I loved Jennifer Ann Shore’s book which is the story of Cameron, a teenager who is heading to Camp Creek for her final season helping out and is doing this with her lifelong friends, Bellamy and Will. It is something to be savoured for the memories to be made but also holds sadness as it is the end of an era. Add to this the fact that Will is the love of her life and you have the makings of a romantic teen novel, set in the wilds with all the exploration and uncertainties that this situation presents.
The bedrock of all good romantic fiction is the “will-they won’t-they” scenario where two characters who seem like they should be destined to be together have difficulty actually getting there. The narrative is told from Cameron’s perspective throughout and she is a smart girl who is thoroughly likeable who, like most teens, has moments of uncertainty where she is unsure of signals sent and impressions made as well as lacking awareness about the way that she is perceived by others: that all important self-assurance and self-knowledge. But she is not tortured so this is not a book that concentrates on angst: it centres more on the need for openness and communication; in having the conversation and getting to the true feelings that underpin everything.
The novel is full of snappy dialogue which I loved. The exchanges between all of the characters ring true for their ages and their concerns and they brought them all to life for me, again one of the key components, for me, of good fiction. Tori as the messy roommate and Bellamy as Cameron’s best friend of whom she feels protective as well as Piper, the sister with terrible taste in men – they were all clearly delineated.
Books like this for me are pure escapism: they have great storytelling which is not too complex but is relatable on a human level, creating emotions and, in this case, prompting memories of past times which were bitter sweet; they are inhabited by people who are believable; they show kindness and friendship of a type that warms the heart and leaves you, as a reader, warmer as a result.
I will definitely read more of Shore’s work which I hope will replicate this feeling over and over.