Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
For Pina, summer 1959 started off a boring drag, just like every other summer with her folks at Owl Lake Lodge in Maine. The only good thing was seeing Katie and hanging out with her in the creepy cabins of the old boys’ camp. But this summer, Katie seemed different, cuter. Pina didn’t have a clue why. Katie just somehow made her nervous – and excited.
Another thing rattling Pina’s nerves were her dreams; well, not exactly sleep dreams, but awake dreams. All fine and good, but they came from her dead Sicilian grandmother, and they told her things, crazy things, love things, like her and Katie falling in love things. They also showed her dead stuff, dead like a long-time dead from the camp dead.
So the summer heated up. And so did her feelings for Katie. Things got even hotter when Katie’s dad, Doc, and his very, very close, old camp friend, Joe, started hiding camp secrets about dead stuff – and other stuff.
How hot could Pina stand it? If she didn’t want to lose this one chance for a different kind of life, could she solve the murder – and clear Doc’s name? And would Katie have her and would Pina have herself?
Publisher: Sapphire Books
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: Under 18
Tropes: Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 74000
Setting: Lake Region, Raymond, Maine
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Katie burst in, letting out a war hoop, triumphantly waving what appeared to be a six-inch bone.
“My cavewoman!” I teased, but my stomach had started to turn. “What do you think...?”
I stopped short. I couldn’t tell if I was scared about the bone, jealous, or what. Maybe so lovesick over Katie, this silly, gutsy version of Katie, that it hit me like a club, hard as this bone. I was missing her already, waiting for her to leave for her birthday celebrations.
Katie let out just one big guffaw. Then she started to chew on her lower lip. “Don’t know, maybe a dog, maybe...Man! Promise to wait till I come back from my birthday to find out?”
“Like I’m going to be able to analyze it...” My sarcasm came out sharper than I intended. Probably from my lonely place.READ MORE
“Shoot, Pin. I wish you were coming with me.” Katie laid the bone aside and gingerly placed her hand on my wrist. She raised her eyes to meet my gaze. “It’ll feel weird without you.”
My knees were water. I knew I was already missing Katie. We belonged together. I realized we were still holding each other by the wrists, and our smiles were slipping into somewhat sad grimaces.
“I uh...I uh...I’m gonna miss you,” I managed to get out without totally turning fuchsia.
Katie turned away as if looking for something to wrap the bone in. Still, I managed to get a quick glimpse of her blushing face. Together, we creaked open a crooked, warped drawer containing some scissors and razor blade-like knives. There were some bits of cloth we could use to wrap the bone. I started to reach in, and then my hand slipped.
“Ouch!” I screamed.
Katie spotted the blood pooling on my finger. “Is it deep?”
“I don’t know. Do you have a hanky?”
The hanky turned pink and then a deeper red, then brown. No, I wasn’t going to faint.
“I’m okay,” I said. “Hey look, I have color-changing blood.” I tried to stay light and airy, so Katie wouldn’t worry. I was fighting back the hint of nausea I felt. I just couldn’t pass out, not now.
“You sure?” Katie took my hand and made as if to kiss my boo-boo. “Wanna be blood sisters? It won’t hurt; you’re already fatally wounded.” She smiled a warm smile that reached into my heart and held it tight. Yes, I was fatally wounded!
“Here, watch!” She pricked her finger and sucked the bead of blood. Katie was humming Everyday by Buddy Holly and bouncing around in rhythm.
“Yes! I am yours; you are mine in this co-mingling.” I had read that someplace. I was desperately trying to stop myself from blubbering, “I think I love you.”
“I am yours; you are mine.” Katie gave me an open and vulnerable look that I drank in.
We squished our bloody fingers together, trying to laugh even though the moment felt serious. We took turns sucking first the other’s finger and then our own. My stomach got all the more squishy. Good squishy, with a little bit of “uh oh” bad.
I heard the last lyrics to the Buddy Holly song Katie had been humming; “love like yours will surely come my way.”
Finally, we got it closed, breaking some of the molding in the process. Splinters and dust came down and frosted Katie’s hair, which had already been damp from the rain. It made her look ancient and gray. We both giggled, glad for the chance to laugh and be silly twits again. I smeared dust on her face, and she pushed me down to the ground, pinning my shoulders and threatening to dribble spit on my face. We rolled around laughing big, belly laughs and holding each other tight. Safe in each other’s arms, we finally let ourselves feel just how scared we were. We started to sob. We stayed like that a bit, a long bit, and then I felt Katie’s hand gently touch my cheek.
“You know I love you,” she murmured.
“Yeah.” I kissed her forehead and just hugged her close to me. We sat up and stayed leaning against the wall a while.
“I’ll never forget you or this summer.” Katie’s voice trailed off before whispering, “Do you think girls can love each other?” She wore a look I couldn’t figure out.
I said, “You mean, like love?”
“Yeah, don’t we?”
I was beginning to think too much. I thought I knew what Katie meant, and my mind started to race again. Did she mean love, marriage, and touching or just best friend/family love?
Then, like magic, there was a distraction.COLLAPSE
Kylie Schachte, author on http://www.amazoncentral.com/gp/dolores-maggiore wrote:
Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp
In Maggiore’s YA mystery, a teenager’s summer vacation takes an unpleasant turn when she and her best friend (and secret crush) uncover an old murder.
