Gloria is headed for a summer of Geek Camp, an experience that will transform her.
Much like a latter-day Anne of Green Gables, Gloria is acutely aware of the exquisite promise of the moment, and she savors the myriad details of each memorable experience. She carries with her the Gloria Bishop Book of Ephemera, a sort of scrapbook for the detritus that makes memories, from fortune-cookie messages to a four-leaf clover plucked by Mason. He’s the most interesting of her classmates at a summer camp for gifted rising Kentucky high school seniors. Only she and three others have chosen the focus of Secrets of the Written Word, overseen by a quirky professor they call X. Together, the lovingly portrayed foursome explores the campus, spends lots of time at a small restaurant that serves breakfast all day and falls for each other as the best of friends—and in the case of Gloria and Mason, more than best friends. Gloria’s upbeat attitude, effectively depicted through her often funny, too-quickly-judgmental voice and the ineffable enthusiasm of the campers she encounters, offers a satisfying, thoughtful take on growing up.
In a promising debut, Combs crafts a strong, memorable female character and a broad collection of fully fleshed-out secondary players who share a magical summer. (Fiction. 12-18)