Cover image for The lost girls of camp forevermore : [a novel] / Kim Fu.
Title:
The lost girls of camp forevermore : [a novel] / Kim Fu.
Author:
ISBN:
9781443453592
Edition:
First Canadian edition.
Publication Information:
Toronto : HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
249 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from cover.
Abstract:
A group of young girls descends on Camp Forevermore. Bursting with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. Before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home. We see the survivors through the successes and failures, loves and heartbreaks of their teen and adult years, and we come to understand how a tragedy can alter the lives it touches in innumerable ways.
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Summary

Summary

From the award-winning author of For Today I Am a Boy, a gripping and deeply felt novel about a group of young girls at a remote camp--and the night that will shape their lives for decades to come

A group of young girls descends on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets and camp songs by the fire. Bursting 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 follows these five girls--Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina and Siobhan--through and beyond this fateful trip. We see the survivors through the successes and failures, loves and heartbreaks of their teen and adult years, and we come to understand how a tragedy can alter the lives it touches in innumerable ways. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves--and the pasts we can't escape.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the latest from Fu (For Today I Am a Boy), which reads like a collection of linked short stories, a summer-camp accident changes the lives of five girls, all between the ages of nine and 11. Nita, Andee, Isabel, Siobhan, and Dina arrive at Camp Forevermore in the Pacific Northwest for different reasons-entranced by brochures featuring girls with "bold smiles of uneven teeth and no-nonsense braids," or eager to escape the strictures of their monotonous upbringings. At first occupied by swimming tests and self-conscious friendships, the campers soon embark on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island to become "capable, knowledgeable outdoorswomen." When group leader Jan falls ill, the girls are forced to traverse the island's dense woods seeking rescue, and must contend with the elements and one other. In sections that alternate between the events of the trip and the sweep of each character's adult life, effects of the trauma linger; from Dina's eating disorder and failed modeling career to Nita's sublimated, near-rabid need for her son to Siobhan's mistrust of children. Fu precisely renders the banal humiliations of childhood, the chilling steps humans take to survive, and the way time warps memory. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

#+ |9780802127020 ~ one hundred years before the arrival of the Pilgrims, Mexicans were already here. (With typical dark humor they used to say that when God ordered Fiat luxi, Híspanles were late with the bill for the electric company.) Carlos Fuentes was 10 years old when his father, a Mexican diplomat in Washington, took him to see a film that included the secession of Texas from Mexico; the boy stood up in the dark and cried, "Viva Mexico!" It was a sense of duty he carried all his life. Gabriel García Márquez journeyed to the South, following in Faulkner's footsteps. In his own Faulknerian accounts of too many years of solitude he adds that the Americans, with the excuse of eradicating yellow fever, stayed in the Caribbean far too long. Fuentes was once forbidden to disembark from a ship in Puerto Rico, and García Márquez was asked to strip naked at customs. "El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America" is the book that Americans, Anglo and Hispanic, should read as an education on their own American place or role. The author of "Empire's Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean From Columbus to the Present Day," Carrie Gibson takes on the task of accounting for the relevant and telling cases of our modern process of national formation and regional negotiations. This is a serious book of history but also an engaging project of reading the future in the past. Crossing borders has become a formal rite de passage toward identity, and Latin Americans are experts in dealing with the walls, fences and barriers of misreading - as Mexican, Hispanic-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Caribbean and Latin American, not to mention Latino, mestizo, mulatto, Native and every other wall of misrepresentation. This formidable display of categorization has produced a complex and intricate cultural system of representing ethnic territories, racial mappings and exclusionary perceptions. To split the atom has proved to be easier than to split a prejudice. The civil society reinforced what is not-inclusive: skin color, religion and language. Identity was forged from the color of the others, languages of origin, religions and bone size. Gibson recounts this forgotten epic, but one can also read her story as a reliable travel guide, a long ride along the path of an elusive but powerful history. And even if that history is new to most of us, it is a familiar tale for many nations moving beyond the walls into a territory of common goals. In most of the cities there have been people writing and protesting, forging from modest presses a regional demand for a possible public space, voices of a civilization and of a law against intolerance and violence. They are the forgotten heroes of the press, journalists and chroniclers, travelers and booksellers. Some of the cases in "El Norte" are more tragic than others, like the painful history of Puerto Rico, where the Arawak people, or Tainos, the pacific society that Columbus encountered, had an easy laugh and were as curious as children. We now know, thanks to the Spanish historian Consuelo Varela, that Columbus stopped their baptism as Christians in order to sell them as slaves; he even managed to get a percentage from the first bordello in the Americas. The Tainos, of course, disappeared, but others in the Caribbean did not. They didn't appreciate Columbus's gifts of marbles, and they would have returned to Donald Trump the paper towels he threw to the victims of Hurricane Maria. History repeats itself, now as shame. What is particularly fascinating about this book is that its encyclopedic project is not a rewriting of history but a recitation of readings. Almost each historical event is retold through memory, recording, evaluation and discussion. This is history as dialogue. It leaves the mourning authority of archives and takes its place as a long conversation, presupposing that truth can be reached through an extended pilgrimage, a journey through violence, discrimination, racism, exploitation and the inferno created by occupation. The narrative becomes not a tribunal but a hospice to language, shelter to the loss of meaning imposed by violence. Mexico lost half its territory and many lives, but the voices of Thoreau and Lincoln are here to sound an alarm and to hope. The model of replacing a tribunal with a conversation is reminiscent of Montaigne: Lacking friends, he lamented that Plato was not around to talk about the wonders of the New World and its inhabitants, who ignored the distinction between "mine" and "yours." GIBSON LETS THE FACTS speak. But one would also like to read the saga of memory, that is, the version of the epic of "El Norte" through literature and fiction. The writer and critic Domingo F. Sarmiento came to the United States to learn from the American example of progress, and as president of Argentina to replicate those monuments of civilization that he saw: schools, railroads, immigration. Each of them fell short of his expectations. The Cuban poet and activist José Marti loved New York, but found that the people were composed of the "yeast of tigers." In "One Hundred Years of Solitude," García Márquez retells the American arrival in the South through the town of Macondo - where they discover the banana, move the river, bring modern tools. But it all ends in a massacre. Fuentes relates the story of an old writer who moves to Mexico: "A gringo in Mexico, that is euthanasia." Roberto Bolafto recounts the number of women killed around the maquiladoras. The border but also the migration, narcotics but also life in-between are elaborated in Yuri Herrera's fiction. The displacement of women in the novels of Carmen Bullosa and Cristina Rivera Garza, as well as the chronicles of Heriberto Yépez on dying-daily in Tijuana, explore new discourses of sorrow. The North has also become a growing space of rereading. The Mexican-American novelist Rolando Hinojosa-Smith used to say that as a kid from El Valle, he started reading fiction that had been translated into Spanish. He thought that all writers were Mexicans, despite some strange names - Dumas, Chekhov, Dos Passos. It seems that el Norte is not only a cemetery. It is also a national library. Mexico lost half its territory, but Thoreau and Lincoln were there to sound the alarm. JULIO ortega, a professor at Brown, is the author, among many other books, of "Transatlantic Translations." "La Comedia Literaria," his memoirs, will appear this year.


