure you will love CAMP, too. Read it and encourage your friends to read it. If you do, you will have plenty to discuss with them.