Summer State of Mind

( 5 )


This fresh and funny companion novel to Jen Calonita’s hit Sleepaway
brings listeners back to Whispering Pines with a whole new cast!

Fifteen-year-old Harper McAllister thinks her summer plans are ruined when her parents receive her latest heart-stopping credit card bill and ship her off to camp at Whispering Pines. Suddenly Harper is at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb while wearing wedge sandals and expensive clothes. ...

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Summer State of Mind

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This fresh and funny companion novel to Jen Calonita’s hit Sleepaway
brings listeners back to Whispering Pines with a whole new cast!

Fifteen-year-old Harper McAllister thinks her summer plans are ruined when her parents receive her latest heart-stopping credit card bill and ship her off to camp at Whispering Pines. Suddenly Harper is at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb while wearing wedge sandals and expensive clothes. Slowly but surely, she starts to find her place, though, even winning over super cute camp “lifer” Ethan. But when she ruins the camp’s chance to have a pop star film a music video on campus, Harper becomes an outcast once again. With the help of a few good friends she tries to make things right—and manages to find a whole new summer state of mind along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

Katie Finn
"The perfect summertime read! It's sweet, funny, and made me want to head to camp immediately."
From the Publisher
Praise for Summer State of Mind:
"...Readers will respond to how the newly rich Harper struggles with identity issues...The book illustrates some important lessons: money doesn't buy true friends; good friends are harder to come by, and they can only be "bought" with authentic and meaningful nurturing."—Booklist

"The perfect summertime read! It's sweet, funny, and made me want to head to camp immediately."—Katie Finn, author of the Top 8 series and Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - C. J. Bott
Harper McAllister is the nice girl in the mean, rich, uppity girl clique because she buys gifts for everyone—a $700 espresso cart for the basketball team after their fifth lost in a row, $350 for matching t-shirts for her English class to wear to a poetry slam, $600 at Red Door Spa to relieve tension headaches before midterms—but McDaddy has now seen the bill. Consequences begin the next day; Harper and her twin brother are going to sleep-away camp, the exact same camp where McDaddy spent all his summers. Harper arrives at White Pines with nine suitcases filled with designer clothes and pampering supplies to quickly earn the nickname Camping Barbie by freaking out on the zip line, getting plastered in the mud-field fight, taking out the electrical power with all her hair machines, and coming very close to destroying the whole camp. Harper not only survives, she thrives and returns to the real person she used to be. Calonita gives us a Disney flick-between-the-covers that is fun to read without being trite in this great summer read for teen girls. Reviewer: C. J. Bott; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Susan R. Shaffner
Buy whatever you want! Fifteen-year-old Harper’s dad is newly rich, and his newfound wealth is changing her values and friendships. Dad decides that instead of going to Cancun on vacation, Harper and her twin brother will go to Whispering Pines, a camp in Massachusetts that he attended years ago. Though assertive, she finds herself on the fringe of camp social life due to mean girl Jeanie, and Harper’s aversion to sports does not help when everything at camp seems to be a competition. Pink-haired artist Lina befriends her and slowly Harper’s true talents emerge—cooking, creatively planning to raid the boys’ cabins, and improvising karaoke presentations. Just when she has seemingly charmed the camp into accepting her, Harper accidentally starts a fire and destroys an important contest entry. Harper, her brother Kyle, Lina, and budding love interest Ethan make a video to replace the burned entry. The video wins a visit from rocker London Blue; Harper is vindicated and decides to spend the rest of the summer at camp. Though written as a companion novel to Sleepaway Girls, the book may easily be read on its own. High-maintenance teenaged girls may enjoy a vicarious trip to camp, and low-maintenance girls may enjoy having their lifestyles affirmed. The excessive spending at the beginning of the book is a bit repulsive, but there are lessons to be learned. Calonita’s book is not preachy, and affirms that money isn’t everything, that keeping your mouth shut can be a good thing, that technology should be balanced with personal interactions, that appearance should not be a top priority, that you should use your talents to become your true self, and that a real friend is someone who likes you without conditions. Reviewer: Susan R. Shaffner; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this coming-of-age story, 15-year-old Harper is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy music producer. Her plans for the summer consist of shopping, hanging out with her mean-girl besties, and attending all of the hot parties. But after charging one too many frivolous purchases to her dad's credit card, he decides to ship her off to summer camp to remind her of who she was before they struck it rich. Harper has a difficult time adjusting to the environment and alienates most of the other campers with her obsessive vanity and her dependence on electronics. As the summer progresses, she slowly begins to win some of them over, manages to save the day, learns a little bit about herself, and begins a romance with a camp "lifer" who goes to her high school. Her romance with Ethan feels a little forced and shallow, and the plot is somewhat anticlimactic, but teen girls who can't get enough summer-romance novels may enjoy it. Purchase only where beach reads fly off the shelves.—Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Almost-15-year-old Harper thinks only of fashion until her dad sees her credit-card bill and packs her off to summer camp for a needed lifestyle change. As the daughter of a suddenly rich music-video producer, Harper spends money without thought. She had expected to spend the summer in Cancun but instead finds herself in a creaky wooden cabin with fellow campers who don't seem to like her much. No wonder, as Harper has carted in luggage full of hair products, expensive T-shirts and impractical shoes. She begins by losing a contest her cabin should have won, blowing out the fuses and using up all the hot water. She's terrified of imaginary spiders and bears and remains resolutely nonathletic. One sympathetic girl, Lina, tries to help, but when Harper finally goes too far, even Lina quits talking to her. Desperate to gain friends, Harper plots to win a contest to get a popular rock star to shoot a video at the camp—a girl Harper secretly actually knows. Calonita keeps the narration bubbly and pitched just right for her pre- and early-teen audience, with plenty of comedy and a gentle message about superficiality. She makes Harper the butt of the jokes but always shows the girl's sympathetic side so that readers can laugh with her rather than at her. Entertainment for the fashionista crowd. (Chick lit. 10-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482986457
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jen Calonita

