Camp Scare

Delacorte. Aug. 2022. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593373262.
Gr 5 Up–Seventh grader Parker Nelson is heartbroken to discover a mean girl, Cassandra, is a part of her new camping group. Trying to escape the cruel bullying inflicted on her at school, Parker had jumped at the chance for a scholarship to attend Camp Care, where she was assured that absolutely no bullying was allowed. This turns out to be far from the case, as Cassandra immediately turns all the girls in her bunkhouse against Parker. Miserable and lonely, Parker discovers a fellow loner, Jenny. At first she feels a special kinship with Jenny, but as their friendship continues, Parker becomes increasingly alarmed at Jenny’s part in the mysterious accidents that keep occuring to her bunkmates. After all, Parker doesn’t like that the girls are mean to her, but she doesn’t wish for them to be physically hurt. The injuries start to pile up—first with Cassandra’s broken arm, then Addison is shot in the arm with an arrow, and Sydney experiences near-death food poisoning. Parker realizes she must put a stop to her friend’s malicious behavior. Standing up to Jenny only serves to put Parker in her evil crosshairs. The suspense is satisfyingly engaging throughout the narrative, though the inability of the adults in Parker’s life to believe her protests of bullying is frustrating to read. Ethnicity of characters are not overly evident.
VERDICT An easy-to-digest horror camp romp with a deeper message about the impact of bullying and ostracization.

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