Long Story Short

Wednesday Bks. Jul. 2022. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250818416.
Gr 9 Up–While Beatrice is technically a genius, the 16-year-old’s blatant inability to connect with others makes her parents hesitate about sending her to Oxford. However, they’ll agree to her college choice if Beatrice survives a trial run at a four-week summer camp. The catch is, it’s theater camp, at which Beatrice must participate in the acting section while completing a list of parent-made goals. Oblivious to social norms, Beatrice’s introduction to camp leads to a new enemy in the form of the camp founders’ son, Nik. With her future on the line, this one shot to embrace teenage life forces Beatrice to explore the world beyond her textbooks. Kaylor’s debut novel gives socially struggling individuals and theater lovers a space to feel seen. Beatrice’s relationships with her fellow campers paints the trial and errors of connecting with people through conversation and consent. The monthlong camp creates a perfect setting for stepping out of one’s comfort zone to become an active participant in life. Beatrice’s anxiety is handled quite realistically, and with care, comforting those with similar issues. Delightfully, the first meeting between Beatrice and Nik leads to an enemies-to-lovers trope which doesn’t disappoint. While the tidy ending might be a bit of a reach for some, a “happily ever after” seems plausible when you throw a bunch of overly emotional, entirely lovable theater nerds together. Beatrice is cued white, Nik is biracial (South Asian and white).
VERDICT For the introverted and theater fans alike, this is a must-read summer camp romp.

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