Slept Away

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Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.
But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way...
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Slept Away

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Overview

Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.
But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element—the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.
Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool?
Summer camp might just turn this city girl’s world upside down!
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Stephanie Dawley
In this age of "Gossip Girl" and "NYC Prep," Julie Kraut is doing her best to keep up. Slept Away is the classic tale a rich, spoiled girl removed from her comfort zone and forced to socialize with those she normally considers far beneath her. Laney Parker, the consummate city girl, is plucked from her upper-class home in New York City and dropped in the middle of wilderness hell, otherwise known as "Camp Timber Trails." With no cell phone, no Diet Coke and no chocolate to sustain her, and with a wardrobe picked out by her mother, Laney is sure she will perish before summer's end. And while she is used to being in the popular clique at home, here she is low man on the totem pole. Her loneliness is overwhelming until she connects with Sylvie—a surprisingly cool, if poorly dressed, bunkmate. Together they face the evil trio of "mean girls" they bunk with and plot to get Sylvie her first boyfriend. Along the way, Laney begins to consider that maybe, just maybe, the superficial and materialistic life she leads at home isn't the only way to be. Kraut's endless array of pop culture references are a bit over the top in this novel and might limit its readership to a particular portion of the teenage population. It is, however, a fun, light read with a charming and witty main character. Perfect for a summer day lounging by the pool. Reviewer: Stephanie Dawley
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Fifteen-year-old Laney has plenty to complain about, but readers will tire of her whining and foul language long before the end of her six weeks at a truly abominable summer camp. She starts out as a Manhattan diva with friends who drink too much, then displays the interests of a tween. Jonas Brothers, Disney TV-movies, and a blankie? Her three nasty bunkmates—Aiden, Aidan, and Hayden—wear shorts with suggestive words across their butts, and her cabin leader is a perky pest. Her other bunk mate, Sylvie, who is slightly more rounded, becomes her best friend. Despite camp rules that keep girls and boys separate except for special events, Laney decides to get Sylvie a boyfriend. She finds herself falling for Ryan, a guy she's secretly liked but who is an outcast from her cool crowd in New York. Here in the Poconos, he passes for the hottest thing at camp. To the author's credit, camp activities never improve for Laney but having two friends makes all the difference. That touch of realism and some funny lines and situations are not enough to make up for the unbelievable plot and lack of character development.—Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385737371
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Kraut lives in Maryland. Growing up, she loved summer camp and willingly wore skorts, embarrassingly enough. Today she’s enthusiastic about cheese, Googling herself, and writing. Slept Away is her second book for young readers. To learn more about Julie, visit www.JulieKraut.com.
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Read an Excerpt

“OK, look at that girl over there,” Kennedy directed. She pulled her Diors down her nose a bit so I could see her eyes gesturing over to a girl in a tankini lying out across the pool. “Total brownout.”

I took a peek over at the napping tankini-ed stranger.

“Brownout” is a term we coined for a girl who was totally hot because she was blond, but if you put brown hair on her, she’d just be normal to fugly. And the truth is that you can’t tell someone’s brownout status from far away. You need to get a good look at her face. But Kennedy had just recently decided to go dark and was trying to convince herself that she and Cameron Diaz were the only two women on planet

Earth who look hotter as brunettes. So I nodded, agreeing to the brownout situation across the pool, not sure if by bashing every woman who dared to look good blond in Manhattan I was enabling the rapid growth of a cancerous mega-ego or just easing a friend through a bad hair period.

“Yeah, highlights are definitely God’s gift to some women,” she said with disdain. As if three weeks ago she hadn’t been one of those plebes who enjoyed the exponential hottening factor of professionally applied peroxide.

I sighed, running my hand through my head of what I was trying to sun-bleach into auburn waves, but was really just plain brown and in a sweaty tangle. My mom thought fifteen was too young for highlights and had denied me the parental credit card for a salon trip more times than Nicole Richie has denied anorexia allegations. And after one attempted at-home highlights session left me looking streakier than the love child of Kelly Clarkson and bargain-brand glass cleaner, I realized that I was just going to have to wait for college to fully research the age-old question of whether blondes really do have more fun.

