Have you ever read a book that when it’s over and you close the cover, you just smile to yourself? My daughter and I just finished the book Summer Sleep-Away by Ofer Aronskind and we both had the same reaction when we finished it.
This is the story of 12 year-old Mattie Kleinfield who is going to sleepaway summer camp for the first time. The story begins highlighting all the insecurities you can imagine a preteen boy would have going to an unknown place without the comfort of knowing a soul on the bus. But it evolves to prove the saying “The worst summer camps make the best friends”.
Summer Sleep-Away reads like you stepped onto the set of the movie Stand By Me or the show The Wonder Years. It is told in a reflective manner by the author in first person. I love that it gives an intimate knowledge of his feelings throughout the book about his new friends, his adventures and the camp itself. There are a few emotional points in the story, but they are handled beautifully with lots of love.
It is hard to determine what books will be appropriate reading for preteen children these days. Especially when your child is an advanced reader. Finding the balance between a story that is compelling to read while not being too “young adult” and one that is also at a challenging reading level is never easy. Summer Sleep-Away was perfect for my 10 year-old daughter who reads at a 7th grade level.