Summer Sleep-Away is written from the view point of the main character, it is beautifully written, witty and sharp and whilst the direction of the story is a little predictable, the plot itself, littered as it is with funny anecdotes and a deliciously self-deprecating humour had me chuckling away to myself. The characters are all very well rounded and believable and the author deals effortlessly with ALL of the issues facing a young boy of Matthew’s age. Everything from leaving home for the first time and being sent against his will to the Summer Camp, to making new friends, overcoming hurdles and obstacles and falling in love…which brings me nicely onto Nicole, Matthew’s girlfriend…It was refreshing reading about two young people falling in love for the first time from the boy’s point of view and I was incredibly impressed by the fact that the author managed to tell it exactly as it was for Matthew whilst also successfully capturing the spirit and character of Nicole. (Something which sadly in my experience a lot of male authors fail to do) Their relationship developed beautifully throughout the novel and definitely felt like the falling in love for the very first time type of thing, but (and I am not normally renowned for my prudishness) on an emotional level it felt more like the kind of relationship that a sixteen/seventeen year old rather than an eleven/twelve year old would embark upon.
I loved so many elements about this book. I loved the fact that the kids got to be kids in the outdoor activities that they did. I loved the SBD (Silent but deadly) farts. I loved the postcards written in Matthew’s own handwriting which he sent back home to Mum (Mom) and Dad.
I would have no hesitation recommending this book to young teens, or dads that still haven’t grown up, or anyone who likes the YA genre with a timeless twist.