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Release Date
May 17, 2022
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Twelve-year-old Maren is sure theater camp isn’t for her. Theater camp is for loud, confident, artsy people: people like her older sister, Hadley—the last person Maren wants to think about—and her cinema-obsessed, nonbinary bunkmate, Theo. But when a prank goes wrong, Maren gets drawn into the hunt for a diamond ring that, legend has it, is linked to the camp’s namesake, Charlotte “Charlie” Goodman, a promising director in Blacklist Era Hollywood.

When Maren connects the clues to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, she and her new friends are off searching through lighting booths, orchestra pits and costume storages, discovering the trail and dodging camp counselors. But they’re not the only ones searching for the ring, and with the growing threat of camp closing forever, they're almost out of time.

Editor review

1 review
Summer Theater Camp
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Maren is glad to go to summer camp to get away from problems at home surrounding her older sister, Hadley, but she still can't escape her sister's shadow, since she also had attended the Charlotte Goodman Theater Camp. Maren has a knack for solving little mysteries, like where Jo, the camp director, left her phone, and she settles in to her cabin. Roommate Theo, who identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns they/them, is interested in filming, and manages to irritate the other campers, especially after saying the name of the play the camp is putting on, MacBeth. There's already been an issue with the oldest counselor having gone missing, and there is a fear that this is the last year that the camp will be open, since there is development occurring around it. There's also the issue of the camp's history-- Charlotte Goodman was the daughter of a dancer and a set designer in Hollywood, and went into films herself, but unfortunately perished in a horrible fire in the 1950s. The camp was set up by her sister in her honor. There was another woman who died in the fire, and she had a very expensive engagement ring with her. The diamond has been rumored to be at the camp somewhere, and Maren starts to think that the counselor's disappearance had something to do with the clues she has found around camp, as well as rumored sightings of Charlotte's ghost. When developer Renee Wallace is seen lurking around the camp, Maren becomes more suspicious, and redoubles her efforts to find the diamond. In flashbacks, we see Charlotte's involvement in early Hollywood, and find out some secrets about her past. Will she and Theo be able to find the diamond, save the camp, and deal with the family issues that Maren will once again face when she returns home?
Good Points
There is a lot of good LGBTQIA+ representation in this book, and very good conversation on gender diversity with Dr. Jennifer Feldman at the back. A large plot twist revolves around the fact that Charlotte developed a romantic relationship with a female star, but I don't want to ruin the mystery! Theo's treatment is realistic, as they are not always treated well by some people but generally accepted. We didn't get a lot of information about Hadley's depression, but did see how it affected Maren. There is interesting information about the Red Scare in Hollywood; readers might want to pick up Brimner's Blacklisted!: Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment for more information. The fact that the camp might be endangered is realistic, and the alumni's support of it is touching. Since Charlotte was born in 1930, I think this was set in 2015 so that the timeline was a bit more realistic.

I know that there are some schools that get really into Shakespeare, but mine is not one of them. We have a small theater program now, but books about theater don't circulate very well.
What I really think: This is a good mystery for readers who like Snyder's 2011 William's Midsummer Dreams, Freeman's (2021) Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost, Condie's 2016 Summerlost or Asher's Upstaged.
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