Genre: YA/Coming of Age
“A person's path through life is never clearly marked...Eighteen-year old Shannon Burke is stuck. Her friends are heading off to college, her job is a complete dead-end, and her mother's just made her part owner of the failing family business. The only bright spot is her upcoming birthday and a visit from her eccentric Aunt Rebecca. But before Shannon can blow out her candles, she receives devastating news: Rebecca is dead. When she learns that her aunt has gifted her a beat-up camper, Shannon decides to sell it for cold, hard cash. Then she loses her job and finds a mysterious map in the glove box, and in a moment of desperation, she jumps behind the wheel and hits the road. One map leads to another, and Shannon journeys deep into New York's Adirondack Mountains where she faces her greatest fears and navigates a new reality that is as unpredictable as the wilderness itself. During her scavenger hunt of self-discovery, Shannon uncovers a stunning family secret, experiences the healing power of nature, and learns that a person's path through life is never clearly marked.”
A long-time educator, award-winning author Glenn Erick Miller divides his time between the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and Southwest, Florida. In addition to Camper Girl, Miller is the author of a children’s picture book, Red’s First Snow.
Those who study such things will tell you that getting out there and seeing the world or even just different parts of your country, city, state or whatever will expand your horizons in many different ways. Many non-fiction books focusing on travel make the same case, but I don’t think I’ve read a book of fiction, at least not until this one, where that message seemed to be such a big part of the book. Yes, this book is fiction and the trip (a bit of a scavenger hunt arranged by protagonist Shannon’s now deceased Aunt Rebecca) isn’t real, but she definitely learns from it. Some of the things she’s learns are just what I’d expect a real person to learn from actual travel. Things like expanding your view of the world and those in it, while also driving home that we’re not as different as we sometimes let ourselves think. Or experiencing the beauty that is out there to be found, often just by getting off the beaten track a bit. But Shannon also finds out a lot about herself, her Aunt Rebecca, and her parents which has her reevaluating a lot of things about her life and her future. Having just graduated from high school Shannon is at a point that many young adults are evaluating their life, their future, and where they want to go from here. Camper Girl is a great story of someone at one of life’s crossroads, figuring things out, and taking the reader along on the adventure.
This review is based on an ARC (advance reader copy) and thus I can’t gauge the final product in this area.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words