Title: Slept Away
Author: Julie Kraut
Published: May 2009 by Delacorte Books
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Girls | Camp
Includes: Sensuality, Profanity
First Lines: "Ok, look at that girl over there," Kennedy directed. She pulled her Diors down her nose a bit so I could see her eyes gesturing over to a girl in a tankini lying out across the pool.
Laney Parker is a complete city girl, hoping for a summer of tanning, kissing, partying, and hanging out with her best friend Kennedy. But her vegetarian/yoga obsessed mom has different plans: Camp Timber Trails. Laney automatically thinks it's the end of her life as she knows it, and is furious at her mom. At camp, Laney struggles with everything thrown at her: from dealing with male separation and caffeine withdrawal, to fluorescent colored skorts and mystery meat dinners. After being teased by all the other girls, and not having a friend to cry on, Laney knows it will be the worst summer of her life. But then she meets geeky Slyvie, and dorky yet charming Ryan. Could this summer camp maybe not be the nightmare she thought it was?
This novel was the classic story of spoiled, popular girl living a life outside of her comfort zone - only to learn there's more to life than just materialistic things. There wasn't much creativity in this predictable story, and the plot started to thin halfway through the book. One thing's for sure though: Kraut went the extreme to include references and allusions to pop culture today, on almost every page. For example she incorporated Facebook, iPhones, the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and Sarah Jessica Parker into the book. It was kind of weird to read about these things, which I hear about and use everyday. I didn't like it.
I used to go to summer camp every year while in middle school, so it was fun reading about the activities they did at Camp Timber Trails. I got to relive a couple of memories similar to Laney's, and could definitely relate to the sights, sounds, and smells she witnessed there.
Laney's character annoyed me. She was overly sarcastic on each page, and whined way too much. I mean, I understand she was out of her element at camp but after awhile it just got irritating. Sure, there were a few times when I felt sorry for Laney but overall her dramatic self-pity was uncalled for. There are much worse things than going to a sleepaway summer camp! Even after Laney realized that people are more than what they seem, I doubt she's going to go back home as a different person. I'm sure after a few weeks go by, she'll just turn back into the one-sided, gossipy, materialistic girl she was at the beginning. Laney seems like the type easily molded by circumstance and situation - I know the change won't be permanent.
The author put a lot of humor in each page, so I stayed entertained and even chuckled at a few parts. Some of the witty remarks she made sounded like something I would say myself! However, other times it sounded like Kraut was trying too hard to keep a teenage conversation flowing - and ended up making it sound super corny or something an adult says trying to sound "young and hip."
The book as a whole had a feeling of immaturity running through it, that made me question the value and purpose of the novel. But on the surface, Slept Away is a cute and mostly-enjoyable read for summer. I think tweens would like it more than older teenagers because of its lack of substance. It's a light and breezy book, but will quickly fade from my memory.
Book Supplied by: Won it in a blogger's contest!