If you think your childhood family vacations were rough – packed into a minivan with your brothers and sisters, facing hours of your mom’s impromptu karaoke, listening to your dad’s endless sports games – then you should meet 13-year-old Genevieve Walsh, whose mother just signed the whole family up for a summer at a frontier fantasy camp. While Gen navigates the ups and downs of a decidedly unconventional summer vacation, narrator Therese Plummer strikes just the right balance between Gen’s typical teenage “Life is so unfair” moments and her blossoming respect for the land, hard work, and her relationships.
Gen, her parents, and her 10-year-old brother Gavin are forced to give up all their modern conveniences (from Crisco to Clearasil) to join four other families for eight weeks of partying like it’s 1890 – complete with cow-milking and period dress. But Gen, who sneaks her cell phone into camp, stays calm by texting her back-home friends about everything: sharing a bed with Gavin, figuring out how to use an outhouse in the dark, dealing with the resident mean girl, and making new friends over a game of Kick the Can (that, ironically, uses all her contemporary soccer skills). Her friends turn her texts into a blog that goes viral, earning Gen more attention than she realizes until the outside world barges in. Throughout the narration, Plummer keeps Gen likeable and sympathetic (even when she’s behaving like a genuine 13-year-old), and gives the other voices in the story—Gen’s parents, Gavin, Gen’s new friends, her crush – easy, distinctive personalities as each one realizes that life on the farm isn’t exactly what Little House made it out to be. Whether you’re a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan who’d appreciate a more realistic take on the chores that Ma made sound so simple or a teenager setting out on yet another family vacation, this version will make the chores (and the car ride) a lot more entertaining. Blythe Copeland
Gen's family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen's mom signs them up for Camp Frontiera vacation that promises the "thrill" of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to email her friends back home about life at "Little Hell on the Prairie", as she's renamed the camp.
It turns out frontier life isn't without its good points, like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. And when her friends turn her emails into a blog, Gen is happily surprised by the fanbase that springs up. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.
©2010 Cathleen Davitt Bell (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"This fast read is humorous and insightful, with realistic characters that are refreshingly well rounded. Bell has captured a 13-year-old's voice, making Gen's unlikely situation feel very real." (School Library Journal)
This wonderful novel kept my 8, 11 and 14 year old daughters equally happy on a long road trip. The 14 year old identified with Gen's unhappy predicament and the logic of wanting to stay connected to her friends via texting; the younger two were completely caught up in the "prairie" experience, and enjoyed assuming the roles of Gavin and Gen for days after we listened to the book. The deft descriptions of pioneer life were fun and then often suddenly moving without seeming heavy-handed. Nora made a great villain. The book was neither too earnest nor too ironic, a subtle area that my children adore.
The story of a family going on "vacation" to an 1890's Frontier Camp is both funny and engaging and I was absolutely hooked on this story from the start all the way through to the end!
Basically, as with a lot of family vacations, the teenagers are none too happy about being forced into the experience and the parents aren't quite so sure if they understood what they were getting themselves into. The experience provides lessons to be learned of course; but the author writes in such a way that you can both understand what they are going through, while also laughing a bit at the situations they find themselves in. The narrator also did an excellent job of making the characters in the story come to life just with the tone of her voice. This is really a good story for the entire family - children, teens, and adults!
This is one of the best books. It was funny and light-hearted. I could really relate to the main character. My little brother and mum loved the book, as well. I recommend this book to all blog loving, text typing teens!
I am a middle school reading and English teacher, and parent of two teenagers. We live in Duluth Minnesota, and our whole family enjoys audiobooks.
Our family of four listens to books on car trips, etc. This book turned out to be perfect during our vacation to Alaska, where, we too, it seemed, went back to the pioneer days a bit. We laughed and sympathized with the characters. The plot is fairly predictable, but a couple unexpected twists. Our 13-year old daughter loved it most, but her 11-year old brother liked it too. It gave us some interesting things to talk about, which is a bonus. If you have a penchant for chickens, and kids who have cell phones - you must give this one a try!
The narrator, Therese Plummer, made the book very enjoyable.
It was neatly tied together though a bit sappy.
This was the first time I had heard a narration by Therese Plummer.
It was humorous enough to make me chuckle out loud once or twice.
Because of this listening experience I will be looking for additional performances by Therese Plummer.
It ranks low. The price is right.
Little brats on the blog
I thought this story would be about modern time teenagers that lived on the prairie. They really dragged it out by finding the 'wi-fi' room. It would have been so much better if that could have been omitted or shortened. I do not recommend this book.
I loved this story. It was something maybe we all could relate to, even coming from a teenagers point of view. The reader was clear and did a great job. I would def. recomend to all my friends.
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I kind of expected to be a bit bored by it and thought I'd be rolling my eyes all the way through, but it was really, really good. I loved it. It's humurous and it's thought-provoking. It's a teensy bit predictable, but probably only to an adult reader. It can be tense and it can be sweet. My pre-teen children have listened to it and I noticed that they had their earplugs in a lot! And one of them did tell me at one point that they were really enjoying it.
A good, entertaining read that won't disappoint.
I'm decades beyond my teen years, but enjoy a good adolescent novel on occasion. This was quite entertaining. And only once or twice did I cringe at the teenager-ness of the characters. It kept my interest, and I really enjoyed all the characters and the story line.
I bought this title on sale for $4.95. I really got caught up in the story of a suburban teen who is dragged off to a frontier camp with her family to live as if it were the 1890s. Their lives are much harder than even the most die-hard Little House fan could imagine. The story is a compelling soap opera: Will Gen win the heart of the cute guy? Will Nora ever stop being a nasty know-it-all? Will Pumpkin the chicken get to live?
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