Summary: Camp Famous
Eleven-year-old Abby is going to Camp Famous, but she has no idea. As far as she knows, her parents are sending her off to a sleepy sleep-away camp to (hopefully) make new friends. But when she arrives, she discovers it’s even better. She’s attending a fun summer camp with kid celebrities escaping the spotlight and constant paparazzi and new coverage. But as Abby starts to make friends at camp, she twists her personality and preferences to keep her camp friends interested in her. Plus, because she’s not a celebrity, finding and maintaining a cover story while being true to herself proves impossible. Will she make it?
This is a classic camp story enriched by Abby’s diary entries and also the wide range of personalities she encounters at camp. There’s Bella, an actual princess; Shira, a brilliant mathematician; Hazel, the subject of an influencer mom’s content (and income); Kai, a popular tween singer; and Oliver, a young reporter and Abby’s real-life classmate. Oliver is fortunate because he uses a pseudonym in his work and he can be safe from the many perils of being a famous kid.
Much of the story is about how fame affects kids, and Blecher does a fine job of exploring this from various perspectives. For example, with Hazel, we see how hard it can be on kids when they’re subjected to having an unwanted internet presence for their parents’ sake. Bella also feels the pressure from news outlets, and the kids commiserate often on the woes and wins of being famous — neither of which Abby can relate to. Still, Abby learns that all kids have issues of their own. But it’s not so easy for Abby to be as vulnerable with her friends, which she learns can ruin hard-won friendships.
Overall: Camp Famous
Camp Famous is a fun, insightful look at the impact of fame on kids and what it means to be a real friend. It wasn’t my favorite by Blecher, and at times, I found the whole celebrity kid plot hard to believe, but the story grew on me eventually. Readers who enjoy summer camp stories, books about celebrity lifestyles, and the struggle to find themselves and true friends will enjoy this one.
Psst: Camp Famous was a 2022 Summer Reading Guide pick here at Reading Middle Grade.