12 Young Adult Books About Summer Camp
Summer camp season is upon us! Whether you’re an all-around camp veteran, or someone who has dreamed of spending a summer at sleepaway camp as long as you can remember, these young adult books are for you. Filled with campfires, friendships, crushes and lots of swimming, these books can either transport you to the amazing camp experience you crave, or take you on a magical adventure.
Not all of these camps are as normal as Julie Kraut’s ‘Slept Away.’ Some, like Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ series or C.J. Hill’s ‘Slayers’ take you to worlds of Greek Gods and Goddesses and dragon-slaying. Whatever type of camp experience you’re looking for, however, we’ve found it here in this list of young adult summer camp books! Check it out below.
‘The Lost Summer’ by Kathryn Williams
‘The Lost Summer’ is for all of those counselors out there who became disenchanted with the innocence of their summer camps once they reached counselor-hood.
The story follows 17-year-old Helena Waite, who returns to her sleepaway camp for her first year as a counselor, after years of being a camper there. Her best friend Katie Bell remains in the realm of innocence, while Helena gets a whole different camp experience from what she’s used to, trading in sing-alongs for skinny dipping.
‘Breakfast Served Anytime’ by Sarah Combs
This coming-of-age story is Combs’ debut novel, released in April 2014. It follows Gloria, who is invited to Kentucky’s prestigious “geek camp” the summer before her senior year. She signs up for a mysteriously titled class called ‘Secrets of the Written World’ with Professor X — not to be mistaken with Marvel’s Charles Xavier. As Gloria spends the summer following clues, she grows closer to her new “geek” friends: The Mad Hatter, aka Mason, Gatsby-obsessed Chloe and shy Calvin.
‘Things I Can’t Forget’ by Miranda Kenneally
‘Things I Can’t Forget’ is the third book in Kenneally’s ‘Hundred Oaks’ series that began with ‘Catching Jordan’ and is currently up to book no. 5 with ‘Breathe, Annie, Breathe,’ which was released on July 15.
‘Things I Can’t Forget’ takes Kenneally’s Sarah Desson-like style and puts it at Cumberland Creek summer camp where Kate, after making a tough decision that sends her morals spinning, chooses to ditch her good girl attitude and finally go after her crush, Matt, who has transformed from geeky songwriter to hunky lifeguard.
‘The Isabel Factor’ by Gayle Friesen
Expectations fall awry for Anna when outgoing best friend Zoe breaks her arm and can no longer join Anna for her debut as a Counselor in Training at camp. While Anna normally prefers the shadows, her new cabinmate, the rainbow-haired Isabel, does not. Isabel promptly pulls Anna into the sunlight with her, causing a change in Anna and Zoe’s relationship that may never be the same again.
‘Slept Away’ by Julie Kraut
‘Slept Away’ takes Laney Parker, a 15-year-old Park Avenue princess whose summers usually entail swapping her private school uniform for a bikini on a rooftop pool, and places her in Camp Timber Trails, a rustic summer camp.
Laney realizes that things at Camp Timber Trails are completely different from her Manhattanite world, and what it means to be “cool” no longer defines “Laney Parker.”
‘Shadow Falls’ Series by C.C. Hunter
Imagine if Bella had met Edward and Jacob at summer camp, and had her own powers to boast about as well? Well, this is much better than that.
C.C. Hunter’s ‘Shadow Falls’ fantasy series begins with ‘Born at Midnight,’ when Kylie Galen, a girl with a pile of problems, thinks her psychologist prescribed a camp for troubled teens. It turns out, however, that Shadow Falls camp is for supernatural teens, and Kylie must discover where her supernatural heritage lies among vampires, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, witches and many more.
The fifth in the ‘Shadow Falls’ series, ‘Chosen at Nightfall,’ was released in April 2013.
‘Sleepaway Girls’ by Jen Calonita
‘Sleepaway Girls’ covers all of the summer sleepaway camp experience. Main character Sam goes away to camp Whispering Pines in an effort to ditch her best friend and new boyfriend’s googly-eyed faces all summer. She becomes friends with the “Sleepaway Girls,” and all may seem right in the world — except for alpha queen Ashley’s strong dislike of Sam and her serious crush on the flirty Hunter, which could quickly ruin her summer in the Catskills.
‘Fun Camp’ by Gabe Durham
This quirky and comedic camp-related book takes a different approach than most on this list.
Durham’s ‘Fun Camp’ is told in many different voices and many different formats, mashing up letters to home with lists, sermons and monologues from characters with very different perspectives and personalities. If you’re looking for the full camp experience, ‘Fun Camp’ may be the key.
‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ Series by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan’s fantasy series follows Percy Jackson as he learns of his demigod roots and that his father is actually Poseidon. Percy meets other demigod teens and learns to harness his powers at Camp Half-Blood, a location that remains one of the series’ main settings for the series.
The series has inspired a movie franchise starring Logan Lerman as Percy, who you may also recognize as Charlie from the film adaption of ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.’
While Riordan’s series has inspired film versions, Camp Half-Blood has inspired actual summer camps across the country, where children play games and learn about Greek mythology.
‘The Summer I Wasn’t Me’ by Jessica Verdi
‘The Summer I Wasn’t Me’ explores important issues, while still residing in a sunny summer camp atmosphere.
17-year-old Lexi is sent to New Horizons, a cult-like religious camp, after her mother reads her journal and learns that her daughter is gay. But shaking how she feels isn’t easy for Lexi, and she finds herself falling for another girl at New Horizons, against her mother’s wishes.
‘Slayers’ by C.J. Hill
‘Slayers’ is like a gateway YA camp novel for future ‘Game of Thrones’ readers.
Tori, the smart and spoiled senator’s daughter, finds herself at dragon camp and discovers she actually descended from a long line of slayer-knights, a small group of individuals with special DNA who protected the world from dragons. Tori and the rest of the slayer-descendant teens must obey their ancestry when some dragon eggs fall into the wrong hands.
‘Wildlife’ by Fiona Wood
Australian writer Fiona Wood’s ‘Wildlife’ is the followup to ‘Six Impossible Things,’ and is just as endearing.
16-year-old Sib is having a difficult time in her outdoor education camp, when in enters Lou from ‘Six Impossible Things,’ the new girl who wants to be left out of anything and everything — until she witnesses a betrayal between Sib and best friend Holly, and finds herself getting sucked into the real and wild world all over again.