Library Journal Review

For five preteen Camp Forevermore girls, a simple overnight kayaking trip turns horrifying when their group leader dies mysteriously and the girls must find their way back alone. One insists on remaining with the corpse; the others leave and promise to send help. Interspersed with their dramatic quest are the girls' individual stories-each voiced by a separate narrator-before and after their Forevermore experience. -Soneela Nankani is precocious medical student Nita, who becomes a troubled mother of two. Andee's story, read by Tavia Gilbert, is told by her sister Kayla, who chronicles the peripatetic childhood driven by their self-absorbed single mother's whims. Nicol Zanzarella is Isabel, who finds brief happiness in marriage. Emily Woo Zeller chases Dina, who finds only disappointment in Los Angeles. Sophie Amoss is Siobhan, who narrates the camp ordeal and elliptically reveals her adulthood as a psychology researcher. Fu's (For Today I Am a Boy) exploration of the harrowing intersecting moment among young people who barely know each other is a fascinating puzzle of reactions and reverberations. -VERDICT Libraries should encourage the broader audiences Fu's work so deserves by providing her titles in all formats.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

CAMP FOREVERMORE The girls stood on the dock and sang the camp song, "Camp Forevermore." They sang in voices at worst bored or dutiful, but more often thrilled, chests swelling with unity and conviction, that feeling of being part of something larger than themselves, their brash, off-key voices combined into one grand instrument: "And I shall love my sisters/for-ev-er-more." In 1994, the song had echoed out over the Pacific Ocean for six decades. They stood straight-backed and solemn-faced as soldiers in formation, even the ones who itched to squirm, to collapse into their natural, slumped posture, who were rolling their toes in their shoes and humming to themselves, squeezing their lips in their fingers to suppress a bubble of nervous laughter. Counselors dragged plastic bins of orange life jackets from one of the storehouses adjacent to the dock. The life jackets varied in size and some had broken buckles and split seams. The girls picked through to find intact jackets that fit, the process both hurried and cautious, drawing attention to their newly divergent bodies. Ten-year-old Siobhan Dougherty snatched one and slid her arms through the holes. Would it reveal her to be too tall, too wide, too infantile, anything other than the universal girl-size implied by the unsorted bins? She fumbled to adjust the buckles and lengthen the straps, her fingers cold and stiff, until finally the jacket clicked shut. Satisfying clicks echoed up and down the dock. By some miracle, no one was left behind. Two days earlier, Siobhan had stepped through the wooden gates of Camp Forevermore for the first time. The group of low log buildings in a man-made clearing, at the nexus of forest and sea, looked just the way it had in the brochure. Upper-middle-class girls (and, as of 1976, a small group of need-based essay-contest winners) from up and down the northwest coast of North America, including both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, were sent to Forevermore, the name meant, like its religious and pseudo-Native American competitors, to project ancient knowledge. Nine-to-eleven-year-old girls would leave home fretful and finicky and return as capable, knowledgeable outdoorswomen, remade in the wholesomeness of woods and sisterhood. The best of its kind, crowed the brochure. Siobhan wanted to be more like the heroines of the books she liked, about girl detectives and girl adventurers: tomboyish, scrappy, and resourceful, able to outsmart adults and survive without them, her body sun-brown and waiflike. She was, instead, a freckled, blue-eyed redhead, pale and dense as a block of shortening, who wasn't allowed to use the stove. The one time she'd been left alone at home after dark, she'd turned on all the lamps, the TV, and the stereo, needing a protective shell of voices and light. Above all, she was looking forward to the kayaking trip, the central adventure of the first week. In small groups, the girls would kayak to a remote island and camp overnight. The brochure had stressed to parents that the overnight would build character and an appreciation of the outdoors within safe boundaries, but none of the pictures had adults in them. Just the campers, posing in their kayaks with their paddles triumphantly raised. Carrying firewood and military-style duffel bags in their twiggy arms, holding hands