________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 6. . . . October 13, 2017


Camped Out. (Orca Currents).

Daphne Greer.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2017.
129 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1541-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1542-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1543-8 (epub).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Christine McCrea.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



...Before the last song of the night, a lantern gets passed around, and whoever’s holding it has to say what he or she thinks camp will be like. Everyone’s answers are different yet sort of the same, until Sam says, “It’s going to be epic!’”...

When it’s Duncan’s turn, he says, “My dad.”

My eyes get blurry. I pretend smoke is in them and cough. Duncan never ceases to amaze me. One minute he seems clueless, and the next minute he says something really bang on. Dad did love to go camping, and we loved to camp with him.


More than anything, Max wants a break from Duncan, his special needs brother, and Derek, his mom’s new boyfriend. Max’s dad has passed away, and he really misses their old life. If he can convince his mom that she can afford to send him to camp with his best friend Ian, he’ll be able to get away for awhile. Ian is hooked on meeting some girls at camp, but Max just needs to have some fun without the pressures of family. When Max’s mom tells him he can go to camp, his excitement is quickly tempered. There’s a catch. The only way Max can go is if he takes Duncan and acts as his “helper”. Max, in fact, has to stay in a cabin with all the special needs campers. It seems like camp will be a bummer.

     Although Max resists his role as a special needs assistant, he always steps up to help Duncan when necessary. Sometimes, he’s the only one who can calm him down. When he meets Ainslie, a girl whose brother also has special needs, he finds a kindred spirit. Maybe camp will be better than he thought...

     Camp forces Max to confront a few hard truths. His dad is really gone, his mom’s boyfriend is sticking around, and Duncan will always be a demanding brother whom he loves nonetheless.

     Max exemplifies a boy in the early stages of adolescence; he wants to focus on having a good time, but sometimes life makes that impossible. Camped Out tackles the issue of grief at the loss of a parent and the hardships that kids experience when their sibling requires extra attention. But Daphne Greer treats these issues as just a part of life. Kids can feel hurt and excluded, but they must contend with their feelings and move on.

     Camped Out is not a sad book. Greer brings summer camp to life with her descriptions of campfires, canoeing accidents and elbows-on-the-table dining hall antics. Her straightforward writing will appeal to kids who enjoy realistic fiction. Camped Out is also an easy read that will entice some reluctant readers Kids will be able to identify with Max; like all of us, he has family struggles. But ultimately, he’s just a normal kid.

     Greer is also the author of Maxed Out, another story about Max and Duncan.


Christine McCrea is a children’s librarian at Richmond Public Library in BC.

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

© CM Association

Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
This Creative Commons license allows you to download the review and share it with others as long as you credit the CM Association. You cannot change the review in any way or use it commercially.

Commercial use is available through a contract with the CM Association. This Creative Commons license allows publishers whose works are being reviewed to download and share said CM reviews provided you credit the CM Association.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - October 13, 2017.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive