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Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe

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Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster. That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside d Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster. That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside down. Gavin may have gotten the job just for his abs. Or that smile. Or the way he fills Sam’s free time with thrilling encounters—swimming under a cascade of stars, whispering secrets over s’mores, embarking on one (very precarious) canoe ride after dark. It’s absurd. After all, Sam loves Eli. But one totally absurd, completely off-the-wall summer may be just what Sam needs. And maybe, just maybe, it will teach her something about what she really wants. Perfect for fans of 99 Days and Anna and the French Kiss, this unforgettable, sun-drenched summer romance from one of YA’s bestselling and most beloved authors, Sarah Mlynowski, is an irresistible dive into the joys of seizing the day and embracing the unexpected.


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Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster. That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside d Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster. That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside down. Gavin may have gotten the job just for his abs. Or that smile. Or the way he fills Sam’s free time with thrilling encounters—swimming under a cascade of stars, whispering secrets over s’mores, embarking on one (very precarious) canoe ride after dark. It’s absurd. After all, Sam loves Eli. But one totally absurd, completely off-the-wall summer may be just what Sam needs. And maybe, just maybe, it will teach her something about what she really wants. Perfect for fans of 99 Days and Anna and the French Kiss, this unforgettable, sun-drenched summer romance from one of YA’s bestselling and most beloved authors, Sarah Mlynowski, is an irresistible dive into the joys of seizing the day and embracing the unexpected.

30 review for Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I really, really want to give this book 1 star right now, even though I kind of enjoyed reading it. You see, this is just a novel-long lame cheating apologia, and as I reached the end of this story, I was totally repulsed by all of the pathetic excuses piling on. I was hoping for an ending that would be less... cavalier about being totally crap as a human being. And that applies to many characters in this novel. So, take it as a warning, all who've added this novel to your TBRs expecting a summer I really, really want to give this book 1 star right now, even though I kind of enjoyed reading it. You see, this is just a novel-long lame cheating apologia, and as I reached the end of this story, I was totally repulsed by all of the pathetic excuses piling on. I was hoping for an ending that would be less... cavalier about being totally crap as a human being. And that applies to many characters in this novel. So, take it as a warning, all who've added this novel to your TBRs expecting a summer romance. This isn't it. It's the exact opposite - a story about a summer affair. I also don't like camps, and Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe highlighted for me why. Too much stress, too much bitchiness and bullying, and counselors who only care about hooking up with each other. There are some positive things that did shine through the cheating baloney, like learning to stand up for yourself and against slut-shaming. But I am too mad right now to care about that. But the book is very readable though. 🤷‍♀️

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski is a book I was excited for since I love a a summer camp setting. The descriptions of the camp the main character works at are vivid, and it was easy to imagine being there. However, I disliked her immaturity and the way she continually attempts to justify cheating on her boyfriend. Ultimately, I was disappointed with this one. This book tells the story of a girl who is offered a position as a camp counsello Full Review on The Candid Cover Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski is a book I was excited for since I love a a summer camp setting. The descriptions of the camp the main character works at are vivid, and it was easy to imagine being there. However, I disliked her immaturity and the way she continually attempts to justify cheating on her boyfriend. Ultimately, I was disappointed with this one. This book tells the story of a girl who is offered a position as a camp counsellor while her boyfriend is away in Europe. She is hesitant to accept due to some bad memories associated with the camp from her time there as a camper, but she ultimately takes the job. While at the camp, she tries to reclaim a positive camp experience, and she finds herself getting closer with the camp’s sailing instructor. ❀ EVOKES A SENSE OF NOSTALGIA I love books about summer camp, and the way the camp is depicted in this book is very strong. There are classic camp activities including Colour Wars and a mini canoe trip, and this evoked a sense of nostalgia. At the beginning of every section, the campers’ schedules are shown, and I thought this was a fun detail. Each girl in Sam’s bunk has her own unique quirk, and I loved getting to know everyone at the camp, from counsellors to campers. ❀ IMMATURE MAIN CHARACTER Unfortunately, this immersive camp experience was all I really enjoyed about the book. I had some major issues with Sam and her actions. One thing that bothered me was the fact that there is a disconnect between her age and her actions. She is 19, but her voice reads more like that of a 14 year old. She is in college, but she is still so bothered by a nickname that she was given at camp 8 years ago. I understand that she did not have a positive experience at camp, but I personally didn’t get why she would spend so much time stressing over a nickname from so long ago. Sam does have some redeeming qualities, such as defending her friends, but this was not enough for me to forgive her for another major issue: cheating. ❀ NO CONSEQUENCES FOR ACTIONS Sam spends the entire book cheating on her boyfriend with Gavin, and I didn’t feel like this book did enough to show that it was wrong. I am not a fan of books about cheating, and it’s my bad for picking this one up when the summary implies that this type of content will be in the book, but Sam’s behaviour would have been tolerable (at best) if she faced more consequences. I wasn’t convinced that she understood that what she was doing was wrong, or why it was wrong, and she continues to try and justify her actions. Also, I didn’t like the message she sends that cheating is fine under certain conditions. Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski is a book that has so much potential with its wholesome camp vibes, but I couldn’t get past the main character’s behaviour. She is immature, and she almost promotes cheating. If you are fine with reading about this topic, you may enjoy this book, but unfortunately, it was not for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Triana (bibliomaniacism)

