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Summer Camp Secrets: Book 2
by Melissa J. Morgan
Jenna is a Camp Lakeview legend, famed for the pranks she pulls. But frustrated by her over-protective sister and too-perfect brother, her practical jokes seem to be getting less and less funny this summer. Is it just sibling strife or is something else going on?
“a frothy, fun-packed read”
School Librarian Journal
Hey, Big Bro! How’s everything at science school? Are you bored to death yet? Just kidding. I’m sure you’re having the bestest best time of your life, being that you’re such a monster science geek. Ha-ha.
Anyway, thanks for the letter and the “Honk If You Love Cheese” bumper sticker. It’s perfect for my collection. I have over thirty now, and they’re all taped up to the wall above my bunk. All I need is a car to stick them on and I’m all set. But seriously, I know you’re worried about me getting into trouble at camp this year, but I swear, so far I’ve been really good. Well, sort of good. Almost totally good. I’ve only pulled a couple of pranks, and they were way small. So don’t worry. Mom and Dad won’t be getting any freak-out phone calls from Dr. Steve. Like you said, I know they don’t need that right now.
But you know, if those two didn’t want to get any freak-out phone calls in their lives, maybe they should have thought of that before they had four kids, right? Ha-ha.
Okay, gotta go to lunch. Alex is blowing her top because I’m holding up the bunk. Can you say “control freak”? (I mean, she’s one of my best friends, but come on. One of these days she’s gonna give herself a way-early heart attack.) Anyway, don’t have much to send in return for the bumper sticker, so I’m enclosing this leaf from one of the Camp Lakeview trees to remind you of the actual fun summers you used to have here before you became Science Boy. (Kidding!)
PS I love you, too! But don’t let it go to your head.
“Cupcakes for everyone!” Jenna Bloom called out, placing the big, foil-lined box in the centre of the creaky bunk floor. She had returned from lunch to find yet another care package from her mom, this one filled with chocolate-on-chocolate cakes, each covered in sprinkles. Her mother had even put in these cardboard divider things she had invented a couple of years ago so each cupcake had its own little compartment, and there was hardly any mess at all. (Except for some icing on the top of the box. Jenna’s mom was all about minimal mess.) As soon as Jenna set the box down, all her friends in bunk 3C dropped what they were doing and hit the floor in a circle.
“You know, I’ve been trying to get you guys to huddle up for ten minutes, and no one listens to me,” Julie, the bunk counsellor, said. Jenna could tell by her half-smile that she was only pretending to be annoyed as she stood over them. “Are you telling me all I had to do was bribe you with sweets?”
“All you ever have to do is bribe us with sweets,” Grace joked. She dropped the book she was reading and quickly wrapped her curly red hair back in a ponytail. “We never get good desserts around here unless Jenna’s parents send them to us.”
It was true. Jenna’s mom and dad had been responsible for most of the sugar highs in 3C this summer. Jenna was proud and happy that her parents were so popular with her friends.
“I call the one with the most icing!” Chelsea said, leaning over the box until her long blonde hair fell forward and almost got stuck in one of the cakes.
“Which one is that?” Valerie asked.
“I don’t know yet, but it’s mine,” Chelsea replied in her ever-bossy way.
“Well, I’m taking this one,” Brynn announced, her voice booming. She grabbed a cupcake from the centre and licked half the icing off the top. As soon as one was gone, everyone in the circle attacked, laughing and fake-whining over how small or big their choice was.
“Sheesh. It’s like they’ve never seen a cupcake before,” Jenna joked to Alex Kim, who was the only girl in the bunch not grabbing for the snacks. “Don’t you want one?”
“Nah,” Alex said, shrugging one shoulder. “I’m still stuffed from lunch.”
Jenna felt her face flush, and she looked away. Alex was the only person who never took her up on her offers of candy bars and cookies whenever her mom and dad sent packages. It was like she thought she was too good for the Blooms’ gifts. Jenna didn’t get it. She and Alex had both been coming to camp at Lakeview for four years – the longest legacies in the bunk – and they had always been good friends. They both knew more about Lakeview than anyone else, and together they felt kind of like the leaders of the bunk. But as close as they were, there were certain things about Alex that Jenna didn’t understand. Like how she was sometimes so blunt – even when what she said might hurt someone’s feelings – and she acted like that was the only way to be. And Jenna really didn’t understand this whole turning-down chocolate thing.
“You sure?” Jenna asked.
“Yeah. Thanks, anyway,” Alex said, smoothing her hand through her short, dark hair.
“More for us, then,” Jenna said, diving in. She grabbed a cupcake and sunk her teeth in, savouring the gooey sweetness. Her mom was the best baker in the world.
