Review of Camp Sylvania

Camp Sylvania Camp Sylvania
by Julie Murphy
Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    288 pp.
6/23    9780063114029    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780063114043    $11.99

Maggie knows the summer after fifth grade will be amazing because she’s finally going to the performing arts camp of her dreams…until her parents send her to weight loss camp instead. While enduring inedible food and exhausting workouts, Maggie befriends her bunk mates—Kit, an excitable Girl Scout; and Evelyn, a posh British girl—and tries out for the camp production of The Music Man, for which she scores the title role. But the camp’s owner, the glamorous influencer Sylvia, seems determined to suck as much fun from camp as possible, and some of her ideas are downright creepy, like forcing the underage campers to donate blood. When campers start disappearing, Maggie realizes it’s up to her to uncover Sylvia’s secrets. For starters, what is she doing with all the blood? The characters’ quirkiness makes them engaging and memorable, especially Kit with her great enthusiasm for all things outdoors. Humor is woven throughout, from Maggie’s frequent sass to a scene of vampires on a Zoom call. The central focus is on Maggie’s journey to overcome her personal fears, but the diet culture–obsessed vampires also allow for some moments of biting satire.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Bodie Shanis

Bodie Shanis is an editorial intern for The Horn Book, Inc., studying towards an MA in Children’s Literature and MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons University. 

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