"Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper's parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.
Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can't climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp "Lifer" Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends--and stay out of trouble--she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.
A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita's hit Sleepaway Girls."
Summer camp is fun for those who absolutely love outdoors. Even though there are some people who hate outdoor activity, they can learn to love it. Harper McCallister, who is an epic fashionista and lover of manicures (and makeup and clothes and shoes and bedazzled things), is definitely hating on summer camp. She struggles to make friends with her distant cabin mates, but no matter what she does, things just get worse.
Secrets of My Hollywood Life is among my favorite books, and Jen Calonita gives me another to add. Summer State of Mind is quirky, humorous, delightful, and unique. It is everything, and I love how open and amazing it is.
The story flows easily and smoothly. Every second is perfect, and each transition is clean. Readers can be taken back to the days of summer camp, and memories of watching The Parent Trap will immediately be recalled. The "boys versus girls" subplot makes me laugh, the romance makes me swoon (a little more on that later), and Harper's own character development makes me smile in awe of her.
Harper is the fashion girl, and she is indeed clueless. She is ignorant in an adorable way, and no matter what people do to her, she always has a reason to smile and keep going. She doesn't break down easily (and sometimes being clueless is good). She is a very understandable character, whose characteristics are obvious and straightforward. Her character development is subtle at first, but Jen Calonita quickly breaks down Harper's walls and lets her learn things on her own. She is a greatly flawed character, but she does tries her best.
The romance between Harper and Ethan is definitely swoonworthy. They share a weak foundation in the beginning, but at summer camp, they slowly build their relationship. Without the pressures of popularity and friends and cell phones, Harper lets herself loose. Ethan (who is a precious cinnamon roll) gets to know her. Their chemistry is unmistakable and subtle. Once you know it is there, you see all of the signs.
Overall, Summer State of Mind is a charming story about a summer away from everything a girl knows. She manages to make new friends and relearn everything she has forgotten. It is realistic, and the book will leave everyone wishing they can escape to a summer camp. Best recommended for young teens and up.
Rating: Four out of Five