    UPDATE: STILL CANNOT WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR THIS BOOK OMG

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary H

    Camp plot >>>>> relationship plot. If you don't like cheating, this book is NOT for you. Also, there's a ton of bullying and slut shaming, both in the mc's past camp experiences and how some of the counselors treat another counselor. Camp plot >>>>> relationship plot. If you don't like cheating, this book is NOT for you. Also, there's a ton of bullying and slut shaming, both in the mc's past camp experiences and how some of the counselors treat another counselor.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angie Elle

    I don't even need to read the blurb for this one. I just know that I LOVED I See London, I See France, and I'll read anything Sarah Mlynowski writes!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Ann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I finished it but.... why oh why are we writing books for teens encouraging drugs, alcohol and sex. SO much sex. Not to mention cheating! I was hoping that the author would have some major lesson at the end, but alas no. This just was not worth it. The main characters didn't really seem to learn anything from it they all had "happy" endings.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sage Elizabeth

    1.) I See London, I See France ★★★★★

  8. 4 out of 5

    Thamy

    Not exactly a romance but there's still one. You do get a big yearn to work at a summer camp, be warned. But seriously, this book is basically about a summer affair, if cheating bothers you, do not read. Also be warned this is part of a series. I didn't read the first book (I didn't even know this was a second book...), so believe me when I say they can be read as a standalone. 3.5. I found it interesting to read a YA about a freshman in college, but also consider that her actions are that of a fre Not exactly a romance but there's still one. You do get a big yearn to work at a summer camp, be warned. But seriously, this book is basically about a summer affair, if cheating bothers you, do not read. Also be warned this is part of a series. I didn't read the first book (I didn't even know this was a second book...), so believe me when I say they can be read as a standalone. 3.5. I found it interesting to read a YA about a freshman in college, but also consider that her actions are that of a freshman in college; this book won't be appropriate for younger teenagers. But older teenagers that aren't in colleges yet can still relate, seeing that it takes place in a summer camp, not in a campus I do like this choice, because it always seems that once you're in college stories about you become NA. Of course, there are some YA's with characters this age but they're very rare or worse, they behave as if they're still in high school or less. So this was my first big surprise. The second surprise is that this isn't innocent at all, but it doesn't relate to age. This story is about Sam, who wants to be a teacher and carries a bit of a trauma from her experience in a summer camp many years before. One day, she's invited to go back to work at the same place and she accepts because it'll be a good experience, her boyfriend will spend the summer having fun in Europe without her, and to face those same traumas. There, she meets Gavin, who also has his girlfriend in Europe. The two are undeniably attracted to each other and maybe they're not strong enough to hold on. In other words, this story will talk about cheating, and although Sam is not happy her boyfriend is away, the guy didn't really do anything wrong to deserve it. What should she do? I caught some reviews condemning this read because it seemed pro-cheating. I can't defend it, and I don't think it was that firmly against it. And even though I'm not that bothered in general with this plot line, the fact Sam had no excuses except that Gavin was hot really made me irk a little. Concomitantly, I think it's something that does happen, especially when you're not in a perfect relationship. I do applause the author for being able to build a great setting for the reader to be torn: Eli didn't do anything wrong, but does that mean Sam has to be crucified for a mistake? We're talking about more mature teenagers and how they too can very easily be in