Thursday, 4 June 2009

Review - Slept Away / Julie Kraut

Summary - 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!

Review - I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this novel as I am one of those foreigners that has idealised camp due to copious viewings of The Parent Trap (both original and remake). Laney is by all appearances one of those "mean girls" but I really didn't see any evidence of this. Sure she's shallow but her criticisms against her mother and step-kinda-father seem occasionally justified. For instance, if my mother sent me to camp without any warning and had packed my luggage with items she thought were appropriate, I would have a coronary (even at my advanced age). Skorts are never cool. Even a middle aged mother should appreciate that.

Slept Away tells the tale of Laney's burgeoning awareness that people (and herself) are more than their outer shell. She sees the appeal in an old acquaintance, although I do take issue with the fact that a lot of that attraction is due to his popularity in the camp-sphere. That being said, Ryan's a sweetheart. His assistance in pairing up their respective clueless nerdy friends is very fun.

The enemy - or the Billboard Butt Girls - are fun. They allow for some great complications, bitchy interplay and general teen nastiness. Laney's new bestie is the best kind of friend and it's through their interactions that she finds support, humour and a makeover subject in. Brandt and his snot and wee issues got a little old after awhile but I can see a younger audience really relating to the hilarity of his declarations. The comedy's there but at time I wished it weren't so reliant on pop culture references, they could have be scaled back so as not to take the reader out of the story.

A great, fun, summer read!

Published: May 26 2009
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Published: Delacorte Books for Younger Readers
Origin: USA
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GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I'm in the middle of this one too, and I totally thought of Parent Trap when she first got to camp!:) Summer camp for me was air conditioned fine arts camp, so I feel like I can relate to Laney with being clueless to the outdoors. So far it's a cute read, but I know what you mean on the pop culture references-at times it reads like a Gilmore Girls script!

Alea said...

Yay! I'm so glad you finally got to read it!

Thao said...

It sounds like a summer read I cannot miss. Thanks for the review Adele.

Julie said...

Thanks for the review, Adele!

Busy Bookblogger said...

Thanks for the great, honest review! I think I am taking this one to the beach with me this summer! :)