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Summer Camp Secrets: Book 7
Three's a crowd
by Melissa J. Morgan
Tori’s new to Lakeview and she’s already out to steal New Yorker Natalie’s crown as biggest princess. Meanwhile, Nat is finding it hard to split her time between boyfriend Simon and best friend Alyssa. But when it seems that Alyssa is going off with Tori, Nat can’t help getting jealous. Will the girls be able to patch things up?
“a frothy, fun-packed read”
School Librarian Journal
Lexile Measure: 760L (info)
198 x 130mm
THREE'S A CROWD
I guess sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction, huh? I mean, if this time last year you had told me that I would be RETURNING to Camp Lake-puke – voluntarily, no less – I would have laughed in your face. And then run away
And yet. Here I am, crowded onto a smelly, oversized charter bus and surrounded by kids singing “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” at the top of their lungs. And even though they are only at eighty-seven bottles, and even though some of these kids couldn’t make the first cut of American Idol, I don’t have the vaguest impulse to scream. In fact, I’m feeling pretty zen. I even chimed in for a bar or two, somewhere back around ninety-one bottles or so.
Pretty amazing, huh?
Not only am I not hating the thought of coming back to camp, I’m even excited about it! Mom shipped me a survival kit of soy crisps and PowerBars well in advance this time around. No more tuna surprises for me! And I am all stocked up on magazines. Alyssa’s here sitting next to me – she says “hi” – and Grace is somewhere up front, leading a small faction of non-singers in a rousing game of bus charades. It’s hilarious. And I can’t wait to see the rest of the girls: Jenna, Valerie, Sarah, Alex, and the other 3C-ers.
And, um, a particular boy.
Yes, Simon. He’s been awesome about writing and calling, as you know, but we’ve only seen each other once in person since the reunion. I’m going into serious withdrawal. I really, really hope he’s as excited to see me as I am to see him. But only time will tell, right? Right. I wish you were here to give me one of your patented pep talks.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little nervous. Who am I kidding? Of course
you’ve noticed – Simon’s all we ever talk about. Bless you, you’re a good friend...
Anyway, the natives are getting restless, which must mean that we’re almost there. That, and Alyssa just told me that we’re almost there. See how smart
I’d better sign off. Try not to miss me too much while you’re strolling along the Champs Élysées, eating chocolate croissants and shopping till you drop.
Feel free to send me some French chocolate whenever the spirit moves you.
Natalie Goode capped her purple felt-tipped pen, folded her letter to her best friend, Hannah, into quarters, and tucked it into the front pouch of her backpack. She sighed contentedly. Hannah was spending the summer in France with her mother, a super-glamorous foreign ambassador. Hannah’s parents travelled a ton for work, and so over the summers they preferred to travel with their daughter, preferably to various exotic locales.
Not Natalie’s parents, though. Natalie’s mother was an art buyer, and summers were her time to scout new talent. And Natalie’s father...well, he had a pretty offbeat career.
Natalie’s father was Tad Maxwell, a hugely famous movie star who mostly appeared in big-time action movies. He lived in LA full-time but was on the road a lot, shooting on location and doing press junkets for his various movies and stuff. Natalie missed him of course, but her parents had gotten divorced when she was pretty young, and so by now she was used to the situation. Her dad loved her; she knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt, and she never took for granted the time they had together.
In fact, for Natalie, the biggest thing about having a famous father was worrying what other kids would think of her. At her school, lots of kids had parents who were ultra-wealthy or had super-high-powered jobs and stuff. So they didn’t think anything of the fact that Natalie’s father was a movie star. But she never knew how other people – and, in particular, new people – would react. That was one of the reasons Natalie had been so nervous last summer when her mother had shipped her off to Camp Lakeview – or “Lake-puke”, as Nat had affectionately come to call it. (The other reason had to do with a deathly aversion to “the Great Outdoors” that Nat had since gotten over – kind of.)
