Friday, July 9, 2010

Bummer Summer

I'm going to recap all the non-BSC Ann books that I own...this is the book that won the poll I posted awhile back. :)


12 year old Kammy Whitlock is having a tough time of it. Her dad has just gotten remarried (her mom died when Kammy was four), and she's just not adjusting to the new family situation particularly well. Kate (the stepmother) is not only MUCH younger than Kammy's dad, but she comes complete with a 3 year old daughter, Muffin, and a baby son who (I kid you not) hasn't been named yet. The baby is colicky, Muffin gets into Kammy's stuff, and Kammy is embarrassed to be seen in public with her new family. The idea of summer camp had been brought up a few times, but Kammy's not into that kind of thing. Finally, though, she agrees to give it a try for two weeks; if she doesn't like it, she'll be free to come back home rather than stay for the rest of the summer.

Camp Arrowhead is decent, as camps go. Kammy's counselor, Nancy, is pretty nice, and she makes friends with her bunkie (Emily) right off the bat. Kammy's also excited to start horseback riding, and spending time in the arts and crafts cabin. There are more cons than pros to Kammy's initial camp experience, though. She can't find her way to the bathroom on her first night, and has to go in the woods. The next morning, Kammy realizes that she's going to have to change in front of the other girls, which is not something she's okay with doing. Swimming is also a problem; Kammy is actually a good swimmer, but she's scared of the lake. She claims she can't swim at all in the hopes of avoiding it entirely, but her plan doesn't work; she's placed in a beginners' class with a bunch of six year olds. Mealtimes prove to be another issue. The girls aren't allowed to sit with their cabinmates, and each person is supposed to take turns serving the meal. Kammy is terrified at the thought of doing this, and just heads back to her cabin instead of to the mess hall when her first turn serving comes. Her counselor and the camp director make a frantic search for her, and when they find her, Kammy's in trouble.

While Kammy is busy dealing with all her issues, she's also dealing with Susie, one of her cabinmates. Susie is a total Miss Perfect type, and she's taken a serious dislike to Kammy. Kammy decides that she needs to "get" Susie, so she enlists Emily's help after swimming one day. When Susie is the shower, they take her clothes and run them back to the cabin. Susie is frantic, of course, and Emily volunteers to go back to the cabin to see if maybe Susie forgot that she'd changed up there. Emily finds the clothes, and it looks like she and Kammy are going to get away with their little trick. Not so much; not only did they take Susie's swimsuit up to the cabin along with the clothes, but Susie herself catches the two girls celebrating their success. Both girls are put on dish washing duty that night, and Mrs. Wright, the camp director, calls Kammy's parents. Kammy gets to talk to them too, and she tells them some of what's been going on. They're pretty understanding, and Kammy promises to try harder.

Making an effort when it comes to Susie continues to be tough. No matter how much Kammy ignores her nemesis, Susie continues to tease. Kamy decides that revenge is probably a better option than the silent treatment, so she and Emily scare Susie stiff with "Three Fingered Willie." Kammy gets more dish duty for THAT stunt. Overall, though, Camp Arrowhead is improving upon further acquaintance. Kammy's gotten involved with the camp drama group, and she's in advanced horseback riding. Mrs. Wright even calls her into her office again for a friendly chat, and when Kammy is completely honest about all the fears and issues she has, Mrs. Wright is totally willing to work with her to come up with compromises. It looks like the summer might not be so bad after all...until Kammy heads to the arts and crafts cabin one day. She'd been working on a quilt for her baby stepbrother, and when she opens the box that it's being kept in, she finds it shredded. Kammy can't even think; she runs back to her cabin in tears and spills the whole story to Nancy, who's the only one there at the time. Kammy calms down by the time the other girls in her cabin get back from their activities. They can see that she's upset, but before she can tell them what happened, Susie tells her that she's sorry to hear what happened to the quilt. This is odd, considering that Kammy had told NO ONE except Nancy about it. Kammy knows that it was Susie who ruined her project, but she doesn't let it show. As soon as she can, she pulls Emily aside and tells her what's going on. They decide that they REALLY need to get revenge on Susie, so they arrange for all the girls in the cabin to get invites to a pajama party by the lake at midnight. Susie's invitation is for 11:45pm, though. Kammy is planning to scare her silly with a reenactment of "Three Fingered Willie," so Susie will be freaking out when the other girls get there. When the big night arrives, Kammy can't go through with it. She tells Susie about the trick, and explains that she knows about the quilt. Kammy asks her why she did what she did, and Susie admits that she's been jealous of Kammy all along. Susie tries so hard to do things right and be perfect, and no one likes her. On the other hand, Kammy has gotten in trouble and had all these issues, and EVERYONE likes her. Kammy agrees to keep quiet about the quilt as long as Susie leaves her alone for the rest of camp. Susie agrees. The girls don't exactly become friends, but they're much more cordial than before.

