Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Imagine summer camp—but for demigods. At Camp Half-Blood, the children of Greek gods and goddesses train to use the powers their immortal parent has given them. This story includes plenty of friendly camp competition with a fantasy twist! Tack on a good mystery, an iconic trio, and a quest that goes even beyond the campgrounds, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a real page-turner.
Camp (A Click Graphic Novel) by Kayla Miller
In this fun and bright graphic novel, best friends Olive and Willow head off to camp for the first time but find that their experiences are very different. A great choice for those nervous about summer camp, “Camp” touches on what it’s like to make new friends and to step out of your comfort zone. There are five graphic novels in Kayla Miller’s Click series, but they don’t necessarily have to be read in order.
Holes by Louis Sachar
The classic “Holes” isn’t exactly about a fun summer camp, but it’s an adventure all the same. Winner of the Newberry Medal and National Book Award, this story follows a boy named Stanley as he spends his summer at a correctional boot camp in a Texas desert for a crime he didn’t commit. As the title suggests, he and the other boys spend every single day digging deep holes at the warden’s instruction. The warden insists the hard labor is for “character development,” but it’s clear he’s searching for something, and Stanley is determined to find out what.
Spy Camp (Spy School Book 2) by Stuart Gibbs
Middle-schooler Ben Ripley has spent a year learning to be a top-notch, super-secret spy, and now that summer’s here, he longs for a summer of fun and relaxation. Unfortunately, he’s required to report to a wilderness camp for spy survival training. It’s not long before enemy spies start to sneak their way into camp, and Ben finds himself responsible for rooting out the imposter.
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Souders
Chloe McCorkle is determined to save up enough money to buy herself a new bike before the first day of sixth grade. But before she can make any money at home, she’s sent off to career camp. She decides to make the best of the situation and learn cake decorating, then put those skills to good use when she returns home. However, with an invincible spider, a psychotic goat and a snobby bunkmate running circles around her, it’s much harder to carry out her plan than she ever expected. Perfect for ages 9-12, “How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer” is a laugh-out-loud book for determined dreamers.
Kate Higginbotham is a writer, reader, and editor from North Alabama. After self-publishing several YA novels, spending time abroad, and graduating from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Kate moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she spends her time elbow-deep in literature of all kinds. She currently writes
the “Book List” column alongside freelance editing and other publishing ventures.