The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

Image of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
February 13, 2018
Publisher/Imprint: 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 
256
Reviewed by: 

“Anyone who enjoys literary or psychological fiction won’t be able to put this whip smart novel down.”

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is a chilling, exquisitely drawn story of five girls and how one terrifying camp misadventure follows them forever, dictating the rest of their lives.

Each girl comes from a completely different background and has nothing in common, yet the ways in which they organize themselves, become leaders or followers, come together and fall apart during the days in which they are lost in the woods during a routine campout speaks volumes about the lives they will go on to lead.

Nita, a brilliant doctor, suddenly develops violent migraines and loses her ability to practice medicine, while forming an odd yet incredibly interesting relationship with her eldest child.

Kayla is the sister of Andee, the lost girl at camp on scholarship. Through Kayla’s eyes, readers get a glimpse into how the incident affected not only Andee but also her entire family, including her mother, who ends up leaving her daughters to fend for themselves. Andee, it seems, is prepared for her leaving and has carried an inner resilience ever since the campout.

Isabel, the girl who is left behind, lives to learn that her terrifying nights alone in the wilderness are not, ultimately, the largest tragedies she will face.

Dina spends her life scarred by the things the other girls put her through on that trip—as does Siobhan, who becomes a researcher in child psychology who can never quite bring herself to research her subjects face to face. Siobhan says she could never prove what she wanted to, that she could never prove what children, when pressed, are truly capable of.

Each of these women’s stories is told independently, start to finish, and interwoven with pieces of what transpired during the camping trip that ultimately changed all of their lives. It’s a unique structure, one that Fu handles effortlessly. Though the women’s stories are told separately, the reader can still feel the undercurrent of the bond that they each share throughout the space of the novel.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is a stark portrait of what humans are capable of, of what they will do when faced with the prospect of death or survival. In an even larger way, this is a story that proves how one incident, something simple and shockingly short in comparison to a lifetime, can shape a life indefinitely. Anyone who enjoys literary or psychological fiction won’t be able to put this whip smart novel down.