Samurai Summer

256p. Skyscape. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-1654-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4778-6654-2.
Gr 5–9—In Sweden in the early 1960s, 12-year-old Kenny is at a summer camp for impoverished children. As one of the older campers, he has a following of young boys who are helping him build a samurai castle. They are also training to be samurai and have a brief escape from their real lives at home and at camp. The place is run by a cruel woman (Matron is similar to Warden in Louis Sachar's Holes) and mean counselors, and since most of the boys haven't had good experiences with adults, they find them all to be untrustworthy. Kenny is also just starting to become interested in how girls think and act. He befriends Kerstin and promises to show her the castle, even though it is supposed to be off-limits to girls. The story is slow until Matron's adult son attempts to abuse Kerstin and she runs away. The boys decide they need to save the camp and their fellow campers. Since the novel does not state location or time period until well into the book, it is initially confusing and difficult to understand, and will not hold the attention of many readers.—Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

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