Companion to Sleepaway Girls
By Jen Calonita
Available now from Poppy (Hachette)
It's the perfect time of year to get into the SUMMER STATE OF MIND. Harper McAllister's family moved to LA after her father (McDaddy) became a successful music video director. She's become a bit spendy as she works to fit in. But when McDaddy gets the credit card bill, he decides she's going to summer camp.
I've never read companion SLEEPAWAY GIRLS, but it's really not necessary. It's about characters who are counselors in SUMMER STATE OF MIND and not Harper. I really liked Harper. I don't share her obsession with aromatherapy candles or hair care, but I felt for her struggle to fit in. She relies on things because it's the best way she knows to make it work. That doesn't work so well at a summer camp, but there are still people worth meeting.
Harper's friends Lina and Ethan were terrific. Lina in particular is very different from Harper, a real sports maniac, but they both understand standing on the sidelines. Ethan is sweet like Harper, and always willing to talk. Harper's twin brother is also there, egging her on at every turn (since he thinks she can't hack it).
I found the descriptions of summer camp pretty dead on. (Except for the cabin raid. I think those only happen in movies. At least SUMMER STATE OF MIND gets how upsetting it would be to have your sheets and luggage ruined.) There's the zip line, the lake, the clean up, and the singing. There's also the enthusiasm whenever anything competitive happens.
SUMMER STATE OF MIND is a short read well suited to a long bath or rest by the pool. It's not a complicated book, but Harper's journey to remembering who she is beneath the materialism is well done. Don't expect twists and turns, but do expect fun.