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Spells & Sleeping Bags    by Sarah Mlynowski Amazon.com order for
Spells & Sleeping Bags
by Sarah Mlynowski
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Spells & Sleeping Bags is a delightful escape for the young teen reader: Rachel Weinstein and her younger sister Miri head off to summer camp for a mind-boggling seven weeks. This is their first foray into the delights and unpleasantness of summer camp and Rachel is totally looking forward to it, especially as her big crush Raf will be there too. Miri is not as enthusiastic; she is much more of a loner than her big sister and has trouble making friends.

The odd thing about these girls is their incredibly neat abilities they are young witches! Rachel has only just felt her powers, but Miri is an old hand at levitating objects and can even cast spells. Rachel still has to bring her own powers under control and has promised her mother that she will not try spells and other nonsense while away. Rachel is a big girl, though why shouldn't she just try the odd incantation? She's even snuck her invisibility umbrella to camp, which should provide some fun.

Camp is awesome, or so Rachel thinks until she realises that one of her bunk-mates absolutely detests her. And everything that can go wrong with Raf does go wrong: They are destined never to have that first kiss that Rachel is soooo dreaming about. First Rachel is attacked by a soccer ball from nowhere while she and Raf are enjoying alone time on the swings. Another time they trudge up to the lookout (Rachel is no backwoods girl, she adores the city!) to watch the sunset, which should be incredibly romantic and should lead to that big first kiss, but this time they are attacked by a swarm of bees ... and so it goes. Rachel is determined to find out why these incidents are happening, and why her little sister has begun hanging out with the one person Rachel absolutely and positively hates, Liana! It seems that Miri and Liana are now the best of best friends what is going on?

Spells & Sleeping Bags is a fun book for pre-teen and teenage girls. The plot moves along at a fast pace, and the descriptions of summer camp will, for the most part, make those girls who have never tried it want to go to sleepover camp with or without witchcraft!

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