by Fiona Ingram, a South African writer who loves books, travel, animals, antiques, and adventures of all kinds! Read Fiona’s author site and find out about her recently published children’s adventure novel
Length: 240 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Suitable For: Ages 10+
When fifteen-year-old British teen Luke Sheldon wins a place at an American summer camp for smart kids, he thinks he’s in for the trip of a lifetime. He’s also glad to get away from his snarky older brother for the holidays. It sounds like a dream vacation, with courses in cool stuff like archery, fire building, horse riding, and survival techniques. Surrounded by forests and built above a labyrinth of underground tunnels, there is more to Camp Hope than meets the eye. Why do some of the kids suggest the place should be called Camp No Hope? Is it true that three campers disappeared a few years earlier? And why does camp leader Captain Budd as well as the course trainers refuse to talk about it? When Luke starts to find coded messages in his dorm, he thinks it is a silly game until disaster strikes. Too late, he discovers he has been lured into a terrifying trap that could cost him his life.
The adrenalin starts pumping on page one as we find Luke running down an underground tunnel, running for his life! Flashback to when it all begins at camp where Luke meets up with a bunch of teens just like him. There is the usual gaggle of types: the bully, the sidekick, the nerd, the good friend, the joker, and of course, the GIRLS! In an amazing coincidence, Luke bumps into Natalie, his best friend in junior school. At the time, they were inseparable, until Natalie’s parents died and she moved away. Luke is happy to renew his connection with Natalie and even imagines thingscould go further until…the beautiful Kathryn (aka Star) arrives. She’s totally gorgeous, confident, popular, and she chooses Luke as her campboyfriend. Although he’s no slouch, Luke hasn’t much confidence when it comes to girls. Star’s friendship with him is like a dream come true, except that it seems to alienate Natalie. His friendship with Natalie also causes tension between Luke and his best camp buddy, Matt. Added to this swirling mix of emotional pressure and excitement at decoding each new clue is Luke’s weird dorm leader (adult) Drew, who has all the characteristics of someone who could kill and not bat an eyelid. Drew also likes knives… Things are never quite what they seem, and it’s up to Luke to solve this mystery without ending up dead!
This is an action-packed teen adventure certain to keep young readers glued to the pages. The characters are well rounded, and Luke is a very likable teen. The events unfold through his eyes, and in the process, Luke makes discoveries about himself and his relationships with others around him. By the end of this riveting read he has matured, and come to an understanding about life. The message of the book is one of forgiveness and hope, and the meaning of friendship.
Publisher: Faber Childrens