One of only five books selected for a “serious” review of great YA books for summer reading! YAY! Here’s an excerpt:
Camp Outlook, by Brenda Baker (Second Story Press, 244 pages, $11.95), is aimed at a slightly younger demographic, but deals with its own share of difficult subjects — one of which, in fact, comes close to the secret Rose’s mother in This One Summer has been keeping: the sadness of a woman’s unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant. In Camp Outlook, the central character is 13-year-old Shannon, whose mother has had one failed invitro treatment, two miscarriages, and finally manages to carry a baby to term only to discover that said baby is not as perfect as originally assumed. Shannon, unaware of much of the mental load her parents have been carrying, behaves in true teenage fashion and manages to add to her parents’ stress to such a degree that they ship her off to camp for two weeks — a church camp, at that. It’s enough to make Shannon decide to be an atheist. Twice. Author Brenda Baker, who clearly brings first-person experience with the issues raised in this novel, manages — through Shannon — to explore in an explicit, matter-of-fact way the emotions that come with knowing one’s family will never again be what it was, and that a baby born with Down syndrome brings difficulties but can also bring great joy. In the process of learning how baby Gabriel will fit in her life, Shannon herself grows to be a better person. Aimed at ages 9 to 13.