Jen Calonita would never have fought her parents on going to sleepaway camp. She did, however, try to get out of a school camping trip for fear of spiders crawling into her sleeping bag. When she isn't writing, the author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life and the Belles series can be found at the beach or floating in the pool. She encourages you to share your summer stories with her online at or on Twitter @Jencalonita.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    With summer breaking¿s end nearing, all of us teens are looking

    With summer breaking’s end nearing, all of us teens are looking for something to do. For some of us (or people like me who are located too far north to be given direct sun exposure all year round) we’re trying to soak up what rays of sun we can before the season changes and school starts up again. What’s the best way to spend these lazy summer days? By reading a book set in the summertime as well!

    I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect from author Jen Calonita’s, Summer State of Mind, but I did see a lot of hype for it online and naturally got curious. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Which isn’t a bad thing. Summer State of Mind was very fresh, new and unlike any of the summertime YA novels I’ve had the opportunity to read.

    All that fifteen-year-old Harper McAllister can’t wait for is the summertime. This summer she should be heading out on a vacation with her best friends, lounging all day, spending all the money on their rich father’s credit cards, doing the typical things that girls like them do. Notice how I said ‘should’? That’s because when Harper’s parents receive an obscene credit-card bill from their daughter it’s bye, bye lazy summer vacay and hello to camp.

    Harper is a total outsider at the camp. Nobody seems to really like her and despite her best efforts she just can’t fit in. That doesn’t deter her one bit. Then there’s Ethan whose eye she’s somehow managed to catch. With a bit of hard work and attempting thing she’s never done before, this summer might not turn out so terrible for Harper after all.

    The writing in Summer State of Mind is very simplistic and paints an easy picture in the reader’s mind. It isn’t hard to tell what’s going on and the way that the novel is written makes it easy to turn pages without even noticing that you’re just zooming through the book. Summer State of Mind is a novel that is easy to get caught up in because, in spite of everything, you do want to know how Harper will turn out and if she’ll get the boy and finally accomplish all of her goals.

    What first got me interested in Summer State of Mind was the fact that (like myself) Harper is only fifteen years old. No biggie. Sounds cool to be in the head of somebody my own age. I’ll admit that at first when I started the novel I definitely thought that she was a realistic teen but as the novel progressed that belief did begin to slip and falter. There are certain scenes that totally pulled off Harper acting her age, but then there were others that had me shaking my head. For people who aren’t within Harper’s own age demographic (15-18) they might not be able to relate completely, for readers who are tweens Harper’s adventures will probably be more relatable and entertaining.

    Summer State of Mind is a good read. The only thing that took away from my experience was the above. Harper does a lot of things that—no matter how rich you are—are just plain dumb. Common-sense type things that just had me turned off a lot. That and the use of calling her father McDaddy which was kind of McCreepy to read.

    I would recommend Summer State of Mind to any readers who are looking for a novel that is still funny, light and a quick summer read. Any readers who are in that middle grade/junior high age-group will probably have a very fun time with Summer State of Mind.

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  • Posted October 9, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Great, fun, easy breezy book. Read the prequel, too -- the one a

    Great, fun, easy breezy book. Read the prequel, too -- the one and only Sleepaway Girls!

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  • Posted July 18, 2014

    3.5 stars Okay, collecting my thoughts...  Alright, Summer St

    3.5 stars

    Okay, collecting my thoughts...  Alright, Summer State of Mind was mostly an airy, fluffy read that was great for the summer.  There wasn't really any "big cliff hangers," or deep, dark, dangerous secrets in Summer State of Mind, it was just a nice relaxing summer read.  It was exactly what a summer read should be.

    Why it made a good summer read, was because I didn't have to immediately finish the book, I could just read it at a leisurely pace.  What I mean is that especial during the summer, when I want equal parts outdoor activities and parts indoor reading, I want a book that I can put down and come back to when I want.  I'm not pressed to finish it, because I want to know what happens next.    

    On the topic of Summer State of Mind, why does Ethan like Harper?  She's bratty, self centered, and frankly annoying. The epilogue also bothered me, it showed everyone happy and joyful.  But wait, didn't the last chapter before the epilogue show that too?  Why repeat it, I already know that everyone is happy.  I wanted the author to show what Harper did with McKenzie when she got home.  For all we know, Harper could have gone back to her slightly brattier self when she got home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    My oppinion

    I sounds soo cool I would really like to read it. Looking at the books cover kind of pulled me in to see what it is about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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