and jumping into the ocean. Bearing bold smiles of uneven teeth and no-nonsense braids and ponytails, these were girl pirates, girl spaceship captains, warrior princesses--the thrilling, independent societies of children that had existed only in Siobhan's books. Even on that first, clear afternoon, the dark earth between the gravel paths and the deep green of towering pine, fir, and spruce trees contained the memory of recent snow and rain. The ocean at the far end of the camp was the color of slate. Everything Siobhan was wearing was brand new: a black fleece she'd chosen for its silver heart-shaped zipper pull, her first pair of hiking boots, even her underwear. She felt a thrilling, terrifying dissolution of self. She was far from her parents, her classmates, anyone who had ever known her. She was curious to find out who she would be. The first day passed in a blur. The girls were shuffled from place to place, given a lecture and a quick meal, hurried to an early bedtime and an awkward silence in the cabins with their counselor-chaperones. The morning of the second day, they faced a swimming test, shivering and exposed as they eyed one another on the dock, then timed as they swam for fifty meters parallel to the shore. In sporty Speedo one-pieces, in childish frills and sea-creature patterns, the girls first noticed Dina Chang, a nine-year-old from Vancouver Island. There was nothing precisely remarkable about her appearance, her wholly prepubescent chest and legs and golden-brown skin in a black-and-white two-piece, but they could not keep their eyes off of her. Her every movement was magnetic. Girls brought her tied-together daisies, plastic bracelets, and toys they'd brought from home. Someone offered her the carton of chocolate milk from her morning snack. Dina shrugged and twirled a strand of her glossy black hair, like the attention was nothing new, no big deal. During one of the swim tests, the girls' conversations trailed off as one by one they stopped talking to watch. The girl in the water was struggling. She kept stopping to tread and change strokes, from a frantic, ineffectual crawl--kicking up geysers of water without gaining any forward momentum--to a pathetic-looking doggie paddle, fighting to keep her head up, a tangle of dirty-blond hair plastered across her face. Andee Allen was ten years old and from Seattle, Washington. "One of the scholarship girls," someone stage-whispered. One of the girls they should feel sorry for and be extra kind to. As the minutes ticked by and Andee continued to flounder in the water, the girls turned their attention to the counselors administering the test, particularly the one holding a stopwatch. They hadn't failed anyone, no matter how slow or poor her technique, as long as the camper could cross the distance somehow. But surely this was too much, and any minute now, they would jump in and tow or carry Andee to shore, and she wouldn't be allowed on the kayak trip. The adults looked transfixed by Andee. When Andee finally swam a little closer, Siobhan could see why: the determined set of her mouth, the ferocity in her eyes. How much she wanted to finish. She would finish, no matter what. It would be cruel to stop her. And more to the point, if they ever were stranded in the ocean, Andee--who had been in the water for what felt like an eternity--would be the last to go down. When Andee's hand slapped the far pillar of the dock, the counselors cheered. Two of them reached in and pulled her out by her forearms and the back of her swimsuit. Andee lay gasping on the planks like a fish in the open air. They had kayak lessons for the rest of the day, their first tangle with the life jackets. At the outset, their neon-green kayaks crowded the shallows of the beach, knocking against one another like rubber ducks let loose in a bathtub. By late afternoon, each girl could escape a rollover, do a forward paddle stroke, and self-propel in a straight line. At dinner, Siobhan was among the girls assigned to set the tables. Nita Prithi--eleven years old, from a midsize town in central California, in her third and final year at Forevermore--bossily led the group around, making the expansive gestures of a magician's assistant. "Here's where the forks and spoons are. Here are the cups. Here are the pitchers for water," she said. Nita was intimidating-looking, broad-shouldered with a heavy, clomping step, an oversize sweatshirt pulled down over early breasts, a wide mouth, and dark, expressive eyebrows. Another group of girls carried the steamer trays of food from the kitchen. Excerpted from The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.