The stars. The fresh air. The clean water. The sky… As close to nature as you are ever going to get. Summer Camp.
I got my hands on a new book! It’s called Summer Sleep-Away, by Ofer Aronskind, and I think…it just may be my ticket to Summer Camp for next year! I couldn’t put it down, and if I can get Zac and Jonah to read it…they will be on the next bus to Tamakwa! Not only is it heartfelt, and touching…I feel like all camp stories should be all that, right? But it is imaginative. And it’s told by a 10-year old boy that may not have wanted to go to camp, but needed to go. Kinda like my guys. His parents were fighting, and hiding it…thinking he didn’t understand what was going on. But he did. Kids are so smart. In this novel, the young boy, Mattie Klienfeld, really needed to get out of his house. Away from the stress. So his parents send him. And he’s far from happy…and he’s far from home, and he’s scared. Sounds great, I know! But he learns to work through his homesickness, and has an entire summer of “firsts” and adventures…
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I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaway section and when I saw the cover, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it, so I set it aside for a month. Boy was I wrong. This is a beautifully written story about a group of boys growing up in Queens around the 70’s. Sam Tolpin and his Mom move around to the school districts she feels are the best for education. When Sam is 12-years-old, they move into the second story apartment of a house where a group of boys help them move in. A group that appear to be the neighborhood troublemakers. Sam was a loner and a skinny little kid. Downstairs is Eddie Drucker who is a strong kid that doesn’t think twice about committing petty crime. Sam is bullied by Eddie’s friends and when he accidentally head butts the school bully on the school bus taking him down, Sam’s accepted into the group. Soon Eddie becomes family to Sam and his Mom to the point that he is a brother from another mother. Sam is soon along for the ride for all the crimes.
Everyone loves Eddie in the neighborhood and at the school. Eddie loves Sam’s Mom and gives her the utmost respect. The entire group have total respect for “Mrs. T” as they call her and will go to bat for her whether it’s raising money when she loses her job so they don’t have to move to standing up to a rude customer at her second job waitressing in a diner. This book made me smile, made me want to smack Eddie and the boys on the back of the head and made me cry. This book is about coming of age, friendship, loyalty and being a better person. I’m so glad I was able to read this book. It is one that will stay with me for a while.
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.
We first meet Mattie as he is being shipped off to summer camp for the first time and he is less than thrilled about this. He arrives friendless and feeling as if he doesn’t fit in anywhere. His first few days at camp are rough but then a beautiful thing happens. He begins to make friends. Slowly things start going his way; he begins to grow past his awkwardness, and even manages a few shining moments. He even meets a girl and experiences the thrill of a first love. At the end of the summer he parts way from his new found friends but takes some well-earned lessons with him.
I’ve never been a 12 year old boy, nor have I ever been to summer camp but Summer Sleep-Away managed to take me on a journey that I could relate to and make me long for a camp experience of my of my own. The author was able to bring alive both the angst and the excitement of camp. I never thought much about sleep away camp but now I feel as if I have missed out on a milestone of some sort. As a mom of kids this age, it also gave me a glimpse into what their summer experiences may be like. I loved watching Mattie grow over the summer as he became more confident in himself and his place in the world. In the beginning of the book, I ached for him and his sadness and wanted to swoop in and give him a hug (sorry, must be the mom in me!). By the end of the book I was routing for him and proud of the young man he turned into, as a true coming of age story should.
It was a quick, uplifting read that I as an adult enjoyed. I look forward to passing it along to my kiddos because not only does it give them a character they can relate to, it does so in a way that I’m not cringing at my children reading. There is no foul language, the summer love affair Mattie experiences is a pure and innocent one, and shows the bonds of friendships earned through common experiences.
Ever since my daughter started reading novels as part of her school curriculum, I've read them with her. Not for her, mind you, but rather at the same time that she was reading them. I did this to stay in touch with her school work and to be able to help her if she was ever "stuck" on a project or assignment.
What I found was that I actually enjoyed the young adult literature genre. When I was asked if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing Ofer Aronskind's "Summer Sleep-Away", I gladly accepted. I am drawn to books with summer themes during the summer, and this book seemed like the quintessential summer read.
"Summer Sleep-Away" has themes that are native to just about everyone, no matter your age. We can all relate to some of the central themes and plots throughout "Summer Sleep-Away". The one recurring theme that I could most relate to was the one where Ari was constantly having to do things and go places he didn't want to do or go. specifically going to sleep-away camp.
