Title: Slept Away
Author: Julie Kraut
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
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!
When Julie Kraut contacted me about reviewing her new book for teenagers, I immediately jumped at the chance. Slept Away seemed like a fun, light summer read that I was eager to try.
I really enjoyed getting to know Laney in Slept Away. Kraut manages to steer clear of stereotypes in this book – Laney was never the ridiculously shallow and superficial girl of many YA books. Instead, while she was interested in clothes, shoes, and makeup, she also wanted to get into a good college. She didn’t have the typical crush on an unattainable guy. I really liked how different this novel, and by extension, Laney, was.
Laney grew a lot during the course of Slept Away, and I enjoyed being on her summer camp journey with her. While she was still the same person at the end of the novel as she was at the beginning, she made some hard realizations about herself and those around her. I liked that she stepped outside of her comfort zone, but I wish we got to see what Laney was like once she returned home. Did her changes and self-reflection stick with her, or did she turn back into the person she was before going to camp? Might I hope there might be a sequel in the works to answer this question?
I have to say, Laney’s mother’s actions brought out the teenager in me while reading Slept Away. I was indignant on Laney’s behalf as to how her mother treated her! I couldn’t believe that she didn’t even consult her about going to camp – any fifteen year old would be pretty irritated by the whole situation, especially considering Laney barely knew when she was leaving or where she was going! (Though my indignant 15 year old self has to admit that might be Laney’s fault, as she gave her mother the silent treatment once she discovered what her summer plans were.)
I really enjoyed Slept Away and definitely recommend it if you are looking for a fun, light YA novel that is perfect for the summer. All the characters were well done, and I appreciated how Kraut tried to make them unique rather than sticking to caricatures. I also loved the sense of humor present throughout the novel. It was a fun read, and I’m glad I jumped at the chance to review it!