________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 27. . . .March 14, 2014


Cabin Girl. (Orca Currents).

Kristin Butcher.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2014.
119 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0649-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0650-4 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0651-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0652-8 (epub).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Amy Trepanier.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



As I marvel at the beauty of it, someone emerges from the trees. It’s a girl. Right away, I sense an urgency about her. She moves quickly, but so fluidly that she seems to float. Her long hair and gauzy gown swing and sway with each step. She comes to a stop directly in front of the moon and reaches out to it- a black silhouette against glowing white.

Then, like a frantic hummingbird, she begins darting about the clearing- dropping, clawing the ground, springing up and moving on. Around and around she goes, becoming more and more frenzied with each pass.

It’s the witch of the lake. I’m sure of it. The moon is full, and she’s searching for her necklace.

I gasp and step backward-right into a bush. Leaves rustle and twigs snap. I drop my flashlight. The witch stops her feverish search and cocks her head to listen.


A whole summer of freedom from her parents sounds like paradise to 16-year-old Bailey. The fact that she will be working long, hard hours cleaning cabins does not deter her from the opportunity to spend two months at her godfather’s fly-in fishing lodge at Witch Lake. Excited and nervous to begin her summer-long adventure, Bailey finds many aspects of her new job more challenging than she initially anticipated, and she endures a series of comical mishaps over the course of the first couple of weeks- all under the watchful eye of her (appropriately labeled) “witchy” supervisor.

     Inspired and comforted by the independence and positivity of her lodge bunkmate, April, Bailey slowly masters the ropes of her job and settles into her new surroundings. Just as she begins to feel at home, she learns of the Aboriginal folklore telling of a gruesome murder and lingering ghost which inspired the name of the lake. The legend opens Bailey’s eyes to the physical environment around her and leads her to question everything she sees on the grounds around the lodge.

     When April’s co-waitress at the lodge suffers a mishap, Bailey is promoted to her position, and the relationship between April and Bailey rapidly unravels. Without the support of a close friend at the lodge, Bailey finds herself increasingly more spooked by the legend of the Witch Lake ghost. One night, while under the full moon, Bailey finds herself face-to-face with the ghost and is rocked to her very core by this chilling experience. Shortly thereafter, she learns a very hard lesson about trust and friendship, marking her summer at Witch Lake as one she will never forget.

     Cabin Girl is a fast-paced read that will appeal not only to older, reluctant or struggling teen readers but also to stronger readers looking for a quick, engaging story. The subject matter and character conversation level is appropriate to older teens despite the use of simple, straightforward vocabulary.


Amy Trepanier is the Teen Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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