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Sleepaway Girls


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About the Author

Jen Calonita is a former magazine editor who has interviewed everyone from Justin Timberlake to Reese Witherspoon. She lives in New York with her husband, Mike; sons, Dylan and Tyler; and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. She invites you to visit her online at


This novel set at a summer camp offers much of what one might expect: crushes on older counselors, cabin-mate rivalries, late-night sneak-outs and lots of bonding between campers. Counselor-in-training Sam is at a disadvantage when she first arrives at Whispering Pines in the Catskills. Unlike the other CITs, she is unfamiliar with her surroundings, having never attended a camp. Despite her rookie status, she proves to be a natural leader, but her pride in doing her job well is undermined by catty remarks from fellow CIT Ashley. Fortunately, Sam is able to form friendships with other girls, who soothe her sagging spirit and help her sort out her feelings for two boys, Hunter ("Mr. Ab-solutely perfect") and easy-to-be-with Cole. While Calonita (the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series) is well versed in camp routines and dynamics, some of the escapades-like a gigantic food fight Sam has with her rival-come off as a little cheesy, and some minor characters-especially Ashley and Hunter-appear manufactured. Nonetheless, Sam emerges as a likable, realistically flawed heroine, who proves that good girls can come out on top. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Gr 6-8-Samantha Montgomery is sick of her best friend's boyfriend taking her place. Mal used to call Sam first, sit by her at lunch, and do everything with her. Now it's Mark who's first in Mal's life, it looks like Sam will have to sit through an entire summer of their sickening sweet talk. Instead, she decides to volunteer as a counselor-in-training at a camp two hours away from home. There she finds three new friends, two hot guys, and one bitter enemy. Sleepaway Girls is a fast, uncomplicated read dealing lightly with issues of friendship, first love, and bullying. Though the resolutions seem a tad easy, they're appropriate for the tone of the novel. Sam and her campmates are believable characters and their bonding will make readers want to head for camp themselves. A perfect summer pick.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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