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THERE'S A BAT IN BUNK FIVE by Paula Danziger


by Paula Danziger

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1981
ISBN: 0142406813
Publisher: Delacorte

Danziger's camp novel has Marcy from The Cat Ate My Gymsuit tapped by English teacher Ms. Finney to be a CIT (Counselor-in-Training) at a summer arts camp. After one day with the other counselors and another with the kids, Marcy and her senior counselor are close enough to "adopt" each other as sisters, and she and male counselor Ted establish a relationship that is "more than a crush." (She's already overcome a potential crush on Jimmy, the camp Don Juan.) More realistically, the obligatory camp pill, Ginger, does not become a lovable team player. Her problems might be too big for the camp to solve, camp head Ms. Finney (now Barbara) finally admits when Ginger runs away. Still, Marcy feels guilty for being too wrapped up with Ted and such to attend to the younger girl's needs. Marcy for her part is counseled by Barbara, still a model adult, with no "magic pills" for anyone but lots of support which encourages them all to talk out their problems. On a swing at night she speaks to Marcy about becoming adult, putting problems in perspective, and not expecting perfection of herself or others. From Barbara's exemplary surrogate-parenting to Marcy's continuing lack of communication with her father and her new fear of her feelings when kissing Ted, this gives us pop-psychology profiles instead of imagined characters and shallow with-it attitudes instead of sincere probing. Danziger's fans probably won't mind, but neither will they be stretched an inch.