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Camp Club Girls Series Review by Jenny Thompson

Various Authors
Barbour Publishing
PO Box 719
Uhrichsville, OH 44683
740-992-6045 Ext. 171

Barbour Publishing has developed a fun new series of books for girls ages 8 to 12. The series is called Camp Club Girls, and it follows the adventures of a group of preteen girls who meet at summer camp. The first two books in the series are Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake, written by Renae Brumbaugh, and Sydney's D.C. Discovery, written by Jean Fischer.

In Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake, the girls meet for the first time when they are all placed in the same cabin together. As they settle in at camp, they begin to uncover the mystery of some missing jewels. Together, they work to solve the mystery while also trying to win the title of Team Discovery Lake. There are obstacles along the way, but the girls learn to lean on each other and on God to help them overcome. Sydney's D.C. Discovery follows Sydney, who lives in Washington, D.C., and Elizabeth, who comes to visit her, as they work to solve a mystery surrounding the Vietnam Memorial. The two girls stay in touch with their camp friends over the computer and get their input as they try to figure out clues that might help them save the president's life.

These first two books in the series will be a big hit with preteen girls, especially those who love mysteries. As a girl, I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries, and these books are an updated way to capture the hearts of a new generation of super sleuths. The characters are very likable, each having her own personality traits and quirks. Once you've read the first book, you have a good feel for each girl's strengths and weaknesses. This really helps to set the stage for the upcoming titles that will focus on one character, while continuing to bring the other girls in for help. The girls possess a healthy view of themselves and will serve as good role models for the girls who read the books. In fiction that is geared toward this age group, you don't find many characters who are confident in who they are, so this series is very refreshing. I also was impressed with the use of Scripture throughout the two books. The girls use God's Word to help them not only solve the big mysteries, but also relate to each other and those around them.

I liked the first book better than the second book. Though Camp Club Girls & the Mystery at Discovery Lake moved at a quick pace, it never felt rushed. The girls solved the mystery in the time you would have expected and in a way that made complete sense. Also, the problem they figured out in the first novel seemed much more age-appropriate. Sydney's D.C. Discovery, on the other hand, did feel a bit rushed, as if the author was trying to get everything crammed into the last few pages. Sydney and Elizabeth do an awful lot of roaming around the nation's capital all by themselves, which doesn't seem particularly safe for girls this age. I think it's also unrealistic for a couple of girls to stumble upon a plot against the president, much less help FBI agents solve such a case. In a world where children have a difficult time distinguishing between reality and fiction, I would just like to see more characters who figure out puzzles and problems in a realistic way, without putting themselves in any real danger. That said, both books in the series were enjoyable and easy to read.

The Camp Club Girls series is a pleasant break from the grown-up themes that bombard girls of this age. The girls in these books are naive and innocent as preteens should be, yet they handle themselves with maturity and grace as they seek to do what is right in the eyes of God. I would recommend this series to all homeschool families with adventure-loving girls at home who are looking for characters that will inspire and encourage them in their walk with God, having plenty of fun along the way.

Product review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010