*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
Author: Kim Fu
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
A group of young girls descends 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. Bursting 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.
I’ll admit, this book has been sitting in my TBR for far too long. In the last few years, I’ve had so many other books whose synopses have stood out to me much more than this one. Alas, the book did not get picked up, in favour of more exciting overviews. However, it was a pleasant surprise to finally find the time to dig into The Lost Girls and it was the perfect book for me to bring along on a wintery long weekend vacation. Easy to read with a compelling story and interesting characters, you won’t be disappointed with Lost Girls. I definitely enjoyed it. Though I don’t think it’s the best book I’ve ever read, the story was mysterious and intriguing, and the author digs in to such tropes as human vs. human and human vs. nature.
Interesting divided into the perspectives of each of the 5 girls from Camp Forevermore, the story is told in bits and pieces, unfolding slowly as the novel progresses. In a very unique structure, each part of the book provides the reader with a slice of what happened to the girls on that fated kayaking trip, followed by the unfolding of their lives over the next decade or so. This snapshot moment in time shaped and defined each girl in a different way. We come to understand not their childhood selves, but their adult selves and what life had in store for them after their rescue. I found this telling to be incredibly impactful and engaging. I found I had to keep reading to see what would happen next and how the story would unfold. Fu’s writing will have you hooked and leaning in to find out what twists and turns the story is going to take.
What I struggled with is that the story itself, the moment in time where the girls are stranded on the island, is not nearly filled out enough. This pivotal moment is meant to change their lives forever, yet it spans only a mere 5 introductory chapters, each brief in length. There is still so much to explore that is left unfinished. There is a very Lord of the Flies element to this section, and the author could have really dove into the primal nature of the girls and the gnarly undoing of their humanity, but it is glossed over in favour of their lives later down the road. I found this unsatisfying and it left me wanting more.
Overall though, Fu is a masterful storyteller and she builds an intensity and an air of mystery that hangs throughout the book. I hope you’ll be as intrigued by this story as I was.