Camp Sylvania

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jun. 2023. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063114029.
Gr 4-7–Fifth grade is over, and this is the summer Maggie and her best friend, Nora, have been waiting for. Finally, it’s time to go to Camp Rising Star, where Maggie hopes to get over her stage fright and perform in the camp musical. Maggie’s parents spring different plans on her and insist she go to Camp Sylvania, a fat camp founded by the famous Sylvia Sylvania, with whom Maggie’s mom attended fat camp as a girl. At Camp Sylvania, Maggie and her bunkmates become fast friends, and there’s even a theater production to look forward to. However, things quickly become weird with a diet of strictly red foods, daily required blood donations, and creepy, mean counselors. When campers begin disappearing, and ghostly and vampiric appearances start happening, Maggie and her friends must stop the sinister plan. As the story unfolds, difficult topics of family acceptance and friendship issues are explored fully and satisfactorily. Murphy (Puddin’, Dumplin’) has created characters who experience all the usual tween feelings, from first crushes to confidence issues, with tenacity and determination.
VERDICT Readers looking for a slightly spooky, fast-paced adventure with fully developed characters will delve into this one.

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