Four preteen girls converge at summer camp for eight weeks and discover new truths about themselves and one another.
Lauren, Isla, Archer, and Jade make up the girls of Firefly Cabin at Blueberry Pine Camp for Girls. Each girl has a reality that she’s reluctant to share with the others. Lauren is an orphan, lives in a foster home, and can only afford to attend camp on scholarship. Isla has asthma as well as strict parents who won’t let her attend coed dances. Archer has an older mean-girl sister who makes her life miserable. And Jade lost her best friend in a car accident that she’s still convinced is her fault. This is adult romance writer Ellingsen’s first book for children. While the story has an omniscient viewpoint, each chapter focuses on a different one of the four girls. When they’re not grinning, giggling, mad, or in tears, the Fireflies are engaging in secret handshakes, declaring undying devotion to one another, or pushing the envelope of camp rules. Unsurprisingly, they eventually become self-reflective and resolve their challenges, all in prose that milks their emotional ups and downs. The four main characters are white, with diversity seen in peripheral characters.
Captures the pace, spirit, and intensity of summer-camp friendships while occasionally leaning toward earnest, sentimental, and contrived. (Fiction. 8-12)