Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #3: The Big Camp Secret
The Big Deal: Summer camp
Classmate with a Problem: Grace Oliver, fighting parents
The twins and all their friends are excited because it’s suddenly summer and they’re all going to Camp Laconda. Well, not everyone: Grace Oliver can’t go because her parents are thinking about getting a divorce. Mr. and Mrs. Oliver have decided to take separate vacations while they think things through, and instead of letting Grace go to camp and have some fun, they’re making her stay with her godmother. Lila can’t go either because she’s going to Paris instead. Jessica is determined to make summer camp more exciting than Paris. Good luck, Jess.
Mrs. Edwards, the camp director, tells a ghost story the first night at camp. It’s about an Indian girl named Crying Moon who died searching for her lost love, Running Bear. When Jessica sees a light on in the shack on Crying Moon Mountain later, she dares Liz and Amy to climb up there the next night. She goes with them, and in a creepy shack that reminds me of Jacob’s cabin on LOST, the girls find Grace Oliver. She didn’t feel like going to her godmother’s so she ran away to camp. Jessica and the rest of Bunk Seven invite her to hang around with them during the day. With so many girls at camp, they figure nobody will notice an extra one.
All the other campers find out, but they think it’s totally fun and they have a good time hiding Grace. But there’s a girl in Bunk Three named Barbara Fields who’s moody and lame, and Liz is afraid she’s going to tattle. Instead, Barbara covers for Grace one night when the counselors do a head count. Not out of the goodness of her heart, you understand. There’s an empty bed in Bunk Seven, and Barbara moves in to make everyone miserable. She blackmails the whole camp and makes everyone do whatever she wants, under the threat that she’ll tell Mrs. Edwards about Grace if they don’t.
Meanwhile, Jessica is determined to get Mrs. Edwards to let the girls have a dance with the boys’ camp across the lake. She’s been passing a petition around, and she takes a canoe out to where the boys are swimming one day and asks them to get some signatures at their camp, too. When Bunk Seven goes on an overnight camping trip in the woods, the boys show up with three pages of signatures. (They don’t even get in trouble, what kind of camp is this?) Jessica is about to present the petition to Mrs. Edwards when Barbara tells her to forget it because she doesn’t want a dance. Jessica is livid.
Grace has been spending a lot of time creating a clay sculpture of a horse. It’s pretty good and she’s sad she can’t enter it in the arts and crafts contest. She’s upset when she sees it on display with Barbara’s name on it. Everyone at camp gets mad at Barbara when she gets the first place trophy, and Grace doesn’t like that everyone has to put up with Barbara’s shit just because of her. The next morning, Barbara disappears for a while and comes back with an envelope with Liz’s name on it. It’s a note from Grace; she’s decided to go to her godmother’s. But now it’s raining and the girls are worried about Grace trying to walk to the bus station.
The twins tell Mrs. Edwards everything and the camp is divided into search parties. Barbara runs off when nobody wants her in their group. She goes to the shack on the hill and finds Grace there. Grace was on her way to the bus station that morning, but turned back when the rain started. She twisted her ankle on her way back up the hill, and while looking for something to wrap it with, she found some letters in a drawer. Barbara has been coming up to the cabin every day (I guess while Grace was having fun at camp) and crying over the letters her crappy divorced parents have been sending her. Grace mentions the letters and tries to bond with Barbara, but Barb’s pissed. She runs out the door, and then lightning strikes the shack’s roof.
The cabin is on fire. Barbara runs back inside and finds Grace motionless on the floor. Why is she motionless on the floor? Don’t know. Barbara wakes her up and drags her out just as the search party makes it up the hill. Grace’s parents are there and they tell her they’re going to stop fighting so much and then they tell her she can stay at camp. Grace tells everyone Barbara saved her life and Barbara opens up about her family problems. The dance is a success and everyone goes home happy.
After dinner the girls all lined up outside the auditorium for a special showing of Old Yeller. Elizabeth loved the book and couldn’t wait to see the movie. Everyone was excited.
I bet they didn’t feel so good about it after the movie was over. What an awful thing to show a bunch of kids at camp.
“You know, Barbara, you’ve really changed,” Elizabeth said seriously. “I wouldn’t have thought it a week ago, but I really think of you as a friend.”
Shut up, Liz, I hate you.
The Cover: The cover had me convinced there would be ghosts. There were no ghosts. Disappointment.