her shoes. Isn't it nice to see a more realistic development? Not all boyfriends are abusive, sometimes you're just attracted to someone else. I won't spoil you, but the ending was simply perfect too. Thus, if you're okay with reading a whole book on the development of an affair, do it. There were some other great aspects about this story. To be honest, the "romance" if you can call it wasn't even that good. I couldn't get into Gavin, I just understood he was very sexy and his personality wasn't that bad, but it did stink here and there. What was really, really good here were the descriptions of life in a camp. I've never done it, I'm definitely not outdoorsy enough to seriously consider one, but after some pages, I was dying to go back in time and sign up for one. And Sarah Mlynowski is an author I've admired for many years, no matter the target public she has in a book, I know it'll have a different taste from the others, just enough for us to enjoy but not so much it'd take getting used to it. There are also children here, many, many cute children! I loved the scenes with them, even though there were a lot of names to learn. They were probably why the scenes about the camp were so amusing. This got too long already and I feel there's a lot I wanted to mention as well. I'll just say I really liked the conclusion. If there's a fault was that I wanted to read more about it. There are issues in this read, but the pluses were enough to get a round-up. Also, I can't wait for Mlynowski's next release! Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Sam thought she had the perfect boyfriend, and their summer apart would turn out just fine. They would talk every day, he would send postcards. But, as the summer wore on, there were no postcards, and they spoke less and less. She began to analyze their relationship, found some flaws, and wondered if they would still be together at the end of the summer. I had read the companion of this book, I See London, I See France, and I was interested in learning more about Sam and Gavin after hearing bits Sam thought she had the perfect boyfriend, and their summer apart would turn out just fine. They would talk every day, he would send postcards. But, as the summer wore on, there were no postcards, and they spoke less and less. She began to analyze their relationship, found some flaws, and wondered if they would still be together at the end of the summer. I had read the companion of this book, I See London, I See France, and I was interested in learning more about Sam and Gavin after hearing bits and pieces about them. Though it was fun traveling throughout Europe in the last book, I had an even better time at Camp in this book. Mlynowski did an incredible job immersing me in camp life. I went boating, frog hunting, and even did some arts and crafts. There were pranks, a dance, an overnight, and multiple camp events such as Super Bowl and Color Wars. I really felt like I was living the camp life, and I enjoyed it so much. I also liked getting to know the campers and the counselors. It was an interesting group, and it was fun, that they shared a history together. In fact, needing a summer job wasn't Sam's only motivation for returning to Camp Blue Springs. She wanted the opportunity to show the others how much she had changed, and to sort of redeem herself from that one summer she had spent there. Sam wobbled a bit, but was determined to become a great counselor, and she did. It was fantastic watching her grow and reclaim confidence in herself. I know a lot of people took issue with part of this story. Particularly, the relationship that developed between Sam and Gavin. There's no way to sugar coat it. It really comes down to what you deem a dealbreaker. (view spoiler)[ This book is not for people, who consider cheating a dealbreaker. (hide spoiler)] What I will say is that, though I was disappointed, there was fallout, there were consequences, and I was actually ok with the way things played out. And, well, there was a jump ahead epilogue, which sort of made me a bit giddy. Overall, I had a fantastic time at Camp Blue Springs. I was both disappointed and proud of Sam. She made some poor choices, but she also learned a lot about herself, and I thought the summer was a really important one for her. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diva Cooper

