The Perennials by Mandy Berman

I went to camp, and if you went to camp The Perennials will feel very familiar to you. My camp, just like Camp Marigold in the book, was known for riding but was not co-ed. Regardless, the threads of the plot are familiar. The movement from childhood innocence to womanhood as well as the exploration of sexuality (yes, this even happens at an all girls camp). Despite the fact that the camp in the book is co-ed, it’s nice to know even at a co-ed camp the weird competition to hook-up with international male staff still remains strong. Nostalgia rings very strongly in this book, particularly for me due to my connection to being a camp counselor to thirteen year old girls at a riding camp. Nostalgia with a bit more scandal 😉 .

One of the many aspects I enjoyed about this book was the weaving of different plot lines together from different perspectives. I, for one, really enjoy the dramatic irony of knowing something that other characters don’t and watching how the secrets they keep from each other are slowly revealed. For her debut novel, the weaving that Berman does between secrets and perspectives made for an unexpected tale.

I really enjoyed the conclusion of this book because I didn’t the stitching for it. The ending was believable but not predictable. The ending is what I was describe as a “warm hug”. There is substance and leaves you satisfied without being cheesy. So if you want an ending in raging scandal that smacks you in the face, this isn’t that book.


Read if you like:

-Coming of age novels

-Reminiscing about your time at camp

-Sociocultural landscape of New York state


Level of Difficulty: Book before bed


If you like books about camps I also recommend: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani (setting 1930s South)


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