Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Here's to Campfires and S'mores

By Sara Steven

Sparks flew the moment fifteen-year-old Molly Kaff and Jamie Burnham locked eyes across the dusty Camp Chimalis parking lot. From that moment, they were undeniably and irrevocably in love.

Until they weren’t.

Months after the demise of their fifteen-and-a-half-year marriage, a mutual friend from those treasured summers at camp dies, rattling their tight circle of friends to the core. Her dying request? Bring everyone back to camp one last time.

Returning proves more emotional than Molly expected. Sweltering heat in un-air-conditioned cabins is just the tip of the iceberg. Memories, both delightful and dispiriting, press down on Molly as she grapples with the momentous grief from the loss of her friend…and her husband.

Trying to honor her wishes with the ex hanging around is one thing, but being stuck in the woods with no cell service and years’ worth of hurt and resentment is another. As Molly tries to navigate her way through the heartache, she starts to wonder if she was wrong about the reasons behind her failed marriage. And if maybe her friend orchestrated their Chimalis homecoming from beyond…

Can a few evenings sitting by the campfire eating s’mores be the salve her battered heart needs to finally move on? (synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

If you’re looking to take a trip through 90’s nostalgia, it can’t get better than experiencing it through Molly Kaff. So much of what she sees, even the verbiage shared between her camp friends reminded me a lot of my own high school cronies and our shared affections for Nirvana and grunge. And while I never met the love of my life over campfire s’mores, I remember what it felt like to have my first love, and ultimately, lose that love.

I appreciated the ‘teenage first love that spans into forever’ premise, because there is something beautiful and special about it. It’s rare, but it can happen. (Ask my best friend, who’s been married to her childhood sweetheart for twenty years.) Yet we learn that it really is a rarity, because people change so much over the course of their lives, and the person you were when you were fifteen is never the person you become in your late thirties, as Molly and Jamie can attest to. And particularly when something painful and devastating happens, it can often break even the strongest of relationships.

I could feel the bond between everyone in this story, how close they are. It felt genuine when a death brought them together again, because I feel like years can go by, yet a death reminds us all of what we had and what’s really important in life. Brooke Moss did such an incredible job of showcasing that. She also showed us how many layers there are to people, how there’s so much more going on beneath the surface that is often not portrayed to the outside world.

I couldn’t help but imagine what my life would be like if something happened to my best friend, or if something happened to her marriage. How she would handle it, how I could be there to support her. While reading about the lives of each special character in Here's to Campfires and S’mores, I was reminded of how important my own relationships and friendships are, and how important it is to cherish that forever.

Thanks to Brooke Moss for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Brooke Moss:


Janine said...

I'm going to need to read this book now. I want to find out if/how they fix their marriage. said...

This sounds very cute! I'm in!