Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: Yours Till Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O'Connor

Author: Jane O'Connor
Publisher: Puffin
Paperback: 128 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Abby is thrilled when her parents let her go to Camp Pinecrest with her best friend, Merle. But her dreams of a fun-filled summer are shattered when Merle breaks her ankle on the day before their scheduled departure. Now Abby must face a long summer filled with homesickness, nasty bunkmates, and mystery meat -- all without Merle. Will Merle still be the same best friend when she finally returns home? Will Abby ever really fit in at camp? And will the campers ever be able to identify the mystery meat?

Overall Rating: 4/5

This book is one of the best. Unfortunately, I never read it when I was a kid, but if I had, I bet I would have loved it even more than I do now. (And I would have begged my parents to send me to summer camp!) Abby is so easy to relate to. She's a quirky little girl who is convinced that summer camp is going to be miserable without her best friend, but she learns a valuable lesson about making new friends. Abby really learns to be self-confident in this story and comes into her own, which leaves the reader also feeling hopeful and confident by the end.

While the culture references are dated (this book was originally written in 1979), this is a timeless story about friendship, adventure, and growing up without growing apart. It's full of humor and the fun things you get to do at camp, like meet new friends, try new things, play pranks on friends, and spy on the counselors. The characters are a bit stereotypical, but they all change, learn lessons, and show some complexity, which I appreciated. My only complaint was that the adults and counselors are portrayed as clueless, even if that's normal for this type of book. Overall, however, I enjoyed it. It's funny, heartwarming, and everything you hope for in a summer camp book.

Whether this is for a nine-year-old, or you're in your twenties (or older!) and want to relive your glorious summer camp days, you'll love Yours Till Niagara Falls, Abby. It is truly a classic.