Gen's family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen's mom signs them up for Camp Frontiera vacation that promises the "thrill" of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to email her friends back home about life at "Little Hell on the Prairie", as she's renamed the camp.
It turns out frontier life isn't without its good points, like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. And when her friends turn her emails into a blog, Gen is happily surprised by the fanbase that springs up. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.
If you think your childhood family vacations were rough – packed into a minivan with your brothers and sisters, facing hours of your mom’s impromptu karaoke, listening to your dad’s endless sports games – then you should meet 13-year-old Genevieve Walsh, whose mother just signed the whole family up for a summer at a frontier fantasy camp. While Gen navigates the ups and downs of a decidedly unconventional summer vacation, narrator Therese Plummer strikes just the right balance between Gen’s typical teenage “Life is so unfair” moments and her blossoming respect for the land, hard work, and her relationships.
Gen, her parents, and her 10-year-old brother Gavin are forced to give up all their modern conveniences (from Crisco to Clearasil) to join four other families for eight weeks of partying like it’s 1890 – complete with cow-milking and period dress. But Gen, who sneaks her cell phone into camp, stays calm by texting her back-home friends about everything: sharing a bed with Gavin, figuring out how to use an outhouse in the dark, dealing with the resident mean girl, and making new friends over a game of Kick the Can (that, ironically, uses all her contemporary soccer skills). Her friends turn her texts into a blog that goes viral, earning Gen more attention than she realizes until the outside world barges in. Throughout the narration, Plummer keeps Gen likeable and sympathetic (even when she’s behaving like a genuine 13-year-old), and gives the other voices in the story—Gen’s parents, Gavin, Gen’s new friends, her crush – easy, distinctive personalities as each one realizes that life on the farm isn’t exactly what Little House made it out to be. Whether you’re a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan who’d appreciate a more realistic take on the chores that Ma made sound so simple or a teenager setting out on yet another family vacation, this version will make the chores (and the car ride) a lot more entertaining. Blythe Copeland
"This fast read is humorous and insightful, with realistic characters that are refreshingly well rounded. Bell has captured a 13-year-old's voice, making Gen's unlikely situation feel very real." (School Library Journal)
We've sent an email with your order details. Order ID #:
To access this title, visit your library in the app or on the desktop website.
Absorbing and fun story for range of ages
- Champlain Mom
All around great story!
- K. Helms