"Boys will just make fun of you…." or Camp Sunnyside Friends #1 – No Boys Allowed!

Oh my God, guys.  I’m in the middle of reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, and I can’t believe I had to put it aside to read this crap for the blog. I mean, I chose it intentionally because it was the shortest of all the blog books I have shoved under my bed, and it would take the least amount of time away from Franzen’s fantastic prose.  But still.  Maybe I’m being extra harsh toward good old Camp Sunnyside Friends because it did take me away from Freedom, if for only the one hour it took to breeze through it. 
Camp Sunnyside is almost in session and the five eleven year old girls from Cabin Six are excited to see each other once again.  Each girl supposedly has a distinct “personality,” in pretty much the same way that the girls from the BSC had distinct personalities.  (That is – we’re pounded over the head with Kristy’s bossiness or Mary Anne’s weepiness, or Claudia’s lack of spelling skillz, etc.)
            -Katie is bossy and outspoken.  A leader.
            -Trina is responsible and sensible.
            -Megan is daydreamy.
            -Sarah likes to read
            -Erin is a rich spoiled boy-crazy snob
The first four get there early, before Erin arrives. And ZOMG, Sarah got her period over the last year.  She plans on using it as an excuse to get out of swimming thereby giving her more time to read.  Sneaky lass.  Katie, Trina, Megan and Sarah are dismayed to discover that Erin is starting to develop some boobs, and that she acts much older than them, and that she has a boyfriend, who is a creepy thirteen. 
All of them are sad to find that their old counselor, Nina, is no longer at Camp Sunnyside.  Instead, they have a new counselor, Carolyn, who makes the mistake of telling them that it’s her first year as a camp counselor.  And Katie immediately begins making plans to prank her, until Trina sensibly (see, she’s the sensible one) points out that they should give Carolyn a chance.  Carolyn bores them with blah blah talk about her “counseling philosophy.” 
At dinner that night, Mrs. Winkle, the camp director makes the big “Oh Noes!” announcement that there was a fire at nearby Camp Eagle, and a few of the boys from Camp Eagle will be staying at Sunnyside while repairs are being completed.  What. The. Fuck?  Boys at Camp Sunnyside?  The girls will not tolerate this.  Katie least of all.
Katie goes into crazy anti-boy mode and makes plans to keep the boys from coming, and a lot of the campers go along with her.  First she decides on a hunger strike, which is ruined by the smell of blueberry pancakes.  Then she decides on a protest, which begins but never ends as everyone is excited by the arrival of the camp’s horses and leaves before Mrs. Winkle can get there.  Then she convinces everyone to take arts & crafts during their free period to make anti-boy signs.  Carolyn catches them at it, and stupidly doesn’t put a stop to it.  The girls sneak out at night and hang the signs up all over camp.  But the next morning?  All the signs have been removed. 
Le sigh.  What’s a girl to do?  Katie decides that all the girls should ignore the boys.  So when the boys arrive that morning, all the girls (except for the thirteen year olds, who are obvs so boy crazy) turn their heads, even when boy is being polite to them.  But what is boy-crazy Erin supposed to do?  She likes the boys, you know. 
The arts & crafts counselor has a big old unfinished doll house, and Katie is interested in learning to make miniature furniture for it.  The plan is to finish the doll house, furnish it and donate it to the local Children’s Hospital.  But uh-oh.  Who’s the only other person interested in this project?  A fucking boy. His name is Justin, and he doesn’t want to take any shit from Katie.
In the meantime, Megan needs a tennis partner who can keep up with her.  Eric loves the boys.  Sarah who can’t swim mysteriously disappears for long stretches of time and coming back wet (not like that you pervs!)  I wonder what could be going on?
Katie is a freaking bitch to Justin when they’re working on the dollhouse furniture.  I mean, they actually get along and have a lot in common, but she refuses to acknowledge him outside the arts & crafts cabin and makes him hide under a table when someone else comes in.  Yet, when Erin is spotted going canoeing with a boy camper, the girls of cabin six, lead by Katie, give her the silent treatment. 
Justin finally calls Katie out on her shit attitude.  And then there’s a movie night on the boys’ last night and a bunch of crazy shit happens where all the girls find out that the others having been sneaking around with a boy. Megan found a boy tennis partner.  Sarah found a boy who was teaching her to swim. Trina had found a boy whose parents had also recently divorced and connected with him.  Then of course, Erin was with canoe boy. 
They all kind of half-heartedly apologize to Erin for giving her the silent treatment, and she is way to quick to forgive them in my opinion.  A lesson is learned by all.  Well, Katie learns that boys are OK – no matter how much her older twin brothers pick on her. 

