I heard this book discussed on CBC so thought it sounded worthwhile. Camp Forevermore is a wilderness camp for girls somewhere on the coast of BC. It has been operating for decades and sounds idyllic, especially to those girls from the inner city, from backgrounds where they would never be able to pay to go to camp. Who wouldn’t look forward to learning to kayak, to campfires and s’mores, making friendship bracelets and swimming lessons in the ocean?
This book traces the life of each of five girls and alternates between their past life, today at camp and their future selves. As the girls find themselves stranded on an island, with the kayaks gone, no adult to ask for help and limited food and water, they must rely on themselves, and each other, to survive. When will anyone even know they are lost?
This time alone will define who they become. None of the girls have outdoor survival skills or experience. None have known each other before yesterday at Camp Forevermore. No one knows exactly who they themselves are.
What was a problem for me was that I couldn’t remember who was who. The characters were not well developed and the disconnect between today and yesterday, the fright, the trauma, their names – no one’s personality really emerged. And I would like to think that after this experience, the girls would keep in touch. They didn’t. They were just as much “lost girls” as adults as they were as children. They were ten or so at camp and they carry the trauma through their lives, but they never rely on each other again. It felt like I was reading five separate novellas. The story never quite devolves in ‘Lord of the Flies’ anarchy, but it comes close.