Friday, January 22, 2010

Camp Club Girls and the Mystery at Discovery Lake

Renae Brumbaugh's new Camp Club Girls series begins with Camp Club Girls and the Mystery at Discovery Lake. Think Nancy Drew meets The Parent Trap (Brumbaugh even references both of them). The sweet, funny, spunky girls in Cabin 12B go to Christian summer camp and get more than they bargained for. They end up learning how to care for a puppy, investigate mysteries, and most importantly, they learn there is more than meets the eye to even the grumpiest people.

Sydney, Bailey, Elizabeth, Kate, McKenzie and Alexis form a team, and work well together whether they are taking turns hiding their mischievous puppy (named Biscuit), keeping their cabin clean, or practicing for the end-of-camp talent show. As if they aren't busy enough, they stumble upon a mystery surrounding the crabby camp groundskeeper, Dan Gerhardt. They think he may be hiding something out at the old camp golf course, and when he keeps chasing them away, they are sure of it.

As the girls get closer to solving the mystery, they also learn Bible verses and attend hiking and riding classes. Amberlie, a preacher's daughter from a neighboring cabin, seems determined to make their lives miserable. Between avoiding her, feeding and hiding Biscuit, and hunting for clues into Mr. Gerhardt's past, the girls hardly have a moment's rest.

In true Nancy Drew style, the mystery has a satisfying, but unexpected ending. However, in keeping with Barbour Publishing's mission to "publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses,"the girls learn how God wants them to see both Mr. Gerhardt and Amberlie. They also learn what a treasure they have in each other.

What I Like: I enjoyed this mystery very much. It was cute and funny, but with enough twists and suspense to keep me reading. The girls are very believable. They are good, sweet girls, but not perfect. They do a good job at camp, but they aren't above sneaking around to investigate or hide a puppy. Tweens and young teens will relate to the girls, and hopefully learn to think before they judge others too.

I also like how much Scripture Brumbaugh quotes. The girls must memorize Scripture as part of the competition at the end of camp, and Brumbaugh does a good job showing how the verses relate to the girls' lives.

What I Dislike: The mystery aspect is very similar to the Nancy Drew books, but Brumbaugh acknowledges it, as the girls are always saying, "Nancy Drew would do this," or "Nancy Drew would say that."

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Barbour Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-60260-267-0 ; Paperback, $5.97

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