Review and Giveaway: Five Summers by Una La Marche

five summers

I seem to know a lot of people writing books lately.  One of these friends happens to be Una La Marche, author of the new book Five Summers.  It’s coined Young Adult but I enjoyed it every much as my 10 year-old who happens to be heading off to sleep-a-way camp this summer for the first time.

FIve Summers is very much a homage, if not a love letter, to a child’s camp experience. It couldn’t have been published, or fallen into my hands, at a better time.  I admit that I’m the driver of my daughter’s pending camp experience.  She wasn’t that keen, nor was my British husband who didn’t grow up going to camp.  But I did, and the memories and friendships have lasted a lifetime.  I want her to sing songs by campfire, learn to build a fire in the woods, play archery, have talent shows at night and wake up to the sounds of birds singing every morning.  This book reminded me of what it was like: All the changes that took place during these pivotal summers; the friendships that were formed and nurtured every summer; the memories that would…and did… last forever. Una has taken me back in time to the days I was at camp and that’s the sign of a very good writer when you’re transported back in time.  Her writing is exciting and innovative with her use of plot twists, flashbacks and real life dialogue.

The story revolves around five summers at Camp Nedoba.  The girls, Jo, Emma, Maddie and Skyler, have been together since puberty and are about to embark into adulthood as they meet at age 17 at camp for one last reunion.  We go back in time to when they first met at age 10 and promised each other they’d be best friends forever. As the summers went on, they endured heart breaks, secrets, lies and typical friendship jealousies. Una puts right back in the thick of the experiences which are now memories for each teenaged girl.

Emma is the Ivy League bound college student, so it makes sense that she’s the main story teller.  She is interning for a teen magazine in NYC and appears to be the most ambitious of the group.  She has maintained a crush on a boy from camp and she can’t wait to reunite with him to see if he still has feelings for her. Her best friend, Skylar, dates more than the others and has a secret she has been keeping from Emma since their last year at camp together. Maddie has the most secrets.  She comes from a troubled family and has lied about them for years, and she’s tired of keeping up a facade.  And Jo is the daughter of the camp owner who is determined that their friendships will never change.  They all come to the reunion with different hopes but they’re older.  The background helps us understand the events that unfold at the reunion.

I’m thrilled to be giving away a copy of the book (I may even be able to get it SIGNED)!

To win, tell me if you ever went to sleep away camp and your fondest memory of the experience.

You can get additional entries by doing one of or more of the following:

- Follow The Culture Mom on Facebook.

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Winners will be selected randomly.  This giveaway will end on Sunday, June 2nd  at noon EST. Winner will be posted here, on the Culture Mom Facebook page and via email and will have 24 hours to accept their prize.

I’m in awe of Una for writing such a powerful story for young adults, and I suspect this book is just the start of a bright future as a book writer. I liked going back to my own days of summer camp and I also like that my daughter will read this and become more familiar with camp experience.

Disclosure: I was not compensated to run this giveaway, but I was provided with a copy of the book.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Wow. I want to win this book! I love the idea of a love letter to summer camp and I love the idea, as a writer, to be prompted by my best memory of camp. I have lots. But all of my best memories of camp start and end with Jodie — who was my best friend and my bunk bed mate for three summers at overnight camp in Maine. Each summer she got the bottom bed (with her lovey, Raggedy Andy) and i on the top bunk (with my lovey, my stuffed bear-dog Floppy). Jodie (and her twin brother Josh) were the source of endless giggles for me all summer long — and Jodie taught me how to speak gibberish “Diddigyou liddigearn tiddigo?” I miss Jodie terribly. She passed away a few years ago from breast cancer. But her memory lives in me so strong; which is only to be expected after having spent three summers together during such formative years. Thanks for the opportunity to publicly remember Jodie and my awesome summers at camp!

  2. jessica @peekababy says:

    I must admit, though I went to 4 years of sleep away camp, I mostly hated it. I did make a lot of good friends though!

  3. jessica @peekababy says:

    I follow you on pinterest

  4. jessica @peekababy says:

    I follow you on FB

  5. jessica @peekababy says:

    I follow you on twitter :)