Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.
From: Candlewick Press
Notes on This Title
2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Graphic Novel/Comics - Finalist
2016 Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Award Winner — Favorite Graphic Novel/Book
2015 VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award Honor
2016 Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Awards Shortlist — Favorite Comic
Starred review: “Every summer, Maggie, an Atlanta native, attends Camp Bellflower, an all-girls’ camp in Kentucky, complete with tents, shooting, and Civil War re-enactments that have been a camp tradition for nearly 100 years. The summer that she turns 15, however, she falls in love for the first time. She meets Erin, a 19-year-old counselor who studies astronomy and plays guitar. Her summer is filled with the usual camp melodrama, although along with the everyday banalities, Maggie must try to hide what she’s feeling toward Erin. Rumors thrum throughout the camp about girls who are whispered to be lesbians, leading to their eventual ostracism; Maggie, though honest with both herself and a confidante, tries to avoid her own social exile. Thrash perfectly captures all the feelings of an adolescent first love: the insecurities, the awkwardness, and self-doubts along with the soaring, intense highs of proximity. Thrash’s remembrances are evinced with clear, wide-eyed illustrations colored with a dreamily vibrant palette. She has so carefully and skillfully captured a universal moment—the first time one realizes that things will never be the same—that readers will find her story captivating.
A luminescent memoir not to be missed. (Graphic memoir. 13 & up)” (Source: Kirkus)
Starred review: “Newcomer Thrash’s graphic storytelling style, with its blank-eyed, manga-esque characters, might surprise readers accustomed to more polish. The good news is that her dialogue is so smart and snappy that a few pages in, they’ll find it doesn’t matter. Thrash portrays her 15-year-old self as a cynical Atlanta pre-cotillion deb who has been attending the same Appalachian sleepaway camp for years. Everything changes when a random caress from an older counselor, Erin, awakens a storm of desire. Maggie is unprepared for the turmoil of first love, and the camp is, to put it mildly, unwelcoming to teens questioning their sexuality. “Apparently they were on the tennis court,” two campers gossip. “Blythe said they were pretty much doing it with a racket.” Thrash writes with an intoxicating mix of candor, irony, and fresh passion. Much of the memoir’s piquancy comes from the collisions between the camp’s ideal of Southern womanhood, the campers’ clannishness, and Maggie’s faith in herself as she becomes, incongruously, the camp’s best rifle shot. This is the kind of memoir that stays with readers for days. Ages 14–up.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)
BookPage: “Maggie Thrash: The summer everything changed”
School Library Journal: ““Honor Girl” Graphic Novelist Maggie Thrash on Identity and Girls’ Spaces“