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. First off, you meet Sam, who doesn't want to be at this camp as a counselor after 8 years because she was bullied there by some other girls in her cabin. Her boyfriend, Eli, is backpacking in Europe with his cousin. We meet her only friend from when she was at camp, Botts, and he is still really chill. I really liked Botts in this book because he's kind of carefree and really good at his job. Botts introduces Sam to Gavin, a super hot sailing instructor who's also a counselor I LOVED THIS BOOK. First off, you meet Sam, who doesn't want to be at this camp as a counselor after 8 years because she was bullied there by some other girls in her cabin. Her boyfriend, Eli, is backpacking in Europe with his cousin. We meet her only friend from when she was at camp, Botts, and he is still really chill. I really liked Botts in this book because he's kind of carefree and really good at his job. Botts introduces Sam to Gavin, a super hot sailing instructor who's also a counselor for her age group. At first, Sam is having a hard time with her campers. They won't listen to her, she forgets to grab her stuff and supplies, and most of them are weird, bratty, spoiled, or always cry. But eventually, they begin to warm up to each other. That was one thing I really liked about this book. Sam rose to the occasion, even when one of her other counselors, Talia, won't really help out that often. She becomes a sort of sister figure in the camper's lives, and I think that's the sweetest thing ever how all the girls look up to her. She quickly becomes a favorite. Going back to Gavin, they start to talk and flirt. Sam doesn't think much of it, thinking it's harmless. They both have girlfriends/boyfriends. But Eli and Sam are starting to get on each other's nerves. Eventually, Gavin and Sam start to hook up, keeping their relationship secret. As the book goes on, the author portrayed their relationship to only be growing. I thought that was just the cutest thing in the world!! Which brings me to my next topic. The ending. I adamantly HATED the ending. It was the worst! Sam and Gavin obviously had something special, because they were both willing to risk their current relationships for each other. Which is why the ending doesn't make sense. Why in the world would Sam not want to be with Gavin? She had just spent 6 months and I had just read 352 pages of their tension rising... For nothing? It makes no sense at all! I understand that the author wanted the last twist, but sometimes just having a happy ending isn't bad. And in the last part of the book, 7 months after, when Sam and Gavin see each other in New York? WHY IS GAVIN BACK TOGETHER WITH HIS OLD GIRLFRIEND??? I thought she fell for this French guy. Chances are, that didn't work out, and she went back to him, begging for forgiveness. I guess it makes sense that he take her back in again because he and Sam were strictly friends, but why were they decided to stay friends in the first place? At the end of the summer, they were both single!!! Going back to New York now. After Sam's little run-in with Gavin, she meets Botts at a restaurant? And it seems like SHE IS STARTING TO HAVE FEELINGS FOR HIM?!?! When, exactly, did that HAPPEN? It was so out of the blue, even though Botts had hinted earlier on in the book that he had a little crush on Sam. But those feelings were never reciprocated! And Sam and Gavin had had too many too-cute moments to let their relationship go to waste. So, now that you know my feelings on the ending (which I HATED with a passion) I actually really liked this book, other than that. I feel like that ending made the perfect set-up for a second book, though. One where she GETS BACK TOGETHER WITH GAVIN, thank you very much.

  11. 5 out of 5

    sarah

    Read my review on Forever Young Adult: http://foreveryoungadult.com/2020/05/... Read my review on Forever Young Adult: http://foreveryoungadult.com/2020/05/...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison Glass

    Love the summer camp, do not love the cheating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    yeah so I was so excited for this one, especially because the first book crept up on me. but idk I knew there was a cheating plot line and that's not necessarily a deal breaker for me but I don't think this book handled it the best most of the time. I do think it's important to show that people around this age (17-20) can have fun and make mistakes! but I feel like there were a lot of :/// parts to the cheating plot line and felt more messy than anything. maybe because gavin barely felt developed yeah so I was so excited for this one, especially because the first book crept up on me. but idk I knew there was a cheating plot line and that's not necessarily a deal breaker for me but I don't think this book handled it the best most of the time. I do think it's important to show that people around this age (17-20) can have fun and make mistakes! but I feel like there were a lot of :/// parts to the cheating plot line and felt more messy than anything. maybe because gavin barely felt developed? like there's this one line towards the end: The thing about Gavin—I like how he sees me, and who I am with him, but I’m not actually sure I necessarily like him. He’s kind of into himself. He cares too much about how he looks and what people think, and “being cool.” but where was this established? I never got the sense that gavin cared about how he looks or what other people think. anyways I'm always glad to have more 18-20-year-olds in ya but this one didn't really land with me. I did like that one line about sydney (from the first book) in the epilogue :')) I would totally read a book that delves into that because I loved her and her love interest in the first book and I want to see more of them!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked: —the camp environment and all the fun activities —the campers were cute kids —that it was upper YA (mc has finished her first year of college) Didn’t like: —the mc’s boyfriend. No, she absolutely should not have cheated on him, but he still rubbed me the wrong way —the ending where she ends up with some guy who was barely in the book and she talked to him like twice Hated: —the cheating! Especially the way that the mc basically slid down a slippery slope in terms of what “counts” as cheatin I liked: —the camp environment and all the fun activities —the campers were cute kids —that it was upper YA (mc has finished her first year of college) Didn’t like: —the mc’s boyfriend. No, she absolutely should not have cheated on him, but he still rubbed me the wrong way —the ending where she ends up with some guy who was barely in the book and she talked to him like twice Hated: —the cheating! Especially the way that the mc basically slid down a slippery slope in terms of what “counts” as cheating. She goes from “his leg brushed up against mine but we didn’t kiss so it’s not cheating” to “we kissed but he didn’t take my top off so it’s not cheating” to “he took my top off but we didn’t have sex so it’s not cheating” to “we had sex but my bf is probably cheating on me anyway so it’s okay” —Gavin. He had no personality other than he was SO HOT and he liked the camp. I couldn’t see what she saw in him. —pretty much all the counselors with their bullying toward another counselor Basically, if this had concentrated more on the camp aspect I would have liked it a lot more, which seems to be a consensus with this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Fleming

