4.9 43
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… See more details below


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.

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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

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Product Details

Sky Pony Press
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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