The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams (July 14th 2009—Hyperion)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary: “For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper, but as a counselor, while her best friend, Katie Bell remains behind. All too quickly, Helena discovers that the innocent world of campfires, singalongs, and field days have been pushed aside for late night pranks on the boys' camp, skinny dipping in the lake, and stolen kisses in the hayloft. As she struggles to define herself in this new world, Helena begins to lose sight of what made camp special and the friendships that have sustained her for so many years. And when Ransome, her longtime crush, becomes a romantic reality, life gets even more confusing.”
Review: I think I need to stay away from the camp books. It seems that every one I read never really leaves a deep and enjoyable impact.
The Lost Summer was good. Just not something I ever plan to reread. It has your basic girl meets guy, girl and guy hooks up type of premise, and yet a bit more.
It dealt with the issue of growing up. Of course you lose and gain friends as time goes by and The Lost Summer tells of this. Helena makes a rash decision to ditch her long time friend Katie Bell for the new and exciting friendship with Winn, a fellow counselor. It teaches that two worlds can come together or make some form of attempt.
The camp pranks and activities were fun as they were described in some detail. I enjoyed how the author gave the spotlight on the secondary characters at points. Childhood innocence can best be portrayed in a child. Before the boys, before the petty arguments, we can read what it was like to just be friends who loved the others company—simple.
Helena is the typical teenage that tries to find her niche in life and camp. So when Ransome (I’m not sure how much I like that name…) finally notices her, after a secret crush that she’s had since she was just a camper, Helena is overjoyed. The relationship was much too fast. On some accounts it was unbelievable especially with the sex in the hay stack. It could have happened I guess but I never was fond of some things about Ransome. Chewing tobacco—it just looks disgusting, how some girls find it attractive beats me.
The ending was over too soon. I couldn’t picture the accident well enough in my head. Did she swerve right but still crashed into the other boat? Or did she swerve and hit something else? Wait, what!? Next thing you know Helena was in a coma for 5 weeks and camp is over. That and Katie Bell and Winn became almost friends (I could imagine them having a full-blown cat fight in the middle of the cafeteria) with Ransome visiting everyday until he had to go back to school. Would I have wanted any other way is what I’m trying to figure out. Do I like this happy ending? Was it too sweet for even me to endure? But what if something had happened, would I still find faults? I guess the ending for now I will come to accept.
Overall: Not what I expected but in some ways I did. I think I’m going to stay clear of any more camp based novels.
The ARC cover is different from the final cover. I kind of like the ARC version better because it portrays more of the actual book than the final version.