Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nancy Drew meets the Babysitters Club

Reviewed by Phee Paradise
Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake by Renae Brumbaugh

I want to recommend The Mystery at Discovery Lake to every pre-teen girl you know, but I have a few reservations. The book has a lot of action and the story moves quickly, which will attract a young reader. Six girls at a Christian summer camp find a puppy and stumble on a mystery. The girls develop a wholesome and loyal friendship and they try to be nice to the obligatory mean girl in camp.

But they hide the puppy in their cabin and spend their free time poking into things that are none of their business. While doing so, they break a few rules and come close to invading someone’s privacy. Eventually they realize not everything they are doing is right, but in the end they solve the mystery and are rewarded for it. Their deception and rule breaking are ignored by the adults at the camp.

Aside from this confusing message about right and wrong, the book has a Christian viewpoint and at least one girl has a strong relationship with God. She competes in a Bible memory contest and spends some time thinking about the scriptures she is learning. She wants to please God and her attitude influences the other girls.

At first, I found it difficult to tell the six main characters apart. Point of view changes added to the confusion, although by the end of the book, three of the characters stood out from the others. I also couldn’t quite accept the girls’ age differences. I don’t know any 14 year old who would become best friends with a 9 year old.

Overall, it’s a good book and, if you discuss the morality of deception with your young reader, I think you can let her enjoy it.

Pros: Fun story about friendship and loyalty. Any little girl would want a group of friends like the Camp Club Girls. It’s action packed with some pauses for messages from scripture.

Cons: The dialogue is a bit stilted; the girls use big words and clich├ęs. The biggest problem is the deception that goes unrecognized.

About the book

What happens when six girls end up in the same cabin at summer camp and are quickly embroiled in intrigue? They form a super sleuth ring and call themselves the Camp Club Girls. Each girl uses her special skills—analyzing, spiritual insight, gadgetry, physical strength, research—to help the whole team stump adversaries and master the mysteries they encounter. Join the Camp Club Girls as they find hidden jewels, destroy terrorist plots, uncover intrigue, rescue their friends, and so much more. It’s adventure with a capital A!

About the author

Renae Brumbaugh lives in Texas with her pastor/husband, two noisy children, and two dogs. She’s authored four books in Barbour’s Camp Club Girls’ series.

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