A group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or to guide them home.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls—Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan—through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through the lens of different women. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves—and the pasts we can’t escape.
I can’t resist a book with an ensemble cast, especially if the characters are thrown together in an unusual or high-stakes situation. I love trying to get into each character’s head and analyze the group dynamics, the allying and backstabbing. My favorite part is picking which character I relate to the most and rooting for them (and maybe actively rallying against the characters I don’t like). The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is, of course, right up my alley. Five tweens at sleepaway camp, paddle out on an overnight kayak trip with an elderly camp counselor who turns out not to be in not great physical shape. Plans change, disaster strikes, and a quiet mayhem ensues. I say quiet because the action doesn’t rise to “Lord of the Flies” levels of anarchy and violence, but the growing desperation of the campers and their pragmatism (or maybe the word is callousness? – depends on your interpretation) in the face of obstacles creates a creeping dread that just sucks the reader in.
A note on the structure: This book is as much about the incident at camp as it is about the rest of the girls’ lives afterwards. The camp sections are woven between short story-like chapters detailing each of the girls’ adult lives in turn. Some readers might be more interested in the headline-grabbing story of five girls stranded in the woods and find the adult sections superfluous. For me, though, it was a way to get to know each of the characters really well, which is exactly what I wanted. It was striking to me how some of the girls were drastically changed as adults, barely recognizable except in fleeting moments as the kids they used to be, while others seemed stuck in some kind of permanent preadolescence, unable to move on or grow up.
I recommend this to our travel nurses, techs, and beyond – for men and women alike. Click HERE to order it before your next Travel Nurse destination!