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The Lost Summer

The Lost Summer

4.0 6
by Kathryn Williams

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"I died one summer, or I almost did. Part of me did. I don't say that to be dramatic, only because it's true." For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper,


"I died one summer, or I almost did. Part of me did. I don't say that to be dramatic, only because it's true." For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper, but as a counselor, while her best friend, Katie Bell remains behind.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Debbie Wenk
Helena is struggling to figure out where she fits. At seventeen, she is returning to her beloved Camp Southpoint. For eight summers, she has been a camper, but this year she goes back as a counselor. Her best friend, Katie Bell, is still sixteen and is forced to return as a camper. Helena is uneasy about how their friendship will survive. When Helena is invited by other counselors to sneak off after the campers are asleep, they rendezvous with counselors from the adjacent boys' camp—Camp Brownstone. Helena has had a longtime crush on Ransome, one of the Brownstone counselors, and when he begins to flirt with her, she is thrilled. As Helena and Ransome grow closer, she is eager to share the news with Katie; however Katie's tepid reaction causes Helena to think that perhaps she has matured while Katie has not. This book just does not quite work. Helena's voice is uneven—coming across at times more like a middle schooler than someone about to enter her senior year in high school. The near-catastrophic event at the end seems contrived and too neatly solves the conundrum of Helena and Katie's friendship, while Ransome—about whom Helena has spent pages daydreaming—just disappears from the scene with weak explanations for his departure. Every Soul a Star (Little, Brown, 2008/VOYA April 2008) by Wendy Mass is a much better story of teens trying to find their place in the world. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Helena loved summertime. It was wonderful to have a break from school, but the thing that made summer extra special to her was Southpoint. Southpoint was a summer camp she had attended every summer break as a camper; but now, this year, she was going as a counselor. She felt honored and she knew it was going to be a great summer. The only bad thing was that her best friend Katie Bell, who was sixteen, was still too young to be a counselor. Helena knew that this summer was going to be different and that she would have freedoms as a counselor that she never had as a camper. She loved having more freedom, making new friends, and being able to be around a male counselor at the neighboring boy's camp, that she had had a crush on for a couple of years. She began to hang out at night, drink, fool around, and do things she had never done before. She thought she was ready for all these things. What she did not suspect was that her decisions were hurting her friendship with Katie Bell, put her at odds with another friend, and would almost cost her life. The Lost Summer is a coming-of-age-story that focuses on the truth of what love is, true endearing friendship, and the loss of innocence. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Helena, a 17-year-old rookie counselor at the Tennessee camp where she had been a camper for eight summers, learns that growing up and taking on responsibilities changes almost everything about the innocent fun of camp. One good change: Ransome, an older counselor at the neighboring boys' camp, is actually interested in her, and their flirtation grows more serious. Yet Helena experiences a change for the worse in the friendship department. Katie, her best friend, has a birthday too late to allow her to be a counselor this year, and the division in their status leads to a gulf between them. When older counselor Winn lets Helena into the inner circle of counselors, it's a dream; but when Winn begins treating Helena like a pariah after she and Ransome begin a physical relationship, the freeze-out by yet another camp friend is a nightmare. A terrible accident ensues, and all of Helena's hopes for the best summer ever are lost. This coming-of-age novel might deserve a spot in some summer-camp care packages, but Helena comes across as a bit whiny and weak at times. Those looking for outdoorsy girl-drama can find some here, though the ending is a bit abrupt.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Williams has all the right ingredients for a popular tale of lost innocence and fraught friendships. Unfortunately, flat characters and a predictable, painfully slow plot limit the appeal of this summer-camp story. First-person narration should make the events described feel more immediate, but instead brief, after-the-fact introductions to each section create a sense of distance. Helena tells readers about her fractured family, her best (camp) friend and her excitement at finally being a counselor, but it's unlikely they'll feel the emotions she describes. Her longtime crush on a counselor from a nearby boy's camp is consummated in a hayloft, but even that momentous event feels remarkably pedestrian (realistic, perhaps, but hardly compelling reading). Subsequent misunderstandings with friends are followed by a boating accident that leaves Helena in a coma for weeks. The accident and its aftermath, including an epilogue, are squeezed into the last 23 pages, once again muting the readers' potential emotional response. Midway between a thoughtful novel and escapist reading, this effort doesn't succeed at being either. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Disney Press
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449 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kathryn Williams is a freelance writer and editor living in Nashville, Tennesee. She is the author of the young adult novel The Debutante, and Roomies: Sharing Your Home with Friends, Strangers, and Total Freaks. For more information, visit her on the Web at www.kathrynswilliams.com.

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The Lost Summer 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book i could not stop reading it
Suzie_Beth17 More than 1 year ago
cute story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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VermeerJg More than 1 year ago
Having worked in an all-girls-school, I found this novel to be palpablly life-like. The internal dialogue is sharply accurate in it's blatant honesty while capturing the conflicting priorities that typify the age of the characters. A perceptive, entertaining and nimble read.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Helena Waite is finally a counselor at Southpoint, a summer camp for girls. She's been going to camp for years, and it is all she looks forward to. The bad part is, Katie Bell, her best friend, missed the counselor age requirement by a few months, and is therefore stuck as a camper for another year. Katie Bell and Helena swear camp will be the same. But Helena thinks it will be different. And it is. Helena leaves Katie Bell behind for her counselor friends, and Ransome, her long-time crush who has become a reality. I was a little disappointed in THE LOST SUMMER. The ending was a complete surprise that I didn't see coming, which is always a good thing, but a lot of the time I found myself quite annoyed by Helena, what with her treating her best friend the way she did. With me knowing so much about camp, it made me curious, because most of the time it seemed as though there was nobody watching the campers. I really thought this book was going to be different, but overall it's an entertaining read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago