Title: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
Author: Kim Fu
A group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls—Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan—through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves—and the pasts we can’t escape.
This was my first venture into the “New Adult” genre, and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a try. I suppose that New Adult explores themes that Young Adult books will shy away from, although I have to admit that I’ve read some YA that leaned quite heavily into mature subject matter. In The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, we read about five young girls go through a traumatizing event during a summer camp, interspersed with snippets about their adolescent and grown-up lives. Most of these girls carried issues with them throughout adulthood, and it was interesting to see how one event could be experienced so differently by all of them.
It’s definitely more psychological than a YA novel would be. There’s very little of the novel that explores what happened at Camp Forevermore — the bulk of the book is reserved for these character stories. Still, it’s honestly a page-turner, and Kim Fu doesn’t paint these girls through rose-coloured glasses. It almost, at times, reads like a memoir of these characters, and I really enjoyed it.
I have only two complaints about this book. The first complaint would have to be about the ending. It was rushed, and I believe that there could have been a full chapter more, at the very least. The entire story just feels like a big buildup with little satisfaction at the end. My second complaint is about the choice of one specific “present-day” stories – one chapter explores the life of the sister of one of the girls who went to Camp Forevermore, which means that we only got a little bit of insight on how the camp sister’s life went after the event. However, the rest of the book is so well crafted that those two complaints don’t really change my overall perception of the book.
I’d like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it, and I encourage you to pick up a copy when it’ll hit the shelves next month!
*Note to Netgalley reviewers: this is e-pub format only and thus will not load on your Kindle.