“Your parents are so cool,” Sarah said, taking a napkin from the box to wipe her mouth. She pushed her Boston Red Sox baseball cap up on her forehead a bit so Jenna could actually see her eyes. “They send you, like, two packages a week!”
“Yeah! Like two packages! It’s crazy!” Candace put in as she licked some icing off her finger. Short and pale with cropped brown hair, Candace was one of those people who agreed with everything anyone else said. Her parents didn’t believe in sweets and only sent her letters, so Candace spent most of her summer at camp eating as much sugar as possible and feeling ill half the time.
“You’re so lucky, Jen,” Natalie added with a grin. Her cupcake was neatly displayed on the floor in front of her, standing in the centre of its wrapper. Clearly, Nat was trying to figure out the best way to dive in without ruining her new tank top. Natalie’s clothes were very important to her.
Yeah, really lucky, Jenna thought, her heart squeezing in her chest as she tried to smile. Double the care packages. Yee-ha. She didn’t even want to think about the real reason she was getting so much mail this year, so she forced herself to ignore it.
“You know, it’s really nice how you always share your goodies with the bunk,” Julie said, reaching out and tousling Jenna’s curly brown hair.
Jenna brushed aside her unhappy thoughts and beamed over the praise. She glanced at Alex, who looked away quickly as if she hadn’t noticed. Jenna knew Alex couldn’t stand it when anyone else was singled out.
“Well, when you have two brothers and a sister, you kind of have to learn to share,” Jenna said, earning a laugh from her friends.
“Everyone! Let’s thank Jenna!” Julie announced.
“Thank you, Jenna!” shouted ten half-full mouths. Then everyone fell into a group giggle fit, crumbs flying everywhere. Even Natalie gave up on trying to stay neat and took a huge bite of her cupcake, letting the sprinkles fall all over the place.
“All right! So now that I’ve got you all in one place, I have the list of electives!” Julie announced, tucking her short blonde hair behind her ears. She pulled out her ever-present clipboard and sat down on Natalie’s bunk.
Jenna’s heart thumped with excitement. Every two weeks at Camp Lakeview, the campers got to concentrate on two elective programmes. Last week, they had given Julie their top three choices, and now they would find out which two classes they had been placed in. Jenna was hoping for photography and sports. She had always wanted to learn how to take good pictures of her friends (and maybe how to take some secret, spy cam-style shots of her brothers and sister as well – very useful for bribery). Plus, sports was always a top choice. Jenna had a lot of extra energy to expend, and she loved all kinds of athletics. She, Alex and Sarah were the biggest jocks in the cabin, and they always signed up for sports.
“So, Nat, going for nature again?” Jenna teased, nudging her friend as Jessie – the camper who always had her nose in a book – went up to Julie to get her electives.
“I don’t think so,” Natalie replied, flipping her long, dark hair behind her shoulder. “The whole campout thing is a great story, but I so don’t need to go there again. I’m hoping for the newspaper and ceramics.”
“Ceramics?” Alyssa asked, looking surprised. Alyssa was an artist, writer and all-around creative type. Half her clothes were spattered with paint, and she was always doing cool and creative things with her dark hair, like twisting it into tiny braids or crazy buns. Jenna knew Alyssa had requested arts and crafts and the newspaper as her top electives.
“What? I could be artistic and not even know it,” Natalie replied. “This time next year I could have a line of high-end vases and bowls in all the best boutiques in New York.”
Jenna, Alyssa and Valerie, another of Jenna’s long-time camp friends, all cracked up laughing.
“Fine! See if I invite you to my red-carpet gallery opening,” Natalie grumbled, hiding a smile.
“Maybe she wants to make a ceramic statue of Simon!” Jenna teased, watching Natalie’s face go red. Everyone laughed even harder, and Jenna giggled happily. She loved making people laugh, and this joke was too easy to make. Simon was a boy in Jenna’s twin brother Adam’s bunk whom Natalie had been crushing on since the first week of camp. Most of the girls in the bunk thought boys were gross and annoying, so they loved to tease Natalie about Simon.
“Okay, okay. Are you guys ever going to stop picking on me about this?” Natalie asked, still smiling.
“Sometime, maybe,” Jenna said. “Check back with me next summer.”
“Nat! You’re up!” Julie called.
“Ha-ha,” Natalie said, nudging Jenna’s leg with her toe as she got up and walked over to Julie.
Jenna kicked back and munched on her cupcake while the rest of the bunk went up one by one to get their electives. Suddenly, the door banged open and in walked Marissa, the counsellor-in-training who helped out in their bunk, along with Jenna’s older sister, Stephanie, who was also a CIT. Stephanie had been stuck with bunk 3A, who happened to be the rivals of bunk 3C. Normally, CITs would at least be semi-cold to the CITs of their rival bunks, but not Marissa. She and Stephanie were best friends and couldn’t care less about the rivalry.