    Okay I'm recommending this because of the top comment on Goodreads and I'm about to make some frenemies... If you are looking for a book to read around the pool or campfire, I got you. This summer camp counselor is right up your alley. Smores and canoe trips are what we all need right now. The negative reviews complain about Sam having an affair and all I can say is... good. Your teens and 20s are about having sexy summertime romances, not waiting around for a boyfriend who screws off to Europe. R Okay I'm recommending this because of the top comment on Goodreads and I'm about to make some frenemies... If you are looking for a book to read around the pool or campfire, I got you. This summer camp counselor is right up your alley. Smores and canoe trips are what we all need right now. The negative reviews complain about Sam having an affair and all I can say is... good. Your teens and 20s are about having sexy summertime romances, not waiting around for a boyfriend who screws off to Europe. Read this for the revenge romance and summer time fun, not for morality.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sascha

    I never went to camp so I find books about people going to camp or returning later to camp as a counselor interesting, intriguing, like looking at how other kids lives. Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe is not the first Sarah Mylnowski novel I’ve read about camp, but in the other, the characters were much younger and definitely felt younger. While Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe seems to be classified as YA, I’d classify it as NA because of the sexiness and the characters ages, 19 t I never went to camp so I find books about people going to camp or returning later to camp as a counselor interesting, intriguing, like looking at how other kids lives. Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe is not the first Sarah Mylnowski novel I’ve read about camp, but in the other, the characters were much younger and definitely felt younger. While Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe seems to be classified as YA, I’d classify it as NA because of the sexiness and the characters ages, 19 to 20+. read more: https://saschadarlington.me/2020/05/2...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Forever Young Adult

    Graded By: Posh Deluxe Cover Story: Dude, Where's My Canoe? BFF Charm: Yay! Swoonworthy Scale: 6 Talky Talk: Chatty Cathy Bonus Factors: Summer Camp, Sex-positive Relationship Status: Bunkmates Read the full book report here. Graded By: Posh Deluxe Cover Story: Dude, Where's My Canoe? BFF Charm: Yay! Swoonworthy Scale: 6 Talky Talk: Chatty Cathy Bonus Factors: Summer Camp, Sex-positive Relationship Status: Bunkmates Read the full book report here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    What a GREAT YA book. I really enjoyed it. It made me wish that i had gone to camp for these summers of memories and friendships. I would highly recommend it! Great summer romance book. Great for fans of Anna and the French Kiss.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lameya Labiba

    Is this the sequel to I See London, I See France? Even if not a sequel per se, I think the characters share the same universe. Cheating never sits well with me but the camp life was so fun to read, I ended up liking the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rmsooon

    It was so bad worst book this year 0 out of 5

  21. 5 out of 5

    Riley (runtobooks)

    3.5 stars -- this was very fun and reminded me of summer camp days. also the relationships all felt totally realistic, which was refreshing for a ya novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The main character is supposed to be a college student but reads a bit young (I wonder if she was originally written as a high school student and aged up)... Regardless I enjoyed this until the epilogue, which kind of wrecked the whole book for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    I appreciated the serious themes the author explored (slut shaming and bullying) in this fun, quick read. The main character is returning to her childhood camp, where she had a miserable summer, to be a counselor.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    After finishing I See London, I See France, I was hoping we would get a story about Sam and Gavin at camp. This was a cute and flirty story (such an addicting read). In addition to the romance, I loved the campers and Sam learning that she could be a great counselor. There are so many euphoric moments that made me really proud of her. Plus, the ending was perfect.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Morgan- Nothing Better Than a Book

