For so many kids and parents, summer is soon coming to an end. Not here in Virginia, students don’t go back until after Labor Day. My daughter will be starting preschool this year, I want to say that it snuck up on me, but picking a preschool and getting registered was a serious process! There’s still more time for summer reading, and today I’m sharing one of the best books I’ve read this summer. Breakfast Served Anytime follows Gloria, a creative, smart and independent 17 year old, to what she calls “geek camp”. The story spans the summer before her senior year, the camp is for gifted kids, it’s something fun for them – and something that will hopefully look good on their college applications.
This summer isn’t exactly transformative, though she does make some really great friends. It’s what came before summer that changes Gloria profoundly. Raised by a single father after her Mom leaves, her beloved grandmother passes away. She takes the loss hard and seems to be reaching out for something. Bringing a group of unlikely friends together, this summer camp experience reminds me so much of The Breakfast Club. The title comes from a restaurant Gloria and her friends routinely meet at throughout the summer. It’s a greasy spoon diner that serves cheap food, and breakfast 24/7.
When I first started reading this book in the beginning of the summer, I was thinking of a few friends of mine who were prepared to send their kids away to camp for the first time. Gloria is a little older than some of these kids I had in mind that were heading off to camp, but it his her first time going away. After her arrival, she is signed up for a class called The Secrets of the Written Word. It is here that she encounters the unknown, and unexperienced. Gloria is drawn to another camper named Mason, who she is partnered with. He is funny, smart, and handsome. About halfway through the camp they realize that they are both children of single parents. This is one thing they have in common – which kind of explains why they’re also drawn to Calvin, another member of their group. Calvin is a farmer’s kid, who is so unlike everyone else at the camp – yet Gloria and Mason love spending time with his family on the farm. It’s a type of life they love and subconsciously crave.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when Gloria talks about a conversaion she has with a new friend from camp. After reading it for the first time, I had to pause and let it digest. It’s something I should remind myself of often.
“How long had it been since I’d talked with someone this way? Not just say words out loud to enjoy the sound of my own voice, but really talk, and listen back? It seemed like such a small thing, but I seriously couldn’t remember the last time it had happened.”
I really loved this book. Even though my teenage years ended a while ago, I loved the characters, and could identify with Gloria searching for friends and just someone to connect with. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Coping with the loss of her grandmother, and being alone for the first time, she is in unknown territory. She bravely embraces new people and new experiences, much more bravely than most adults would. If only we could be as brave as she is!!