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Book Review: The Counselors by Jessica Goodman

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As summer fast approaches, kids going to camp are getting antsy when it comes to seeing friends, falling in love and maybe coming home in a body bag.

Eighteen-year-old Goldie Easton can't wait to get back to Camp Alpine Lake. For the next two months, she'll be with her two best friends, Ava and Imogen and while these girls have been "lifers" at the camp, each has a secret that they don't want to share.

Goldie is a townie and lives about eight miles away from the camp, while the other girls live in New York and New Jersey. They also come from bags of money (all of the campers are privileged) but Goldie gets a free ride since her parents also work at the camp.

This summer the girls are counselors and can't wait to do all of the things that they've seen over the years with past counselors. Now it's their turn to wild and loose, but Goldie isn't looking forward to nights in town.

She hasn't told the two about her failed relationship with Heller McConnell, not graduating and why she didn't come into the city for a New Year's Eve party. Her secret may break up the trio and she doesn't think that the other two would understand why she did what she did.

As a townie, Goldie's not that popular in school because of her ties with the camp, but for her, camp is a way for her to escape the town of Roxwood. Following the events of New Year's Eve, she becomes more of an outcast and is afraid that someone in town will expose her secret.

With Ava, her secret is splashed all over the news and when a local boy is found dead in Alpine Lake, Goldie suspects that Ava knows more than she's willing to say and she doesn't want to believe that Ava could be the true killer.

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Now that violence has come to Goldie's paradise, she realizes that there is no safe place for her or her friends.

While this novel is geared for a young audience, it has a lot of adult issues, so if you're offended by language this probably wouldn't be the best novel for you.

However, while reading this, my mind began to wander back to all of the early 1980's camp slasher movies. I had hoped that the book would have had more of a slasher feel but it doesn't.

It's a very fast and easy read (I was surprised that I read it in a day but did take breaks along the way) and it goes back and forth from present day to the past. You don't have to wonder when the story shifts since each chapter heading tells you were you're at in the story.

Unfortunately, I was able to figure out the ending early on in the book, but there were a couple of times that I did change my mind and question the ending.

Overall, the characters were very well developed, the dialogue and narrative were good since I always knew where I was in the story (whether in the past or present).

It's a gamble, but if there's a sequel, I think a serial killer angle would really be much more suspenseful.

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