    This is an enjoyable read, and it brought back so many summer camp memories. I loved the camp aspect of it and all of the friendships. I even liked Gavin and Sam together. However, there is so much cheating in this book, and there’s not ever like a moment where they know it’s wrong. They are very wishy washy on that topic. Some days they feel guilty, and other days they just don’t care. I am not okay with that. Along with this, the ending of this book was so weird. It hinted at a romance with a This is an enjoyable read, and it brought back so many summer camp memories. I loved the camp aspect of it and all of the friendships. I even liked Gavin and Sam together. However, there is so much cheating in this book, and there’s not ever like a moment where they know it’s wrong. They are very wishy washy on that topic. Some days they feel guilty, and other days they just don’t care. I am not okay with that. Along with this, the ending of this book was so weird. It hinted at a romance with a different guy. Like do we really need a third romance? I felt like this book was all over the place and overall morally wrong. The only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 is because I did enjoy the camp aspect of it. 2 stars I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karyn Silverman

    I want to go back to camp.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn White

    ARC received via Edelweiss+ I almost stopped reading this book, but forced myself to continue and while I'm glad I did, there are still issues in the first 25% of the book that I feel need addressing (everything after that 25% was great, a real page turner (I finished in two sittings). But the voice feels very young, almost middle grade, and considering Sam is 19 and in college, that's a major flag for me as a reader. I get that when she was eleven, her awful nickname was awful... it IS awful... ARC received via Edelweiss+ I almost stopped reading this book, but forced myself to continue and while I'm glad I did, there are still issues in the first 25% of the book that I feel need addressing (everything after that 25% was great, a real page turner (I finished in two sittings). But the voice feels very young, almost middle grade, and considering Sam is 19 and in college, that's a major flag for me as a reader. I get that when she was eleven, her awful nickname was awful... it IS awful...but eight years later, to still be so on edge about it...I was expecting it to be so much worse. I understand she's gone through the motions and handled the aftermath of the mental toll it took on her for YEARS, but I just felt it fell a little flat in this area. Talia's bitterness towards Sam in the first few pages through me off, I get why she was mad but the reasoning behind it felt a little dramatic, she screamed mean girl for no reason vibes and that is the biggest factor as to what made me want to put this book down so early on.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    2/5 stars Wow this book was terrible. I really loved Mlynowski's Whatever After series when I was younger, but her books for young adults have just been such disappointments for me. This book was actually quite similar to her novel I See London, I See France. Both were pitched as summery travel-inspired romances. However, for this novel in particular, quite the opposite is true. I was excited to read what I thought was going to be a cute contemporary about a girl who goes to camp and meets a cute 2/5 stars Wow this book was terrible. I really loved Mlynowski's Whatever After series when I was younger, but her books for young adults have just been such disappointments for me. This book was actually quite similar to her novel I See London, I See France. Both were pitched as summery travel-inspired romances. However, for this novel in particular, quite the opposite is true. I was excited to read what I thought was going to be a cute contemporary about a girl who goes to camp and meets a cute boy. Maybe it's my fault for overlooking the fact that said girl already had a boyfriend before she came to camp, but idk. The whole story is basically about cheating and hooking up. The beginning was fun and held promise. Then once Sam laid eyes on Gavin, everything went downhill from there. For most of the story, Sam and Gavin are making out or hooking up--cheating on their significant others, who ironically are traveling in the same group together in Europe--and trying to justify it, all while being jealous of their own boyfriend/girlfriend because they see pictures on social media of them both hanging out together and with members of the opposite sex. The HYPOCRISY! I mean, really?! Sam in particular really got on my nerves. She's LITERALLY cheating on her boyfriend and all she can think about when looking at his pictures on social media is that he happens to have his arm around some other girl in his travel group. She also keeps trying to draw a line in her relationship with Gavin (i.e. "we're only going to kiss") until, of course, they end up sleeping together. And she keeps justifying the fact that she's cheating on her boyfriend, whom she lies to about the whole affair. She finally tells him the truth and then has the AUDACITY to wonder why he breaks up with her and doesn't want to spend time with her anymore. Like, what did she think was going to happen? Gavin was also kinda a jerk. At one point, his girlfriend calls him from Europe to tell him she met someone else and wants to break up--so she does it the correct way. But--despite the fact that he's been cheating on his girlfriend with Sam--he's pissed that she broke up with HIM. Like, what? I don't even know. The whole story was just the counselors sneaking off to hook up with other people and drinking and doing drugs. I want to know why this activity is allowed to go on at this camp and why the counselors even get "days off" or "breaks" at all. No overnight camp I've ever heard of allows for counselors to sneak off and do whatever the heck they want to without any consequences. One guy, Eric, the camp announcer, is described as always being high. What kind of camp is this?! What really irked me, though, is that by the end of the story, Sam and Gavin hadn't faced any real consequences for their actions, except for Sam's boyfriend breaking up with her. The post-camp epilogue describes a chance meeting in New York between Gavin and Sam in which we learn that Gavin is back with his girlfriend and Sam's now into....Botts--some other (nicer) guy from camp?! The author doesn't assert that cheating is wrong and unfair to all parties involved, or even have her characters learn their lesson. It's just like, whoopsie daisy, I cheated on my boyfriend, but whatever! No biggie! I have nothing against people making mistakes--everyone does, but the point is we LEARN FROM THEM. Also, in the real world, we have to face consequences for our actions. Cheating is dishonorable and petty and immature. Gavin and Sam didn't even really care for one another--all they cared about was hooking up, consequences be damned. At the end of the story, Sam even admits to herself that she doesn't really like Gavin as a person. I think her exact words were, "...he's kind of into himself." Which, again, the irony, lol. Gavin and Sam couldn't just be good significant others for their boyfriend and girlfriend by resisting their attraction to each other. Because in the sexual culture that the world and books, movies, tv, and music like this story and others promote, the only thing that matters is getting what you want when you want it, no matter who you hurt. If you wanna hook up with five different people in one week? Sure, go right ahead! Do you want to cheat on your boyfriend? Yeah, no problem! I guess that's what the young adult genre wants us teens to know...and how disappointing is that?!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Plutzer

