There’s only one way to describe the writing in this one: Entertainment Weekly on speed. The formula is: snark + cute turn of phrase + reference to celebrity or pop culture. Example: “Maybe Apple hadn’t spread their product out to the suburbs yet. Kind of like the message that David Hasselhoff is a giant drunk douche hasn’t spread to Germany yet*.” p 116. Taken in small doses, it’s fun. But sometimes it can feel like too much of a good thing (like when you eat too much chocolate chip cookie dough).
Laney is either apathetic or dismissive about everything. She has a pretty swank life in NYC (despite an annoying new-agey stepfather), so the rustic camp she goes to is obviously a shock to her system. Usually in novels like this, you’d expect the pampered heroine to grit her teeth and make the best of it, learning important lessons along the way and even being sad when camp ends. Not Laney. She acts more like a martyr, participating in camp life the least amount possible and without a sliver of enthusiasm.
Ok, well she is enthusiastic about one thing – setting up her nerdy bunkmate with the nerd king of the camp. Too bad the girls have exactly three opportunities to talk to boys during the whole summer (including the shortest dance in the history of teen lit – couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes long, tops), because otherwise that plot point might have pumped some sort of urgency and excitement into Laney's life.
SLEPT AWAY may well be an accurate portrayal of a spoiled city brat going off to sleepaway camp for the first time. And it is at times very, very funny (the butt slogan mean girl clique totally rocks, for one). But ultimately it comes down to caring. And Laney doesn't act like she cares. Maybe not even whether you read this book or not.
SLEPT AWAY is out in paperback now. Find out more about it at the author’s website.
*Actually, Germans will glare at you mightily if you suggest that they like David Hasselhoff. Not recommended.
This article was originally published by Lenore for Presenting Lenore. It cannot be republished without express written permisson. If you are reading this elsewhere, it has been stolen.