Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Martin, Laura. Float
May 29th 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edleweiss Plus

Emerson has a category five RISK rating, but not because he is a threat to others. He can float, and without his weighted vest and shoes, could end up floating away from earth and being in grave danger. His single mother is very stressed at the thought of having him monitored over the summer, so is very excited to send him to Camp Outlier, where children at RISK can be supervised and have a more typical summer experience. Emerson is less than thrilled, and when he gets to camp, he finds that most of his bunk mates feel the same way. Hank, who has inconvenient invisibility, is somewhat more exuberant than the others, and encourages Hank to throw away his heavy shoes and "live life" for a change. The Red Maple cabin (whose inhabitants include a boy with a skunk as a therapy animal, one who occasionally bursts into flame, and one who sticks to things and must wear special gloves) tries there best at all of the competitions, tries to connect with the girls their age in another cabin (one of whom occasionally turns into a cocker spaniel!) and helps one of the boys (who travels through time and doesn't see himself in the future) work through his bucket list. Luckily, their efforts are generally successful, and Emerson has a great summer.
Strengths: The author's notes at the back of the book, describing the tales her father told about summer camp, added a nice touch of nostalgia to this. Emerson and his camp mates are all sympathetically portrayed, and the time travel is a particularly interesting idea. The writing of actual letters makes sense here, since camps still don't let children have access to technology.
Weaknesses: The boys being hazed by an older cabin and made to wear dresses rubbed me the wrong way, somehow. I can't imagine it would be allowed at all, as badly as many hazing episodes go. I also could have used more explanation for the RISK occurrences.
What I really think: This author's The Ark Plan was a great dystopia with dinosaurs, but it hasn't circulated as well as I'd hoped. I need more summer camp stories, and I personally thought the inclusion of the fantasy elements gave a fresh twist to this.

I've been looking for summer camp books because I think summer camps are harder and harder to find-- my own children had to go to church camp, because everything else on offer was so specialized and expensive. It didn't end well. When I was growing up, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were scout camps, YMCA camps, and many of my friends went every year, sometimes for a month or two. I don't think that is the case any more, at least in Ohio. (Wow. Brief search shows that a one week camp for three hours a day is $235. That seems wickedly expensive!)
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Our local YMCA has great camps. I'm sending my daughter to sleepaway camp through it and my son to their day camp. Half the price of private camps and just as great.