  • Wow.  Katie is just a fucking bitch and a bully.  I can’t believe no one has the power to call her out on her shennanigans. The counselor or the camp director don’t take her aside and explain that it’s not like the boys want to be at Sunnyside, that boys are (surprise!) people too and don’t really take kindly to being ignored. And you know, pointing out that it sounds like she’s the one making the boys feel bad, not the other way around. 
  • I’m not quite sure why Trina, Megan and Sarah went along with Katie’s silent treatment of Erin.  They obviously felt bad about doing it.  
  • Erin is unhappy to be at camp with the immature girls of cabin six.  She wanted to stay home for the summer, but her parents are rich so they naturally spend the summer in Europe.  And she is driven to camp by a chauffeur, because she’s rich you know.  Also, she thinks if she can stay home with her friends, they’ll be partying all summer.  How, exactly, do eleven year olds party?  I’m not even sure I’d been to a boy/girl party by the time I was eleven. 
  • Katie seems to hold Erin’s wealth against her.  Though I’d love to point out that pretty much if you’re going to eight week summer camp year in and year out, your parents are at LEAST upper-middle class.  So shut your fucking pie hole Katie.  
  • Why did I love camp books so much as a kid?  This one sucked ass compared to a lot of them.  Laura’s Luck is clearly the best of all the camp books I read. 
  • So this book came along around the same time as a few other short-lived series.  Pen Pals, Fabulous Five (which actually lasted longer than I remembered), Saddle Club, The Gymnasts.  Most were trying to cash in on the success of Sweet Valley and the BSC.  But none were nearly as fun and (yes, I’ll say it) charming as those series. 

About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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13 Responses to "Boys will just make fun of you…." or Camp Sunnyside Friends #1 – No Boys Allowed!

  1. Sada says:

    These books were utterly forgettable. I OWNED this one, and I didn't remember anything about it. Pen Pals, on the other hand, I hearted. I still think of John Adams whenever I see an acrostic poem. (Sad, but true.)

  2. Steve G. says:

    With those hot white capri pants, I'm surprised this book didn't sell on fashion appeal alone. Also, that one girl's red hair looks radioactive; I think it is contributing to the harsh tan of the girl with the short haircut.

  3. Sadako says:

    I never read any of these other series ones…I guess I was a purist, BSC all the way!

  4. Carin S. says:

    Camp books are awesome! DId you ever read Yours Til Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O'Connor? That's a good one!

  5. Ugh, again with the books I thought only I read! I only had the first four, and I don't know how I even ended up with them or why I never got anymore. Probably from my spin-off fascination with sleep-away camp started by the Camp Mohawk Super Special in the BSC. Then I went to a week-long soccer camp and realized why I like being an only child.

  6. nikki says:

    Steve G- even better than capris, those white pants are actually regular pants that are tight-rolled in true late 80's fashion. Awesome.Carin S – Yes! I read Yours Till Niagara Falls and I'd totally forgotten about it until now. Wasn't there a sequel to that one?GWG – I think my camp book fascination stemmed from being one of five children in a lower middle class household. The thought of camp was ridiculous for any of us. And I've always been prone to bouts of homesickness. (I might be the only grown woman on earth who got homesick on her honeymoon.)

  7. The Saddle Club was definitely not short-lived; there were almost as many books in that series as there were in the BSC.

  8. Caroline says:

    I have such a bizarre fondness for the Fabulous Five books. After I read all of my school library's BSC books, I started on the Fabulous five ones.

  9. Caroline says:

    and OH MY GOD what is up with the crazy long leg on the cover?

  10. nikki says:

    @coulrophobic agnostic- I have to eat my words. You are absolutely right. I just wiki'ed Saddle Club and there were nearly 120 books in that series AND it lasted one year longer than the BSC books. I just assumed it was short-lived because you rarely see them in the used book stores, and when you do, they're usually the earlier numbers. One of these days, I'll actually do a little research before opening my big mouth. 🙂

  11. Liz says:

    Was this the series with the eleven-year-old girl tarting up her friend and telling her to play stupid so she can snag a man? The names sound awfully familiar. I totally forgot the name of the book, but its stupidity has haunted me ever since I read it 13 years ago.

  12. Samantha says:

    I actually just finished re-reading this book the other night…and yeah, I gotta say, I remember the Camp Sunnyside books being a lot more exciting when I was a kid. Katie was seriously lame in book. A one-meal-hungerstrike? A halfhearted protest? COME ON. (However, I do think she looks cute on the cover–no camp t-shirt? Rebel!)

    I thought the whole storyline of her semi-bonding with Justin over making dollhouse furniture kinda weird and only somewhat liked Trina because she gave a book on divorce to that boy (a sweet gesture).

    Bring on The Gymnasts! And of course, Judy Blume is in a league all by herself.

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