Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Sisterhood Of The Camping Pants

Posh gets her summer camp fix with Una LaMarche's Five Summers.

Sisterhood Of The Camping Pants

BOOK REPORT for Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Cover Story: Honest
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy
Bonus Factors: Summer Camp, Capture the Flag
Relationship Status: Summer Fling

Cover Story: Honest

With this cover, what you see is what you get, and I totally respect that. From one glance, you can easily surmise that this book is about four girlfriends in some kind of outdoor locale. And in case you needed any extra clues, the sunset is code for CHICK LIT.

The Deal:

Maddie, Jo, Emma and Skylar have been best friends ever since the day they met at Camp Nedoba. After four magical summers of outdoor adventures, late night gossip sessions and camp romance, these four girls have forged a deep bond of sisterhood. And now, seven years after they first came together, they're returning to Nedoba for a reunion. But even though the bug juice still tastes the same, the girls themselves have changed, and their lives have taken them in unexpected and opposing directions. All four girls hope that one weekend of camp can restore their friendship, but nostalgia for the past may not be enough to bridge the chasm of the present.

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

These four girls are straight out of the Anne M. Martin Handbook. Emma is the Mary Anne-- the smart, bookish one who has finally blossomed. Jo is the tomboy who always plays it safe (Kristy), and Skylar is the gorgeous, artsy boy magnet (Stacey & Claudia). The only one who's hard to classify is Maddie, who is defined by her terrible home life. (Did anyone in Stonybrook have a parent in rehab?) These archetypes make it easy for readers to identify with certain characters, but when you put them all together, you get SO. MUCH. DRAMA. And I am way too old for that shizz. In spite of signing a cheesy friendship pact, these girls spend most of the book keeping secrets and failing to actually be friends, and there is nothing more obnoxious than people who talk the bestie talk but don't walk the bestie walk. I think these characters will appeal to teen readers, but I've already lived through petty fights and unnecessary conflicts, so I don't need to reunite with that shizz at Camp Nedoba.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

There's two main love interests in this book. One of them, Nate, is a super sweetheart and stand-up guy. He's the "fat kid turned hottie" cliche, and he's nursed a secret crush on Jo for years. His unrequited feelings certainly added a few tingles, but Jo's obliviousness (i.e. gigantic idiocy) ruined most of the romance for me. And then there's Adam. Adam is, in a word, a dick. Both Emma and Skylar have feelings for him, and while crushes on assholes are common in high school (and long after), it was difficult to understand why, exactly, anyone would sustain an attraction to such a tool.

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy

The chapters flip flop between the present day and different summers in the past, which nicely (if not complexly) builds the layers of friendship between the characters. By rotating between all four girls, the narrative focus allows the reader to get to know Maddie, Emma, Jo and Skylar as individuals, and while their identities are based on common molds, their struggles are expressed in a compelling fashion. LaMarche writes in a light, engaging style that makes for a quick read, and the soapy quality of the story is perfect for the beach (or your camp bunk).

Bonus Factor: Summer Camp

I always wanted to go to one of those summer camps where you make life-long friends, learn weird campfire songs and sneak off into the woods at night to make out with boys. However, since I was a huge nerd, the closest I ever got to this dream was a creative writing camp, so I guess you could say that I've spent my entire life trying to fill that camp-shaped void in my life. I even had a summer camp WEDDING. So yeah, this bonus factor is a big one for me, and Camp Nedoba did not disappoint.

Bonus Factor: Capture the Flag

If Capture the Flag was a televised sport, I would watch the shizz out of it. I would start hanging out at sports bars, placing bets with bookies and playing in a fantasy Capture the Flag league. Because Capture the Flag is that awesome. (In fact, I wish this entire book was dedicated to Capture the Flag because then it would be MY FAVORITE.)

Casting Call:

Shailene Woodley as Emma

Sophie Turner as Maddie

Katie Findlay as Jo

Alicia Banit as Skylar

Relationship Status: Summer Fling

This book quickly seduced me with playful charms and juicy tales of camp, and we definitely had fun together. It was easy to be with, and it didn't demand much of my attention. Our hook-up was casual and lighthearted, which is just what I need in the summer, and, like a sunburn, our connection will fade with the approach of fall.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Razorbill. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Five Summers is available now.

 

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).