Review Detail

5.0 1
Young Adult Indie 803
Nostalgia about summer camp... gone wrong!
Overall rating
 
3.7
Writing Style
 
3.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Holly, Denise, Calista, and Zoe are all in high school, ready to plan the next chapters of their lives when they find out that their favorite camp counselor, has died. Violet, who was a strong swimmer, drowned in her mother's swimming pool, and the girls suspect foul play right away. When Violet was their counselor, her boyfriend went missing, and another girl at the camp was found dead, so there is reason to be suspicious. The four reconvene for a long weekend to attend the funeral and other memorial events, and try to solve the mystery despite other problems going on in their lives. Holly is glad to be away from home, where she lives with her mother after her father's death, and her very controlling boyfriend. Zoe is hoping to meet a young man to marry, since her college prospects are limited, and even spends times on dating apps, meeting men in bars with a fake identity card. Denise is romantically interested in one of the college friends that is grieving Violet's passing, Janie, which causes complications. Calista has a large, close-knit family, and isn't sure how she will be able to move forward without them. As the story unfolds, we find that Violet had a lot of influence over the girls, who were in late elementary and middle school. For the first four years, Violet was a fun counselor, but during the last year, she took an odd turn. She had the girls spying on other campers, stealing items from people, and generally being sneaky and dishonest. What part did she have in the disappearance of her boyfrience, and the death of the girl? What did she do that caused the past to have such serious repercussions? And will the former campers investigating her death solve the mystery and manage to stay safe themselves?

Good Points
Summer camp seems like such an innocent experience, and the girls have generally good memories of Violet. Slowly, details begin to emerge about the ways that she manipulated and mistreated their trust, but I don't want to spoil any of the plot! There's plenty of dark secrets, clandestine assignations, and murderous subplots to keep readers turning the pages of this dark and twisted tale.

This is told from alternate viewpoints of the four main characters, Holly, Denise, Calista, and Zoe. I found this to be a little confusing, but readers who enjoy this style will love the deep dives into the circumstances of each. I thought Holly was the most interesting character, and was glad that she was able to get away from her controlling boyfriend, but didn't like the way that the other girls treated her.

Since the girls often engage in more adult behaviors, like drinking, and have a more mature vocabulary, this is more suited to young adult readers who enjoyed titles like Natasha Preston's The Island (2023)and Stoffel's Fright Night (2020). Younger readers who want similarly creepy titles with a more upper middle grade approach to social behavior might look instead at Henry's Eyes of the Forest (2021).
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