Reviews for Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire

Booklist Reviews 2009 May #1
Rising sixth-grader Jemma is looking forward to attending Camp Star Lake with best friend Tammy, until she learns that Tammy's annoying cousin, Brooke, will be joining them. Suddenly the somewhat insecure Jemma feels like an outsider, for Brooke has a chip on her shoulder (because her parents are getting divorced) and tries to outdo Jemma at every opportunity, leaving Tammy as the unsuccessful peacemaker-in-the-middle. As the summer progresses, Jemma comes to accept that her relationship with Tammy has changed, and she broadens her friendship horizons with Delaney, a girl with an overpowering older sister who pursues yoga just to be different. The author of Julia's Kitchen (2006) offers here a lighter story for a slightly younger audience. Ferber has a fine ear for preteen dialogue and concerns, and her descriptions of overnight camp activities (especially sailing and waterskiing) will strike a chord with readers. Give this to first-time campers or fans of Kathleen O'Dell's Agnes Parker . . . Happy Camper? (2005). Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 April #1
For all the tweens who that believe in BFF but find out, to their great disappointment, that it isn't for everyone, this is the book for them. Jemma's best friend Tammy moved away at the beginning of fifth grade but they agreed to spend the following summer together at camp. Unfortunately--and unexpectedly--Tammy arrives with her possessive cousin Brooke, whose parents are caught up in a messy divorce. The only one who can't spot Tammy's altered loyalty is Jemma, who is convinced that she can somehow win back her straying friend. As a counterpoint to Brooke's unpleasant attitude, vanilla-flavored Delaney becomes the always-loyal new friend, who unrealistically bounces back after Jemma's rejections whenever Tammy seems like a better prospect. The emotional turmoil plays out against a lovingly depicted month at summer camp, as Jemma tries and fails, repeatedly, to learn to water ski but shows a nice talent for sailing. Though few children actually get to attend a full month of summer camp, many others will enjoy it vicariously through this somewhat superficial effort. (Fiction. 8 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 4-6--Jemma can't wait for summer camp, where she will be reunited with Tammy, who moved away at the beginning of fifth grade. Then Tammy arrives with her cousin in tow, and Jemma's hopes for a fun-filled summer are dashed. She dislikes Brooke, whose eyes seem to roll whenever Jemma talks, and who insists on partnering with Tammy during sailing instruction. Jemma is at a loss to understand why her best friend has suddenly deserted her. Any child who has ever lost a friend will relate to her inner turmoil. Ferber has drawn a realistic main character who experiences pain and discomfort when Tammy continually rejects her. The plot moves along swiftly, and Jemma's first-person narrative rings true, as do the issues and the camp experience.--Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY

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