Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kid Konnection: Summer State of Mind

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a novel that's both fun and full of great messages.

Summary: Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper's parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can't climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp "Lifer" Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends--and stay out of trouble--she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita's hit Sleepaway Girls. -- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A few years ago, Booking Daughter and I had the privilege of meeting Jen Calonita. Not only did we find Ms. Calonita to be extremely fun and cool -- she has lots of inside scoop on Hollywood life, but we also discovered that we really like her novels. Her latest book is titled SUMMER STATE OF MIND, and it comes out next week. I'm pretty certain she has another winner!

SUMMER STATE OF MIND follows 15 year old Harper McCallister. Harper has a privileged life to say the least and she usually spends her time shopping or hanging out at a country club. When Harper finally pushes her parents too far after once again running up her credit card with "frivolous" purchases, they decide they need to teach her a lesson. They send Harper to a summer camp.

Needless to say, Harper finds herself miserable. She isn't used to "roughing it" and the kids at the camp are quite different from the friends she normally would choose to spend time with. Throughout the course of the summer camp, Harper discovers quite a bit about herself and the real meaning of friendship.

I really enjoyed SUMMER STATE OF MIND. Like Ms. Calonita's other novels, it's the perfect blend of entertainment and lessons; and as a mom, I always know I can count on her to write books that young girls and mom like (although they might be for entirely different reasons!) Booking Daughter just adores her novels; and although she hasn't read this one yet, she was very excited when it arrived. I actually had to look in her room to find the book -- she immediately ran off with it!

Sometimes I think that in my heart, I am still a twelve year old girl because I love books like SUMMER STATE OF MIND so much. And while I definitely liked this novel, I know as a tween, I would have read it over and over again. It's always fun to see how the wealthy live -- even I was envious of Harper's shopping trips; however, I loved how much Harper changed by the end of the novel. I liked that she saw how shallow and selfish she could be, and I especially appreciated how much she learned about the true meaning of friendship and what's important in life.

Ms. Calonita is certainly talented and in tune with pre-teen girls -- which is ironic since she has two sons! She knows how the make her novels fun while also creating enough drama to keep her readers interested in the story. I think her background as an entertainment writer definitely has definitely helped her in providing a realistic portrait of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. And honestly, what young girl doesn't want to be swept up in a story about that world?

In the case of SUMMER STATE OF MIND, she did a great job of juxtaposing Harper's privileged lifestyle with her life at the camp. Since going to a sleepaway camp would have been one of my worst nightmares as a teen, I could actually relate to Harper on that front. However, I admit that I
was actually a little worried when I first started reading the book. Harper was really hard to like and, despite feeling a little bad for her for having to rough it at camp, I thought she deserved to suffer a bit. Fortunately, Ms. Calonita gave hints of Harper's potential so I ended up rooting for her before too long!

SUMMER STATE OF MIND is a companion book to one of Ms. Calonita's earlier novels SLEEPAWAY GIRLS. That basically means that you don't have to read the first book to appreciate this one. Since I haven't read SLEEPAWAY GIRLS, I can vouch that SUMMER STATE OF MIND works as a stand-alone; however, I know that Booking Daughter will enjoy revisiting the setting of that novel.

SUMMER STATE OF MIND is an ideal book for tween girls to read as summer approaches. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I've heard you talk about Jen Calonita so I know how much you and your daughter love her work. I'm so glad to see this book is another winner!

Laura Fabiani said...

Oh I think my teen girl would like this one too. It's easy to shop and not quite understand the value of money when you're that young.

Beth F said...

Oh this sounds like something I'd love. I was probably one of the girls Harper met at camp.