What a delight! Here was a thoroughly modern, smart little girl, with an intact family and what seems to be a full social life, dragged by her family out of her comfortable existence and (with them) vacationing in a camp where the campers re-enact the 1890s prairie life so completely that they wear authentic clothes from head to toe and don't wear sunscreen (no mention was made of sanitary napkins, so one is forced to assume that the protagonist has not started her period yet, or the characters cheated there).
Through a cell phone she smuggled in, Gen Walsh starts texting her best friend about the conditions at camp, short, funny little messages that make light of her situations and the peculiarities of the other adults and children at the camp. Things get out of hand when her friend uses the texts to make a blog for a project, and the illusion of living in the past starts to crumble as the present begins to seep into the camp.
There is action, romance, conflict and lots of gentle and not-quite-gentle humor throughout the story. Best of all, the story models good relationships between siblings, friends, and family, including adults, without being preachy or stiff. The re-enactment details were well thought out and the reaction of our 13 year old protagonist to this facsimile of life on the prairie were well characterized. Several supporting characters add depth to the plot and by the end, all the stereotypes that children draw of people they have just met are torn down in such a way that both Gen and the reader learn something new about themselves.
My thirteen year old son saw me reading it, I recommended it, and much to my surprise, he is also gulping down the story and enjoying it. Ms. Davitt Bell has managed to write a female character engaging enough that an adolescent boy can get past the "girl cooties" of it all and enjoy her book. I'll be telling every young reader I know to find this book and read it.