From Night Owl to Dogfish
When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends--and possibly, one day, even sisters.
But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can't imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?
Then the unthinkable occurs. After a disastrous trip in China, the fathers break up. The girls were invested in the future of this relationship, but so were Kristina and Gaga. The girls return to their lives, continue to communicate, and are devastated when the fathers are interested in other people. They plan a rendezvous at the premier of Gaga's play in New York, but their plans don't go according to their desires. Soon, they are planning to trick their fathers into sending them to the same summer camp. Since Gaga is paying for Bett's tuition, they manage to both attend a traditional summer camp in Maine. Here, their communication is in the former of paper and pen letters, and includes a wider variety of recipients. The girls grow apart a bit, but a tragedy brings them, as well as their families, together in an unexpected way.
Since this book covers two years' of summer camp plus the intervening time, there's a lot of change and growth for the characters. We see Bett calm down a it and not be quite as angry with life, and see Avery be a bit more adventurous and less anxious. My favorite character is Gaga, who completely reinvents herself by becoming a Broadway actress in her retirement years! It's interesting to have an outsider's view of the fathers' different relationships as well, and to see how they impact the girls.
Books about camp are always popular (I think not as many young people get to go to camp these days!), and family and friend dramas are the mainstay of middle grade literature. Readers who want to explore these topics, and to be introduced to some "old fashioned" methods of correspondence will be intrigued by Avery and Bett's communication in To Night Owl from Dogfish.