Summer camp means lots of things: new friends, roommates, bug bites, bathroom duty...But it's also a chance to be on your own and to reinvent yourself. A shy girl can become the belle of the ball, and ajock might find new competition. Natalie, Jenna, Grace, and Alex have all found themselves at Camp Lakeview for different reasons. And each is keeping a secret. But if everyone is hiding something, how will they ever become friends?
Natalie Goode is a city girl-way more interested in fresh sushi than fresh air. So she's bummed when her mother ships her off to "Camp Lake-puke" to broaden her horizons. But before long, Natalie notices there are some pretty cool girls are camp (and even some cute boys, too). If she can loosen up, she might even enjoy herself-unless the secret she's been keeping gets in her way...
Launching the Camp Confidential series, this lukewarm tale centers on an 11-year-old New Yorker whose mother sends her to Camp Lakeview for eight weeks. Convinced she is "allergic to nature," Natalie is anything but thrilled about experiencing the great outdoors and eating camp food rather than sushi. But her attitude improves after she bonds with an artsy, sensitive bunkmate and takes a shine to a "boy-person with denim blue eyes" who shares her love of The Simpsons ("We're perfect for each other!' she thinks). Given the obvious clues, readers will likely guess Natalie's "secret": her father is a famous film actor, a fact she has hidden from her fellow campers so that they could get to know her on her terms. Alas, all is revealed when the superstar and his girlfriend roll into camp in a limo for a surprise visit. Natalie's consternation about her friends' reactions verges on the melodramatic: "Natalie's head was spinning. The scene felt almost completely surreal. Her friends were being polite but awkward, and Chelsea was suddenly her bestest best friend in the world? This was so not what she wanted! This was why she hadn't wanted to let people know who her father was!" Despite Morgan's typecasting (the athlete, the comedienne, the practical joker, the manipulative bully), these young characters Natalie included are curiously bland, offering readers little incentive to reach for this month's second camp caper, Jenna's Dilemma (0-448-43738-4). Ages 9-12.