Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Slept Away by Julie Kraut

Upper East Sider Laney’s vague plans for a summer lazing in the city are dashed when her mother signs her up for a six week back to nature camp in the Poconos.

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.

14 comments:

Alison said...

Hmm...I'm not sure if this sounds good or not. It seems like something I would enjoy but roll my eyes at frequently.

Alea said...

I started this once and put it down. Will still probably try again at some point.

bermudaonion said...

Nice review, but I don't think this is for me.

Carla said...

HA, I love the little line at the end. I think it would be in bad taste to say to anyone on gods green earth that they like the Hoff.

Fabulous review. Don't you just hate it when for whatever reason you just dont gel with the main character of a story. Drives me insane, because I have no real desire to follow them on their journey, and its so much worse when the character doesnt seem to care much too. I love how well you write reviews that could come across as very unsavoury but you always manage to convey them in a way that still sheds light on the story. Kudos

Melissa M said...

THe cover on this one caught my eye, but your review tells me that this book would just annoy me. Thanks for the review!

Zibilee said...

This book sounds kind of terrible, and I am not sure if it's one that I would ever read. I think there is a lot of good YA fiction out there, but this doesn't sound like it. Thanks for the honest review, Lenore.

stacybuckeye said...

I'm thinking the 'EW on crack' writing would annoy me.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Hmm, I have seen a few not so warm reviews, and I think I'll pass this one. As you said, I need characters who cares so that I can care, too!

Dwayne said...

Aww. INteresting! From the blurb and your review I don't think this is exactly the book I want :(

wisteria said...

Hi Lenore...I saw your comment about Bloodroot on Bermuda's Blog. I read Bloodroot for Historical Novels Review. It is awesome..and the way the writer uses different points of view makes this an intriguing read. I highly recommend it. Wisteria Leigh Bookworms Dinner.

You can read my review on my blog if you like. :)

Beth F said...

Ugh. Sounds like I would not get far at all.

Kelly said...

I'm thinking that being a former farm girl, with little patience for spoiled teens, I'd probably want to just reach into the pages and smack the heroine upside the head on a regular basis. Probably not the book for me! Thanks for saving me with your great review!!

Jennifer said...

I'll probably skip this one. As much as I love reading about the rich and famous, it has to be a character that has some redeeming qualities that make me care enough to read on.

Michelle said...

I was not a fan of this one either. It just didn't click for me.