The main character Mattie Kleinfeld, just as each of us often does although reluctantly, steps on to the camp bus and is on his way. The bus ride isn't an enjoyable one. He thinks he won't make any friends or have any fun. Once at camp, he gets the bunk that's in the absolute worst shape all of them in his cabin. But soon Mattie's luck turns around. His bunk is quickly upgraded with a new mattress and his cubby is promptly repaired.
This book brings back many fond memories of my adolescence. The nervousness about making new friends. The self-consciousness about everything I did, every move I made. Experiencing that scary yet exhilarating feeling of being away from home. Rejoicing in the fact that maybe your parents were right for sending you away. The book is complete with all the rites of passage of our teenage years.
Mattie experiences these and more, and whether you are 15 or 50, "Summer Sleep-Away" is completely relatable book. In fact, both my daughter and I were thrilled with this book. She especially loves books where friendships are formed and flourish. I loved reading about all of Mattie's adventures while at camp including swimming, fishing, hiking, and even having his first girlfriend.
But it's not until Mattie and his friends happen upon a clue that changes everything for Mattie. Without offering any plot spoilers, Mattie and his friends set out on a camp adventure that gives Mattie some clues about his background and strengthens his bonds with his camp buddies.
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.
In Summer Sleep-Away, author Ofer Aronskind captures the imagination of readers, young and old alike, transcending any age barriers. Highly recommended.
This is a fantastic book about a young boy's exploration into adolescence. Ofer Aronskind does a phenomenal job of portraying the events in this book so that as a reader you feel as you are living the story along with the characters. The reader friendly format engages you in the story and has you yearning to find out what happens next. This story personally took me back to my youth and surfaced many feelings and emotions that I have not thought of or felt in a long time, including going away for the summer, the anxiety of making new friends, exploring new things, and ultimately discovering who I was. This page turner will reconnect you with a youth that so many adults have forgotten, and that makes up such an important part of who we are. As an avid reader I haven't felt embraced by such a book in a long time. This is a book that should be mandatory reading as part of any school book program or for any kids about to venture off to camp. Kids and adults both will love this coming-of-age story and will certainly have trouble putting it down. I can't wait to read the next one!!
This was a great book. It totally kept my attention, I couldn't put it down and finished it the same night I started it. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever gone to sleep-away camp or plans on it. Awesome book!!!!!
This book brought back so many wonderful memories of summers at sleep away camp. It is a well written, entertaining story. I highly recommend it.
Summer Sleep-away is the story of 12-year-old Mattie Kleinfeld, who leaves his bickering parents behind to attend his first summer of sleep-away camp. After crying himself to sleep on his first night, Mattie predictably learns to love camp as he makes new friends, falls in love, and embarks on an adventure that combines his family's personal history, a treasure hunt, and baseball. (What boy could resist that?) While entertaining because of the experiences that Mattie has and the people he meets, however, I feel like the novel might be a better short story. The writing is oftentimes awkward and predictable, and in need of editing/tightening. (And was anyone else troubled by 12-year-old boys and girls sleeping--just sleeping--together, and swimming near-naked together?)
Whether you have gone to camp or not, this book is a great read. Not only perfect for kids in camp, this book will bring back all those great memories from the good old days. I went to camp over thirty years ago and now I have two kids in camp. I read this book while my son did and despite our age difference we both loved it! Whenever we both read an amazing part we would meet up and discuss the book. What a great experience! Ofer Aronskind knows what he is talking about when it comes to camp, trust me. He might look like an adult now, but he definitely has the mind of a 12 year old boy (in a good way :)). If you're considering buying this book, I would tell you DEFINITELY GET IT!!!! The only decision to make is whether to buy one for yourself or ten to give to all your family and friends!
Wonderful story! I shared it with my 10 year old nephew and he absolutely loved it! We can't wait to read the next one!
Great summer reading. That Same Summer, is just great. My son and I both read it and enjoyed it. Like the first book I felt like I was a kid again experiencing this wonderful sleep away camp..
I loved this book! I thought the story was genuine and heartfelt. I was instantly brought back to my days as a camper. Definitely made me smile.
That Same Summer, another great book for boys going on a first summer sleep away camp. These books helped my son on his first sleep away summer camp, a must read for parents and kids going on summer sleep away camp.
I've never read a book that so well captures the fun and drama of sleepaway. I was a camper and a counselor and this is a great way to relive the nostalgia. I've also recommended it to friends who have sons and daughters going away for the first time. The author writes in a style that is accessible at any age but as rewarding for adults as it is engaging for kids. Required reading!
The Celebrities of Summer School is an awesome book !!! Parents you should really buy this for your child.