When Natalie thought about how totally unenthusiastic she had been about camp last summer, she had to laugh. After all, she’d made some amazing friends at Lakeview, and learned a lot about herself in the process. Okay, sure, people were slightly weirded out when they found out the truth about her father, but her friends – her real friends – were mostly just disappointed that she hadn’t felt that she could confide in them. And, besides, that was all over now, anyway. Her secret was out in the open. Way out in the open. Natalie wondered if her friend Alex, a Lakeview legend and soccer champ, had brought her Tad Maxwell poster back to camp this summer. Or maybe she even got a new one, Nat thought. Alex could be a little bit bossy sometimes, so she and Nat had had their share of friction now and then, but she was a dedicated camper and a supremely loyal friend. Natalie was psyched to be bunking with her again this summer.
“I can’t wait to see Jenna,” Alyssa said, rousing Natalie from her internal monologue. “She told me she bought a book of practical jokes that she’s dying to try out.”
“Jenna should know better than that,” Natalie quipped. Their fellow 3C-er was a noted prankster whose jokes had not gone without consequence the summer before. Of course, her good humour was so infectious that it was difficult to stay upset with her for too long.
“Anyway, she told me that she would meet us at the great field, where the buses let out,” Alyssa continued. She pointed out the streaky, tinted window. “Can you
see her?” she asked, cupping her eyes against the glass and squinting out. Their bus was, at present, rumbling to a halt along the field. Somehow, while Natalie had been lost in her daydream, they had arrived at camp!
“Yeah, she’s...” Natalie’s voice trailed off as she broke out laughing. “She’s the one tap-dancing down the path. Minus the tap shoes.” She giggled again as their friend made her way into the melee of the great field, kicking up great clouds of dust as she moved forward.
Their bus screeched to a halt, coughing exhaust fumes and sputtering as the engine died. The campers cried out, jumping out of their seats and moving eagerly towards the door. “One at a time,” their bus counsellor, Pete, begged in vain. Pete was a member of the kitchen staff who was so good-natured that it was hard to hold his terrible cooking against him.
“I call bottom bunk,” Natalie shouted, playfully shoving past Alyssa and bounding down the steps of the bus.
“Hey, no fair calling the bunk before it’s in sight,” Alyssa protested, hot on Natalie’s heels.
“Jenna!” Natalie shrieked, flinging her arms around her friend as though they hadn’t seen each other in ages. Which, come to think of it, we haven’t, Natalie realized. The last time their entire bunk had been together had been at the camp reunion – back in February! “Did you see our bunk yet? Is it nicer than last year’s bunk? Is there mould in the showers? Are the screen windows torn?” The perma smile faded from Jenna’s face, prompting Natalie’s suspicion. “Oh, no. Is there mould in the showers?”
Jenna shook her head slowly. She wasn’t tap-dancing any more. Natalie had a feeling that whatever Jenna had to tell her, it was pretty serious. “Oh, no,” Natalie teased, trying to lighten the mood. “Are there spiders in the showers?”
Jenna smiled, but it was a weak smile at best. This has got to be bad news, Natalie thought, a cold fist of dread settling into her stomach like a lead weight.
Alyssa, always no-nonsense, adjusted her tote bag over her shoulder and stepped forward, hands on her hips like she meant business. “Come on, Jenna. Worse than spiders? Spill.”
“It’s our bunk, 4A,” Jenna said, looking much more sombre than Natalie could ever recall seeing her.
“What, did we get, like, an awful counsellor or something?” Natalie asked, growing increasingly worried. An awful counsellor could really be a bad omen, as far as enjoyment of the summer was concerned.
“Well, no. At least, as far as I know,” Jenna said nervously. Natalie raised an eyebrow quizzically. “It’s just—” Jenna finally blurted. “Our bunk!” she sputtered. “We’re not all together this summer.”
“You mean—” Alyssa cut in anxiously.
“Exactly,” Jenna said, shaking her head. “We’ve been
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omg this rox!
I'm from the USA and it's called "Camp Confidential" there. This book is awesome!
Julia, 13th February 2009
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