A retelling of Much Ado about Nothing set at a summer camp.
Bee and Hana Leonato’s parents run Camp Dogberry, and this summer the sisters and other returning counselors have come prepared for drama. Everybody seems to have a history with or crush on someone else, and Bee’s and Hana’s will-they-or-won’t-they with counselors Ben and Claudia, respectively, are the subject of the other counselors’ scheming and gossip. Donald and John (guess who they are avatars of!) cause trouble and get in everyone’s way as the group of counselors try to trick the two couples into revealing their feelings for each other. Add to that Ben and Bee’s memories of what may or may not have happened last summer, when Ben declared that he wouldn’t be back next year. Through alternating perspectives, Booth (Saving Hamlet, 2016) constructs a comedy of errors enacted almost exclusively during noncamp events. Campers and traditional camp activities are side stories to the drama of being a counselor with an amount of freedom that stretches credibility. Bee is adopted from Ethiopia, while the other cast members are so vaguely described as to be assumed white. The concept of the novel is pitch-perfect; the execution is muddled, with no distinct character voices and a plot that is followable only if readers know the source material.
Readers would be better served by a camp story not stuck in a self-imposed narrative chokehold. (Fiction. 14-18)