Friday, June 28, 2019

Pack your duffle for "Camp Average"

Camp Average 
by Craig Battle
240 pages; ages 8 - 12
Owlkids, 2019

I spent many memorable weeks at summer camp – hiking, doing arts and crafts, canoeing, and learning archery – and later as a camp counselor. Author Craig Battle has spent his share of weeks coaching rambunctious boys at a sports camp. Years later he began wondering, what if a camp director pushed kids to become more competitive?

The first chapter sets the tone for this fun summer romp. We see yellow buses bumping their way over a potholed dirt road into camp [I’m pretty sure all roads into camps are required to have a minimum number of potholes]. From inside the buses comes a loud chant: “We’re number two!” as the buses roll to a stop at Camp Avalon – or Camp Average, as the kids call it. There’s a mess hall, the baseball diamond, the lake, and counselors wearing bright orange camp T-shirts. There are pranks, the annual telling of the camp legend, and camp food.

As the kids settle in to their cabins, readers settle in for some fun summer reading.  Except all is not well at Camp Average! Because in the morning, when Mack and his buddies head to the main field, they discover it has been transformed. As Craig writes, “…it looked less like their old camp and more like something straight out of the NFL Scouting Combine, the event where college football players showcase their skills for professional coaches.”

And Mack and his friends do not like this one bit. They were looking forward to a summer of fun on the waterfront, and friendly ball games against the other camps. Now they are pushed to show athletic aptitude. The guys decide they need to nip this competitiveness in the bud – but how?

Over the summer the kids deal with interpersonal challenges as well as challenges on the field. I don’t want to give away the fun, but let’s just say that it’s harder to intentionally lose games than you’d think. This is definitely one book you’ll want to pack in your duffel for summer reading!

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review ARC provided by the publisher.


  1. Oh, this sounds hilarious! My son has only been to one summer sleepaway camp for a week in Maine, and he would have been just as outraged at the "bate n switch" as these kids are here. Will have to take a look at this fun MG story. Cheers!

  2. Camp stories are definitely a trend this spring, but I still love them. Never had the experience of a bus taking campers, so I find that odd and fascinating. THanks for sharing!

  3. I'm also an alumni camp goer—both as a counselor and young camper. I'm looking forward to reading this new story. I'm sure it will have me reliving those fun days outdoors

  4. This sounds like a super-fun book, especially for people with experience at summer camps. Thanks so much for the review!

  5. Oh, I love the sound of this story! Thank you for your thorough review and for sharing it with us for MMGM.

  6. I only went to summer camp once for a week, and it was so much fun. This book sounds perfect for summer.

  7. Some good insights about camps. This sounds like a fun summer read. Thanks for telling me about it.

  8. That kind of a camp change would bother me too!