When Ethan arrives at summer camp for the first time, he has just three modest goals. First, to survive. Second, not to be hated. Third, not to be the worst at anything. But these goals turn out to be relatively easy to achieve. Instead, his real challenge comes in the form of a new cabin mate. Zachary arrives at camp late, surrounded by a cloud of rumors, and Ethan finds himself intrigued and somehow envious of the new arrival. Zach doesn’t seem to care what anybody thinks of him. He doesn’t even seem upset when he is forced to miss the Big Swim, the legendary camp event where a select few try to swim across the lake and back.
Then Zach attracts the attention of Amber Levine -- the girl with an easy smile and a freckle on one knee -- at the same time that Amber attracts the attention of Ethan. And life gets even more complicated when Zach decides to try the Big Swim on his own, and he manages to convince Amber and Ethan to help him. Original and smartly observed, this story will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been to summer camp.
Cary Fagan is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. He has won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature, the Jewish Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among others. His many books include the picture book A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian (“An original and thought-provoking exploration of the rhythms of friendship —Kirkus, starred review) and the short novel The Hollow Under the Tree, an Ontario Library Association Best Bet. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.
The setting is rich and the characters are interesting and fresh.
We knew he was a bad kid even before he showed up. I didn't know where all the information came from, or even whether it was true. I only knew that there was a lot of it, and none of it was good...