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Sleeping Bags and Books

I love summer for the flip flops, the roasting of marshmallows, and the great summer books. When I was younger, I went to a few camps–Girl Scout day camp and two basketball camps — but there were no cute boys and no campfire, and I never made lifelong friends. When I was young, I loved the Baby-Sitters Club books, and I read and reread Baby-Sitters’ Summer Vacation because I wanted that experience. In case you’re spending the summer at home this year, you can live vicariously through these fun books.

Sports and Fitness Camp

Huge by Sasha Paley (which was adapted for TV on ABC Family for one season): Wilhelmina can’t believe her parents forced her to go to fat camp. They own a chain of fitness centers and she’s not good for their image. Rebelling, she vows not to lose a single pound during the summer. Her attitude makes her bunkmate angry, especially when the two of the go after the same guy. Will the girls learn to get along?

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis: Shelby follows her heart, which leads her into trouble. This time trouble equals summer camp, and not the leisurely camp with sports or canoe rides down the river — this is brat camp. It’s where the rich send their children for hard work and therapy and to learn discipline. It’s basically the worst possible way to spend your summer. Just when she thinks she might have everything under control, a boy appears. He’s a handsome British boy with a secret, and he has disaster written all over him.

Summer Ball by Mike Lupica: In this sequel to Travel Team, Danny Walker, very short for his age, led his travel basketball team to the national championships – and won. As he heads for camp, he hopes for a growth spurt that doesn’t come. Boys are eyeing him and wondering if he’ll measure up to all the hype. He finds himself separated from his friends and stuck on the bench during games. Can he prove to everyone that he belongs on the court?

Arts Camp

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison: Tallulah Casey, Georgia Nicolson’s younger cousin with long legs, knobby knees, and no corkers, is off to the Yorkshire moors for the summer at a performing arts school. She’s hoping the location, similar to Wuthering Heights, will automatically produce her own Heathcliff. Tallulah can’t wait to show off her stuff, except she can’t sing, her dancing tends to be a bit wild, and her acting is questionable. Nevertheless, she’s having the time of her life and hopes that the final production of Wuthering Heights will push her over the edge for consideration for a permanent place at the school.

Sleepover Camp

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita: Sam can’t handle a summer being the third wheel when her best friend gets a boyfriend, so she finds a job as a CIT (counselor in training) at a camp. She’s never been to camp before, and when she arrives, she’s in culture shock. She’s the only new girl there and she makes quite an entrance. Sam had no idea that people look forward to camp all year long or that camp traditions existed. She tries to make the best of it, and before long she’s making new friends and checking out the cute boys.

Trust Me by Rachel Hawthorne: Jess had an amazing summer all lined up. She’s finally old enough to be a counselor with all her friends at summer camp. Then she learns she’s stuck with Sean, her nemesis during training week. She’s been fooled by him in the past and vows not to fall for his tricks again, even if he has gotten cuter. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to find a way to work together on the forest trust walk. Each pair has to make their way back to camp by themselves, with one partner blindfolded. Will they make it out of the forest as friends or foes?

Camp with Magic

Spells and Sleeping Bags by Sarah Mlynoswki (the third in a series): Life is so unfair! Just when Rachel gets her witchy powers, she’s shipped off to Camp Wood Lake where she’s not allowed to use to her powers. But whatever her mom doesn’t know can’t hurt. Besides, there are a lot of mosquitoes in the woods. Her little sister Miri isn’t mingling and making friends. Plus Rachel wants to have the perfect romantic night with Raf. She just needs to use a little magic to make it all happen.

Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs: In this sequel to Oh. My Gods., Phoebe’s having problems controlling her magical powers: unwillingly, her thoughts transform through her magic. She’s worried her actions will anger the gods and they will react in consequence. Her new stepfather decides to enroll her in Goddess Boot Camp before heading on his honeymoon. But he conveniently forget to mention the camp is for 10-year-olds or that her new step-sister is a counselor.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson attracts monsters to him now that he’s turned twelve. He just got expelled from another school after an attack on a field trip. Now, home for the summer, he learns about his past: he’s the son of Poseidon and therefore a demi-god. With a little help from a friend, he makes it to Camp Half Blood just in time. At Camp Half Blood, he begins to understand what it means to be a demi-god and what that means for his future after he’s told he’s the only one that can stop a major war between the gods.

Other great camp books

  • A Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan
  • Boot Camp by Todd Strasser
  • Campfire Crush by Cylin Busby
  • Dramarama by E. Lockhart
  • Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger
  • Slept Away by Julie Kraut
  • Fat Camp by Deborah Blumenthol
  • Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
  • So Much to Live For by Lurlene McDaniel

— Jennifer Rummel, currently reading (and LOVING) Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

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I'm a YA Librarian who love love loves books and reading. My favorite types of books include mysteries, romance, thrillers, and spy books. I adore crafty books, regency romances, and cozy mysteries. When I'm not reading or talking about books, I love baking, crafting, and watching the Celtics.

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  1. amy amy

    My dad was a teacher during the school year and a pool manager in the summer, so I never did the camp thing. But, I read plenty of camp books and now must go and see if any libraries still have There’s a Pizza Back in Cleveland or Hail Hail Camp Timberwood. (Yes, I’m a finely aged librarian.)

  2. […] Summer camp books, perfect for those of us who never went to summer camp. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like2 bloggers like this post. […]

  3. Don’t forget Chiggers by Hope Larson!

  4. Elaine Elaine

    The Camp Confidential Series, by Melissa Morgan, is a fun series! My daughter, who has been going to a YMCA camp for years, and will be in their Leadership program this summer, read the Camp Confidential series over and over.

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