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10 Camp-Inspired Books and Movies to Get You Ready for Summer!

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We’ve got a super exciting guest post on our blog today from the one and only Lexa Hillyer! Lexa is PLL’s co-founder (1/2 of our team of fearless leaders, the other 1/2 being Lauren Oliver) and the author of PROOF OF FOREVER, the quintessential summer YA about friendship, first love, and second chances. We asked Lexa to share her top summer camp-inspired movies and books to get us all ready for PROOF OF FOREVER!

Movies

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 Camp– This movie pretty much says it all in the title, but here are some other words to get you jazzed: Anna Kendrick. Summer romances. Diverse characters. Deep struggles. Big songs. Basically the quintessential camp experience!

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The Parent Trap– This one’s a classic. Baby Lindsay Lohan (x2) at summer camp meeting her long lost twin. Also, am I the only one to constantly associate “This Will Be” by Natalie Cole with this movie? I hope not!

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Addam’s Family Values– A slightly nontraditional choice, but hear me out: I love this movie! Moody Wednesday Addams at a kitschy summer camp where she falls for the nerdy boy AND gets revenge on her version of The Plastics? The best.

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Wet Hot American Summer- Fun fact for you campers out there: the counselors have their fare share of drama behind-the-scenes! A space station crashing to earth, counselors falling in and out of love with one another, and AMY POEHLER. ‘Nuff said. (Okay one more thing: they’re rebooting it for Netflix!)

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (book and film)– Technically of the four BFF’s in this book (and movie!) only Bridget goes to camp, but what the hell, I’m adding it anyway. This is probably my all-time favorite friendship story, because it doesn’t shy away from the most important parts of what it means to be a friend: forgiveness and acceptance. (And they are making a third movie, which I’m definitely seeing with all my best girlfriends.)

Books

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The Interestings– Meg Wolitzer

Technically not a YA novel, but the story of these six characters begins when they are teenagers at a summer camp. A novel about art and creativity, having dreams and settling for less (or constantly wishing you had more), and how successes and failures change friendships over time. The flashback camp chapters throughout the book REALLY inspired me as I wrote Proof of Forever. Wolitzer gets the FEEL of camp–that crickety, dewy, ripped-window-screen and creaky bunkbed visceral quality of camp, not to mention the complex but subtle social dynamics.

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Being Sloane Jacobs– Lauren Morrill

I definitely have a soft spot for this sweet contemporary camp book by Lauren Morrill— it’s one of the books from my literary development company, Paper Lantern Lit! Two girls with the same name (Sloane Jacobs) decide to switch places (and identities) for the summer– and of course, their best-laid plains get royally screwed up in the process. It’s like The Parent Trap but with ice sports!

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Five Summers– Una LaMarche

Definitely another novel that inspired Proof of Forever, Five Summers is about four friends who meet at camp, but when they were 13, something happened and the friendship fell apart. I love the flashbacks to when the girls were young, seeing their friendship blossom, and trying to figure out what exactly happened to make things turn sour. Friendship stories are somewhat rare in YA these days– don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance, but the truth is our friends really are our first loves in so many ways, and this book captures that spirit.

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The Summer I Wasn’t Me– Jessica Verdi

An emotional story of a very different kind of camp experience: when Lexi’s mom finds out she’s gay, Lexi is shipped off to a “conversion” camp. Still mourning the loss of her dad from years before, Lexi now feels totally abandoned, so she actually begins the story hoping the camp will help her— she doesn’t want to lose her mom as well. But then when she meets fellow camper Carolyn, it becomes apparent right away that she can’t be “fixed”— and what’s more, she wouldn’t want to be.

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Sleepaway Girls– Jen Calonita

Not wanting to be the third wheel to her BFF and her new boyfriend all summer, Sam runs away to a camp in the Catskills to be a counselor in training. Only problem is that more problems await her when she gets there. (In the form of mean girls and super cute boys, of course.)

 Don’t you want to just transport yourself to a beautiful summer camp and spend all summer hanging out with your besties? Pre-order PROOF OF FOREVER today—it’ll get you one step closer to achieving that goal! 

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