Was I seriously thinking about this? Not even a full two hours ago I was double-checking the sines and cosines on my trig final–which I dominated, thank you very much– and now I’m considering how hair color affects your general sense of amusement? It’s like after a hard-core round of studying and testing, my brain just isn’t capable of real thinking and I sink to the level of a VH1 reality show contestant for a few hours. Whatever. I definitely deserved some chill time after trig. Taking advantage of Ken’s mom’s Soho House membership for the afternoon was the perfect way to do it.

I flipped over to my stomach, smushed my cheek into my towel in a way that I knew was going to give me an acnelooking imprint when I got up, and closed my eyes for an afternoon nap. But just as I was starting to doze, I heard Kennedy yell, “Hey, bitch!” She was completely unaware of how loud she was being, thanks to whatever guyliner band she was iPoding into her ears.

“Your mom’s here?” I swear I didn’t mean for that to come out. It’s just that I was in that halfway-to-sleep level of consciousness where I have absolutely no filter. And as much as I loved Kennedy–we’ve been friends since Baby Gym, where my mom took me and her babysitter took her– her family still scared me after all these years. It’s like the Nanny Diaries family except for there’s no one playing the Laura Linney desperate housewife role. Kennedy’s parents were divorced, and both were these crazy career-driven, emotionless, would-probably-sell-their daughters-for-theirorgans-if-they-could-make-a-nice-profit human ice sculptures with dyed jet black hair in one of those super-blunt bobs with straight-across bangs. OK, that last part was just her mom. But still, her mom hadn’t warmed to me at all in the past fourteen and a half years. And I was seriously cute in grammar school. It was pretty impossible not to fall in love with my fatty cheeks, but Mrs. McEllen managed not to.

“No, my mom’s at work, duh,” Kennedy replied to my half-conscious, all subconscious comment. “Why’d you ask?” For the record, I believe that we all have different gifts. And I also believe that my best friend’s most bountiful gift wasn’t wit. But she was really good at burping the ABCs, so it all evened out. “I’m thinking that I should try and convince Conrad to have a little summer kickoff soiree. What do you think?” she asked. She dove into her bag to pull out her phone before I’d even answered.

Conrad was Kennedy’s loving boyfriend slash total dick ex, depending on the day, or on some days, depending on the hour. This had been going on since the very first weeks of freshman year, and after two years, I was pretty fed up with the Kennedy/Conrad time bomb. But she’s my best friend, so fed up or not, I had to be there with her every time she set the bomb, every time she watched that bomb tick down to zero, and every time it exploded. It’s probably what it would be like to be Britney’s personal assistant. Except I don’t get paid. Or a tell-all book deal.

“Wouldn’t a Conrad bash be awesome this weekend?” she prodded before hitting dial.

“Totally,” I said. And it would. No matter how much I hated the romantic hostage situation he was holding Kennedy in, it’s a fact that Conrad has the best parties in Manhattan. Well, the best parties for the sixteen-and-under crowd in Manhattan.

Kennedy suddenly stopped her chatter with Conrad and turned to me. “He’s totally down to play host this weekend, just needs to know which day. What do you think, Laney P., would more peeps show up tomorrow or Sunday night?”

Even the thought of a party on Sunday night was enough to induce a panic attack for me. Hello! Was I the only person left in the Manhattan private school system who had a mom who wouldn’t let her out on school nights?

My mom would flip before I could even start the curfew negotiation. And she totally wouldn’t care that we were done with finals and that all we’d be doing on Monday was watching Stand and Deliver while the teachers graded, which pretty much took the attention span of a drunk monkey. I could already hear her start in on the “fifteen-year-olds and gallivanting on Sunday nights don’t mix” tirade. To be honest, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what gallivanting was, and to be even more honest, even though I’m technically fifteen, I’m pretty much already sixteen. Everyone else in my class is, and my birthday’s in November, which is practically right around the corner. I definitely act just as mature as my friends. But somehow, bringing up the “sixteen at heart” argument never seemed like a good idea when my mom was in Mominator mode.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Boring

    I dont say this about many books but i got so sick of it i didnt finish it. The characters were cheesey and unbelieveable and the main character was such a push over. There was nothing that held my interest and i felt like the book was 'talking' to me as if i were eight years old or something. Also the "humor" was soo forced! Like it was trying to be cool and appeal to teens but ended up dorky. This book is very dorky and is the worst book ive read in a long time. It may be more boring than Moby Dick...which is sad cause Moby Dick has more facts about whales than it does an auctual plot line. Anyway i dont recommend this at all!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    good but a little depressing

    i bought this in hopes of a cheesy camp book but got something differnt i love the humor ItSs A REALLY FUNNY BOOK but its slifhtly depressing not happy fo lucky but still good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I LOVED IT!!

    this book has definatly landed itself into my favorites! it has a lot of humor in it and i fell in love with the characters. i felt like i could relate with Laney when she was being sent away to cummer camp and having to deal with a buch of mean girls and no sensible clothes to wear since her mom packed for her! i definatly recomend this book if you want somehthing that is entertaining and just for fun. lots of laughs, cries, and victorys are here, but i am not going to spoil any of it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Some Humor But Ultimately Misses Mark

    Boy did this book want to be hip, witty and entertaining - unfortunately, while it was humorous at times, it still fell somewhat short of that mark. Minus a few laugh out loud moments and funny one liners there wasn't a whole lot to hang a hat on. Granted I'm older than what I presume is the target audience but I imagine even young teens would be interested in a bit more substance than was provided.

    Speaking specifically it took so long to get to the really good parts of the story (the building relationship between Laney and Sylvie as well as the romance between each of them and their respective suitors) that by the time I turned the corner I didn't really care. More than that there was so little time to really explore theses plot lines because we'd spent so much of the story focussing on the same scene (misery at the hands of the trifecta of doom, kavetching about being at camp, fearing instructional swim) that if I heard the words pee-pee one more time I thought I would put the book down for good.

    This is what is most unfortunate about Slept Away, that there was such great potential for the story. There were some genuinely interesting and good parts that were simply not explored to their fullest. The romance between Laney and her chosen crush was rushed into a few chapters at the end, the exploration of how she went from truly shallow to a woman who chose friends of character over materialism and social status, and the true revelation that even though she wasn't built for camp she became a better person for having gone and endured. All of that was forsaken for relentless complaining and sarcasm.

    On a more positive note, I do think it had moments where the humor shone through, Kraut undoubtedly has a flair for comedy. Also the book was certainly a quick read, I had no problem moving through it. Sadly, it just didn't end up being a book that one hundred percent suited me as a reader. I'll be curious to hear the thoughts of those who read it who are closer to the target age of this book's audience. Did you like the focus of the story or did you want more from it?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Angela S. for TeensReadToo.com

    Laney Parker is a city girl in every way. She's looking forward to the summer so she can spend it at chic boutiques and parties with her friends. Little does she know, her new-age mother has a totally different plan for Laney - she's sending her to summer camp!

    Being sent to camp Timber Trail is bad enough, but being there with a group of totally uncool girls who think they run the camp (and automatically take a disliking to Laney!), along with getting stuck doing group activities with the kids who are half her age, is horrible. Laney hates camp and can't see how her summer is going to be any fun.

    Eventually, Laney becomes friends with one of the girls in her cabin, and then finds out that someone from back home also goes to the camp. Back in the city, Ryan is the most uncool guy around, but at camp he is the hottest and most popular guy there. Laney has never been happier to see him.

    At the end of the summer, Laney is left wondering: Can camp cool equal real world cool? And will Ryan and Laney be able to be friends back home? You'll have to read SLEPT AWAY to find out!

    With lots of pop culture references, fun in the sun, and a slight bit of romance, this is a great read for a hot summer day!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2012

    This book is slow in the begining but it's worth reading it unti

    This book is slow in the begining but it's worth reading it until the end, it was an easy and FUNNY read I loved it. It only has romance in the end so this is'nt the type of book for someone who's boy obessesed but I love the two main characters Laney and Sylvie are funny and great true friends.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Slept Away

    This book will show you how to get past the material things and be yourself. It's not about what you wear, your looks or your hair, it's about how you act. It went pretty slow but in the end you will be smiling :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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