It's a place full of magical possibilities, endless friendships, first loves, and great adventures — that's right, it's summer camp, and even if you weren't lucky enough to go to one yourself, there are plenty of fictional summer camps from books to help you capture all that sleepaway nostalgia and magic.
Even though I begged and pleaded with my parents, I never got to go to summer camp myself, so I was forced to live vicariously through television, movies, and, of course, books. As a kid, I dreamed of meeting my long lost twin at Camp Walden, and from June to August, I sang nothing but the Salute Your Shorts theme song. I even considered shoplifting so I could get my chance to stir up mischief at Camp Green Lake. As I got older, I imagined how cool it would be to have a job at Camp Firewood, and I even mused over what kind of trouble I could get into at a place like Tall Oaks Band Camp.
But can you tell why I really, really wanted to go to camp?
To me, summer camp was a place where you met your best friends and future bridesmaids. It was where you found yourself, and, if you're lucky, your true love — or at least your real first kiss. It was also the place of panty raids, pranks on counselors, bathing suit mishaps, and inside jokes. Really, summer camp is a adolescent's dream come true, and one that I never got to live first hand.
So if you're like me and you've always wanted to spend your summer in a cabin, here are 9 fictional camps from books you might want to consider:
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
If you were the type of kid who read Shakespeare for fun or carried a sketch book wherever you went, then your dream camp would have been a place like Spirit-in-the-Woods. Writing workshops, drama exercises, and a whole lot of interesting people beat out hiking, swimming, and camping for you any day. Not to mention, your fellow campers are beautiful, brooding artists just waiting to kiss you under the moonlight. Sign me up!
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Okay, so you might have to be a demigod to get in, but Camp Half-Blood is a more than magical place to spend your summer vacation. It's got your basics — archery, canoeing, arts and crafts — but who can pass up an entire stable of pegasus or a chance at trying to find their way out of the labyrinth.
Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Set in the idyllic woods of New Hampshire, Camp Nedoba is a place of endless summer and sunshine, boys and bug juice, friendship pacts and first crushes. It's the kind of camp where you learn who you are and who you want to be. A sweet and sentimental place, if you're nostalgic for your own adolescence, Camp Nedoba is your summer home-away-from home.
Camp Washiska Lake
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
If you wanted your summer camp experience to take you to a whole new world, then maybe Camp Washiska Lake is the perfect place for you. I mean, who wouldn't want to spend their summer months crossing the boundaries between the real world and a world of fantastical creatures, distressed princesses, daring adventures, and, of course, first kisses? Forget kayaking on the lake, I'll take battling unknown monsters any day.
Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Maybe you missed your chance as a camper, but it's never to late to be a counselor, and there's an opening at Whispering Pines. Tucked away in New York's Catskills, freedom and friendship reign over the summers at this sleepaway camp. If you want the classic camp experience, pack your bathing suit, sunglasses, and plenty of bug spray and get ready to find your new best friends in your fellow counselors.
Camp Eden Lake
Eden Lake by Jane Roper
A camp is only as good as the people who are a part of it — the counselors, the campers, the owners — and no one has a better group than Camp Eden Lake. Charming, quirky, and full of secrets (I mean, what family doesn't have secrets?), Eden Lake's owners will fill your summer with campfires, fireflies, and a whole lot of love.
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
When reminiscing about your own camp days aren't enough, head to Camp Okahatchee, where the photo booths are magical time-traveling machines. You'll be transported to a place and time where the memories are still sweet and the bonds are strong as ever. Never mind the reunion, reliving the real thing would be way cooler.
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
Don't let the name mislead you — "Geek Camp" is quite possibly one of the coolest camps out there. It's a camp for gifted people, the kind of place where you learn to be yourself in a world of diverse, interesting people.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
OK, I never played soccer, but for a camp in Mexico with white sand beaches as the setting, independent, driven women as campers, and hot soulmates as counselors, I would learn. Sure, there might be a some emotional turmoil that goes with it, but
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