“Hey, Boo,” Stephanie said. “You got cupcakes, too, huh?”
“Steph, I told you not to call me that here,” Jenna said, scrambling to her feet. At home, her family nickname didn’t bother her, but the last thing she wanted was for her bunkmates to start using the cutesy name for her. Then the guys would find out, and suddenly everyone at Lakeview would be calling her “Boo”, which was only her nickname because she had apparently loved peekaboo so much when she was, like, two.
“Oh, right. Sorry,” Stephanie said, reaching out to smooth Jenna’s hair behind her ears. “Did you even wash up today?” The girl actually licked her finger and went to wipe something off Jenna’s cheek.
“Ew! Do not touch me with that!” Jenna pulled away, her face turning bright red as a couple of her bunkmates giggled. “Okay, why did you bring her here?” Jenna asked Marissa.
“I’m not getting in the middle of this,” Marissa replied, backing away.
It wasn’t like Jenna hated her big sister. She actually loved her – most of the time. But when they were away at camp, Stephanie always acted like she was suddenly supposed to be Jenna’s mom or something. And she was only sixteen – just five years older than Jenna. It drove Jenna up the wall. It also didn’t help that Stephanie was totally gorgeous and cool, which meant all the girls looked up to her, and all the boys followed her around like puppy dogs. Totally sickening, if you asked Jenna.
“Sorry!” Stephanie said, her blue eyes sparkling as she raised her hands in surrender. “I just came by to borrow some nail polish from Marissa. Pretend I’m not even here.”
Marissa and Stephanie walked over to Marissa’s bed and started to go through the CIT’s big pink box of cosmetics. Jenna let out a sigh. Sometimes it was cool having her sister and Adam at camp with her at the same time. It was nice having family around and knowing there were people she could go to if she needed someone or got homesick. But those things hardly ever happened to Jenna, and in the meantime it was like everywhere she went, there was a sibling watching her or picking on her or trying to tell her what to do. Plus, because her oldest brother Matt had also gone to Lakeview, half the grown-ups here couldn’t keep all the Bloom kids straight, so they just called her “Bloom”. It was totally annoying. Sometimes she just wished she could get away from them all.
“Jenna, you’re next,” Julie said.
Jenna quickly wiped her cheek, wondering what Stephanie had seen on there, and sat down next to Julie.
“Okay, you got photography, which was your first choice,” Julie told her. “But for your other elective, I could only get you your third choice, the newspaper.”
“No sports?” Jenna asked, disappointed.
“No, not this time,” Julie said. “But don’t worry. You still have a million active activities to keep you busy. And, hey, Natalie and Alyssa are on the paper, so that’ll be cool.”
“Yeah. Welcome to our world,” Alyssa said with a smile, overhearing.
“Cool,” Jenna said, brightening.
Since camp had started two weeks ago, she had really gotten to know and like the two new girls. It might be fun working on the paper with them. Besides, she liked hanging out with newbies. Jenna had been coming to Lakeview for years, and the new kids always needed her help finding their way around. It made her feel important. Instantly, her disappointment was forgotten. Jenna had never been one to dwell very long on the bad. She was all about the good. And, besides, Julie was right: they had swimming every day – either lessons or free swim, which was the best part of camp. Plus, the bunk competed in various sports with other bunks in their age group almost every day. She would have plenty of exercise.
“So, Bo...I mean, Jenna,” Stephanie said, stepping up with a bottle of silver nail polish. “What did you get?”
“The newspaper and photography,” Jenna replied.
“Oh, that’s so cool!” Stephanie exclaimed. “I just saw Adam before I came over here, and he got photography, too! I guess you guys will be spending a lot of time together!”
Jenna tipped her head back and groaned. Perfect. So much for getting away from her family. Two whole weeks stuck in the darkroom with her twin brother. Wasn’t it enough that they’d had to share a womb for nine months? When was the torture going to end?
Do you agree or disagree with the reviews below? Why not write your own?
I just LOVVVVEEEE these books! And i just like the girls! Jenna is my absolute favourite! It's a GREAT read
Leah, 3rd January 2012
I have read books 1,2,3,and 6. I particularly liked Prankster Queen. I really like Jenna because she's a bit of a daredevil, but she is a bit of a mystery. When you find out what happens, it's great!!!
Talia, 14th May 2008
I LOVE these books
I started reading these books for 2 weeks and so far have read 3 of them. I have read 2, 5 and 4 but so far Prankster Queen is my fave. But I am lovin them all. I LOVE these books. 10/10 full marks Chloe x (age 10)
Chloe, 6th September 2007
I have only just started reading these books I've really liked the first book because I'm in to books like the one about Natalie and Simon. But I'm starting to like this second book and I can't wait to read the rest.
laura, 3rd August 2007
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