    Sam is returning to the camp she went to as a child, but instead of a camper she’s now a counselor. Her boyfriend is off somewhere in Europe, running around with his cousin and having the time of his life while she’s running after children and trying to avoid Gavin in whatever way she can. But what happens when Gavin and Sam get too close? I love sleep away camp and the fact that I can not be in camp this summer is something that makes me very sad. I am supposed to be in camp right now, having fu Sam is returning to the camp she went to as a child, but instead of a camper she’s now a counselor. Her boyfriend is off somewhere in Europe, running around with his cousin and having the time of his life while she’s running after children and trying to avoid Gavin in whatever way she can. But what happens when Gavin and Sam get too close? I love sleep away camp and the fact that I can not be in camp this summer is something that makes me very sad. I am supposed to be in camp right now, having fun and meeting new people. But due to the pandemic, I am at home not at camp. The camp that is described in the book, is very similar to the camp I went to for ten years. Like Camp Blue Springs, my summer camp was a traditional Jewish summer camp. We had a diverse group of campers and counselors, but the camp was based in its Jewish traditions. And just like Sam, I worked with the youngest group of girls in camp for the summers that I was a staff member. And a lot of the campers reminded me of my own. This novel is a companion to I See London, I See France which came out in Summer 2017. I read I See London, I See France in camp that summer and I loved it. I was able to connect to those characters and after reading Just a Boy and a Girl In a Small Canoe, I feel like I was able to get a full story about what happened. I found the characters to be real. The counselors are all around the same age range of 18-20ish, which is the most common age for camp counselors to be. It shows that camp is not only for the campers, but for the counselors too which I think is something people tend to forget. This novel reminded me of why, I, as a staff member love camp so much. We have the excitement of color war, going on trips and making new friends. While for me, all my memories of camp are good ones, this is not the case for everyone. We have catty campers and even cattier counselors. When you’re in close proximity to other people for so long, sometimes you forget how to act in certain ways. Sam’s co-counselors are all different people, Talia and Lis stick by each others sides and might not be the best. Then we have Janelle, who is different and is passionate about being in camp. She is unapologetically herself and I love her a lot. Talia and Lis are characters that I don’t think we are supposed to like. They aren’t the nicest from the minute you meet them, and they are a little less mature. Sam confronts them and I think that’s important. Camp is tiring and I think the author does a great job at showing how camp is a whole different animal onto itself. Camp is emotionally taxing and sometimes its easier to forget theres a world outside of camp, which I think this novel did a great job of showing. Sam makes a choice. She does something that puts her relationship with her boyfriend at risk and Gavin put his relationship with his girlfriend at the same risk. One thing I really liked about this plot line is that no one said it was a good thing. Sam knows what she did was wrong, she regrets it and she doesn’t try to justify it. She understands that when things like this happen, she has to fess up and she can not expect people to forgive her right away. Two months of being with people is a lot of time to be with the same faces. After knowing people for three days, you have seen them experience a long list of things. You have seen them at their worse and you have seen them at their best. By the time you leave camp, you feel like you’ve known each other your whole lives. My best friend and I met in camp summer 2017, she’s from London and by the time we left camp we felt like we were saying goodbye to family. We have video chatted every week since we since left, we saw each other last summer and hope to plan another visit soon. When you leave camp, you spend the rest of the year looking forward and counting down to when you can come back. I speak to my camp friends at least once a day. This quote hit me hard, because for me the ten months in between the next time I go to camp are filled with counting down the days until I get to go back to camp. If you went to camp or if you didn’t, I highly recommend this book! I read it in four hours, devouring it. This novel captures the magic of going to camp. And I think everyone can use some magic right now!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Leigh

