Counting Down to SLJ’s Popular Picks: Part 2By SLJ on March 28, 2016 In advance of the print debut of SLJ’s Popular Picks in the April 2016 issue, SLJ editors have chosen must-have works for kids and teens that appeared in the February 2016 issue.
DAVIDOWITZ, Stacy. Camp Rolling Hills: First Base. 240p. (Camp Rolling Hills: Bk. 1). Abrams/Amulet. May 2016. pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781419718854.
Gr 4-6 –Slimey is ready to get back to Camp Rolling Hills, having put in her 10 months in her regular life, and she wants to live her two months at camp to the fullest. Robert—soon to be known as Smelly—is new to camp and has been under a lot of stress lately; his mom has promised to send him his anxiety medicine if he needs it. A budding romance that culminates in a single three-second kiss and some hand-holding, the story is told mostly through funny, jocular dialogue among bunkmates and friends. Slimey is part of the older girls’ cabin and Smelly is her counterpart in the boys’ cabin. Camp high jinks and s’mores by the fire lend a feeling of semiautonomy and freedom away from parents, while the part-epistolary format gives the novel an authentic kid feel. Despite the generally upbeat tone, the characters work through some real anxieties and fears, relying on friends to help them through and build self-confidence. The “will they, won’t they” kiss conundrum lends itself to a slightly older, middle school audience. VERDICT A light summer read for the middle school set, especially those who enjoy summer camp stories with a touch of puppy love romance.–Ellie Lease, Harford County Public Library, MD