In 1959, 15-year-old Pina Mazzini is staying in a forest cabin with her parents near an abandoned boys camp. While wandering the camp’s ruins, she suddenly has a disturbing vision of a bully taunting a younger boy that seems to end violently. She’s certain that she’s inherited her Sicilian grandmother’s ability to see the past and future, so she rushes to tell her friend Katie McGuilvry what she saw. They go in search of answers in the surrounding area; Katie finds a bone in the crafts cabin, she and Pina find a bloodstained shirt, and Pina and her father find a finger bone with a ring on it in a lake. Pina has more intense visions in which she sees teenage boys plotting the murder, and she eventually realizes that she and Katie are finding evidence of what might be a larger conspiracy. However, they can’t go to their parents about it, because Katie’s father might be involved; he went to that summer camp in his youth, and he has the same square tattoo as the boys in Pina’s visions. Then Katie’s father invites his old camp friends to visit. Meanwhile, Pina grapples with her romantic feelings toward Katie. Indeed, in this debut novel of a series, the narrative focuses mostly on the developing relationship between the two teens. The author’s tendency toward jokey dialogue can sometimes overwhelm the story, but the overall narrative effectively depicts their emotions of initial uncertainty and caring friendship. In the midst of this, however, the murder mystery doesn’t maintain very much of a sense of gravity, and the various clues all end up fitting together a bit too neatly. However, once Pina and Katie begin to see how the killing is connected to family members and friends, the book offers an engaging, suspenseful dynamic.
A pleasant pastiche of teen sleuthing and coming-of-age gay romance—Kirkus Reviews
Grady Harp on authorcentral.com/doloresmaggiore wrote:
Death and Love at the Old Camp is both a sweet coming-of-age (and coming out) story, as well as a dark and thrilling mystery. Pina is trapped on a seemingly endless summer vacation with her parents, the only break to her doldrums the growing attraction she feels towards her best friend, Katie and the dreams that provide her terrifying visions of a decades-old crime. The setting at a 1950s Maine resort, next door to an old, abandoned summer camp, is drawn in rich, evocative detail -- you can almost smell the pine, hear the creaking of a screen door. Pina and Katie's budding romance is achingly sweet as the two girls discover each other and their own sexuality. The plucky humor of the two girls is totally endearing, and their fearless wit in the face of true horror makes you root for them at every step of the way! Kylie Schachte, editor, Review of Death and Love at the Old Camp
5.0 out of 5 stars
‘I heard voices, different voices. At least two or three. Boys. Not one of them still alive.’
By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon October 31, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Author Dolores Maggiore has strayed from her birthplace in Brooklyn to Maine, Sicily, Oregon and California (she currently lives with her wife in both Oregon and California – depending on the weather). She has worked as a psychotherapist with children of all ages, adults included and has written blogs, poetry, and children’s and Young Adult books and reference materials on lesbians and therapy and lesbians and child custody. She is a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Willamette Writers, and The Golden Crown Literary Society.
In this ghost story mystery Dolores incorporates her experience and knowledge of gay culture in a subtle manner that serve to enhance her novel. She conjures up the 1950s and summons the change that will be occurring in the 1960s and beyond, all in the context of an imaginative and thrilling psychodrama mystery.
Dolores opens her book with a summary of where she is inviting us – ‘For Pina, summer 1959 started off a boring drag, just like every other summer with her folks at Owl Lake Lodge in Maine. The only good thing was seeing Katie and hanging out with her in the creepy cabins of the old boys’ camp. But this summer, Katie seemed different, cuter. Pina didn’t have a clue why. Katie just somehow made her nervous – and excited. Another thing rattling Pina’s nerves were her dreams; well, not exactly sleep dreams, but awake dreams. All fine and good, but they came from her dead Sicilian grandmother, and they told her things, crazy things, love things, like her and Katie falling in love things. They also showed her dead stuff, dead like a long-time dead from the camp dead. So the summer heated up. And so did her feelings for Katie. Things got even hotter when Katie’s dad, Doc, and his very, very close, old camp friend, Joe, started hiding camp secrets about dead stuff – and other stuff. How hot could Pina stand it? If she didn’t want to lose this one chance for a different kind of life, could she solve the murder – and clear Doc’s name? And would Katie have her and would Pina have herself?’
But taste the flavor of this book by a tidbit of her writing style: ‘What if I had been born a boy in 1939? I was just cooling it outside the latrine at the boys’ camp. The camp had been abandoned since the ‘30s; now it was just some place to finally split from my folks. We were vacationing at the stupid Lodge across the road, and I felt completely trapped. Being a sixteen year old girl – well, almost sixteen – in 1959 was kind of like being in prison. The sun was high and hot now. Flies swarmed around the latrine’s screen door. Hanging from one hinge, the door gave a dry creak as I pulled it open. The air changed. All was still, a stillness that seemed baked in time – thick, dense, and dank – making it hard to breathe deeply. The urine scent caught in the front of my throat. A drugged state took over my mind and body. I seemed to float all the way to the back stall. Penciled names wiggled on the walls. Uncle Sam Wants You! I stumbled into a cubicle and landed on the dried-up toilet. I sat on the cool porcelain rim and pulled my feet up under me. Sweat poured down my straggly hair, framing my clammy-cold forehead. My eyes clouded over. That old, faint feeling returned; I was being pulled into a waking dream. I tried to focus. I started to count. To name all the colors I could think of. I attempted to read the poem Katie and I used to laugh about. There it was on the wall, worn away, words fuzzy, but still readable….etc’
This book is a tough story to resist, sculpted by an artist who knows her craft well and hopefully will continue to create books in the realm of this one. Recommended. Grady Harp, October 17√
Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp received Rainbow Awards in the Best Debut Lesbian Novel and Best Young Adult