    DNFed @60% I don't think I've ever DNFed a book so far into it, but I can't stand listening to this anymore. When I read the description that said Eli ditches Sam for Europe and then she has a fun summer fling with some other dude, I was assuming that Eli and Sam broke up at the beginning of the book and she had this fun summer rebound at camp. NOPE. (view spoiler)[She's still 100% dating Eli when Gavin roles up and they start flirting. (hide spoiler)] It is also important to note (in case you mi DNFed @60% I don't think I've ever DNFed a book so far into it, but I can't stand listening to this anymore. When I read the description that said Eli ditches Sam for Europe and then she has a fun summer fling with some other dude, I was assuming that Eli and Sam broke up at the beginning of the book and she had this fun summer rebound at camp. NOPE. (view spoiler)[She's still 100% dating Eli when Gavin roles up and they start flirting. (hide spoiler)] It is also important to note (in case you missed it the *several* times the author mentions it) that Eli also HAS A GIRLFRIEND ALREADY. He even has pictures of her in his bunk on his wall! (view spoiler)[ I only got to the part where they almost make out at the overnight and after that I had to stop reading. Sam and Eli's relationship is infuriating. It's like they didn't have any conversations before they parted ways about what their relationship would look like over the summer. Eli doesn't think that being a camp counselor is a job. He even says it directly to Sam when she is talking to him in the woods around the 60% mark. I'm sorry. How is getting paid to essentially parent a bunch of children that are under your charge 90% of the day, plan activities, and functioning under a set of guidelines laid out by the organization that is paying you, that you could get fired for breaking, not a job? As a follow up to this, I genuinely don't think that Eli knows how a camp works because he is SUCH a TOOL to Sam about her not being able to call him, having to run back to the children WHO ARE UNDER HER CHARGE, and about the camp having bad signal. She is in THE MIDDLE of the WOODS! Of course there isn't going to be a signal. And the only time she really should be calling you is once the girls have gone to bed, but that doesn't work because you're IN A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE. Plus, in the contract that Sam has to sign for her not job (-_-), it said that she couldn't use her phone around the kids anyway. As someone who went to camp for years, these are totally normal and straight forward expectations. You pretty much know them going in, especially Sam, since she went to the same camp years before. How did they expect this whole "being able to get away and call you at a time that works for you (in a totally different country) in a camp in the middle of the woods with very spotty wifi and a whole bunch of children that Sam is in charge of making sure don't mame themselves" to work? On Sam's side, she should have had faith in her boyfriend enough to not assume that he is getting up to "who knows what with girls in Europe." If you are in a good place together and have talked about expectations, this shouldn't be a problem. Also, he is on a freaking once in a lifetime vacation. There is no way that he would be able to send you postcards every day. (hide spoiler)] Anyway, if you couldn't tell, I found their relationship infuriating, found every counselor at camp childish, and although I will give this book credit for being a fun summer read, I can't push myself to even try and finish it. 2 stars for everything not including the very obvious cheating (and don't try and convince me it wasn't cheating because I'm sure that Gavin and Sam go on to try and explain it away and I don't have the energy for that nonsense.)

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