Parents' Day arrives. Kammy is really surprised that she's excited to see her dad, Kate, Muffin, and the baby. The play that the drama group has been rehearsing goes really well, and Kammy's family likes seeing the rest of the camp. In spite of all this, Kammy is ready to go back home when she's asked what her final decision is. Then, she gets to thinking. She has a lot of unfinished business at camp: she doesn't want to desert Emily, and she wants to start on a new quilt for the baby. So, Kammy decides to stay after all. She also comes up with a name for the baby as her dad and Kate as they're leaving: he's going to be Robert, after Kammy's dad.

Rating: 3.5

Thoughts and Things
  • Ann's first book! :D
  • Camp Arrowhead is supposed to be Kammy's uncle's sister in law's camp. I'm assuming that that's Mrs. Wright, but there's NO mention of a connection between the two at any point during camp.
  • Kammy really does get a raw deal at home. Muffin is coddled and spoiled, and gets away with everything, while Kammy is blamed and punished. Not fair!
  • Why in the world are all the girls in Kammy's cabin going off in different directions all day long? Don't cabinmates usually do all their activities together?
  • I'm really surprised that Kammy got along with everyone at camp as well as she did. In my experience, the one who causes trouble and has a lot of weird issues is the one who gets excluded.
  • At the end of the book, after Kammy decides to stay at camp, she says she has to go tell her cabinmates the news. The weird part? She never told them that she might leave after two weeks.
  • They totally need summer camps for adults. I miss camp!
  • I am so writing a camp-related novel one day. Maybe multiple camp novels. :)


  1. One of my cousins had a baby in December who was unnamed for a week and a half...but not nearly long enough to get married and ship a stepkid off to camp. He was just Mr. Lastname for a while until the nickname his three-year-old sister was using ended up close enough to a real name, and it stuck.

  2. So... really, they waited that long to name it after the dad? I had names picked out for future children for ages. I get the whole, "Let's meet the baby before naming it," but... to make it a jr. after so long seems lame.
    I've only been to week-long camps, but often we'd be split into teams not related to cabins. It would've driven me a little crazy being with the cabin all the time. The book sounds interesting though.

  3. I love this book. I read it over and over as a child and have a copy of it here on by bookshelf! (I also have a lot of BSC books, so that's maybe not that unusual a thing) I think of it all the time.

  4. I can't understand people who have babies with no name- it should be named within a few days! I had all my baby names picked out since I was around 12 and I can understand the whole "let's just wait until we meet baby until we lock in a name" which is what we did, because sometimes you see baby and then it turns out they're just meant to be a certain name. And I can understand parents who can't decide on which name they love the most for a day or so, but to have a baby for that long with no name...stupid! My friend was renamed three times within the first two months!

  5. This sounds like a great book, I wish it was available in the UK maybe it's on kindle I will look later. It reminds me a little bit of The Parent Trap (1998 NOT 1961)