The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore Legend Press
A group of young girls descend on a sleepaway camp where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people.
A portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves, and the pasts we can’t escape.
Five girls stranded on an island have to find their way out, there are tensions, power struggles and their actions perhaps not the nicest. This was the premise for Kim Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, so I was expecting a Lord of the Flies, how wrong I was. Yes, it did contain some similarities but what was unusual and what made this novel so distinct and different was the alternative approach adopted by Fu. Fu didn’t concentrate the bulk of her narrative on the girls fight to get out, instead she examined their lives in the afterwards, what effect it had on them and it is what made the novel so utterly compelling.
Fu beautifully set the scene, the ethos behind Camp Forevermore laid out, our first meetings of the five girls gave us an initial feel for their characters, hinting at their individual nuances as they eyed each other up. It created a sense of foreboding and anticipation, a glimpse of possible trouble ahead as they set out in their kayaks on their adventure.
The adult leader, Jan was an interesting character, so full of herself, lackadaisical in here approach to responsibility and safety awareness, another clear indication that all would not go well.
It was only when tragedy struck that Fu revealed the true characters of the girls, as she took us away from the island to a time in the future, to five girls who had to process the events and get on with the rest of their lifes. This is where Fu excelled, as she unravelled five girls with widely differing and varied lifes, some more likeable than others.
Nita was the hardest to like, the genius, the one with the hard impenetrable exterior, that made you have to dig deep to find anything that made you empathise with her and even like her.
There was Dina, spoilt, and somehow detached from real life, who I found utterly frustrating, and many times I found myself wanting to shout at her, shake her and make her wake up to the real world.
Isabel, the loner, who I found to be quite intense, yet I felt quite sorry for her, her life full of tragedy that she found to process.
Andee, was driven, always busy as though if she stopped she would have to think, have to remember and deal with her emotions. Fu’s interesting and unique approach to Andee’s story meant we didn’t get up close to her as we did the other girls, yet she was still able to give us a sense of who she was.
Siobhan was my favourite and indeed the most likeable, the one who emerged as the natural leader, although you would not have guessed that at the beginning. Fu’s approach to Sobhan’s story was slightly different, it was almost as if Fu deliberately flipped what you expected and gave you the unexpected. Her story was perhaps the most harrowing, laying bare the true characters of the girls, and the ultimate need to survive. I found it quite unsettling to read, but understood why Fu had done it, to tie all the ends together, to give us answers and ultimately to blow apart the tension she had built.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was a brilliant examination of human nature, of how we react to dramatic events, to those around us and the effects we take with us into the future. I admired Fu’s ability to pick apart and dig deep into the psyche of each of the girls, to highlight their differences and show off the wonderful variety and diversity in her narrative.
It was a novel that made you think, about how you would react, what you would do and to hope that you never found yourself in a similar situation and I loved it.
I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer, living in Seattle, Washington. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Follow Kim on Twitter @skimfu