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A Reading Group Guide to The Mother-Daughter Book Club series, Book 7: Mother–Daughter Book Camp
By Heather Vogel FrederickAbout the Book
Spend one last summer with the Mother-Daughter Book Club at camp in this bittersweet conclusion to Heather Vogel Frederick’s beloved and bestselling series.
After so many summers together, Emma, Jess, Megan, Becca, and Cassidy are reunited for one final hurrah before they go their separate ways. The plan is to spend their summer as counselors at Camp Lovejoy in a scenic, remote corner of New Hampshire, but things get off to a rocky start when their young charges are stricken with a severe case of homesickness. Hopefully, a little bit of bibliotherapy will do the trick, as the girls bring their longstanding book club to camp. Discussion Questions
1. Have you read other books in this series or was this your first introduction to the characters? If you hadn’t met them before, were you interested in them? Were you curious enough to go back and read the earlier books? If you had met them before, is your favorite character the same as she was in previous books?
2. Have you read other books where more than one character narrated, in alternate chapters? Which ones? How was this book like those books? How was it different? Do you enjoy hearing more than one character’s voice in a single story?
3. Have you read Understood Betsy
? If not, do you want to read it now? If so, discuss how that book’s events are reflected in this book’s events. Why do these girls enjoy such an old-fashioned book? Share some examples of old-fashioned books that you like. Can you suggest a few books that each of the girls might especially enjoy, and why?
4. Did you go to camp? How was your experience? How was it similar to, or different from, the Camp Lovejoy experience? Share some camp memories.
5. What would your ideal camp job be? Would you enjoy spending the summer with your friends, or would you enjoy going to camp alone and making new friends? Would you rather be counselors with your friends, or go alone to make new ones?
6. This is the final book in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series. Do you think the author has chosen a good place to end the series, or do you think there could be more?
7. This is the girls’ last summer together as they are on the brink of attending college. Do you think they will remain good friends, or will they grow apart?
8. Describe each girl with just one word. For example, for Megan you might say “fashion.” How are these words a clue to the girls’ futures? Which of their future careers can you identify with? Are you as focused on your future career as they seem to be?
9. Discuss how the opening setting of the book, with the girls’ dark and rainy arrival at camp, sets up their expectations of their summer experience. What happens to make them start thinking in a more positive way? How would a bright and sunny setting have started the book off differently?
10. Give an example of when one of the girls surprised you, like when Cassidy says, “a person could get kind of choked up . . . if a person were the type to get choked up. Which I’m not.” Do you enjoy being surprised by a character, or would you rather he or she stay predictable?
11. The camp motto is “Broadening horizons for over a century.” What does this motto mean, and how does it relate to the girls? Discuss how the motto is also one of the main themes of the book.
12. Do you have a favorite book that is, as Emma says, “as comfortable as my favorite pair of slippers”? Are there common types of themes, plots, or characters in your favorite books?
13. The book club members think that Jess’s cousin Felicia is O.D.D. (their code for “odd”). Do you agree? How is Felicia different, and how do the girls begin to appreciate her? Do you have friends like Felicia?
14. Discuss the character of Sergeant Marge and the stereotypes she represents. Why does the author include her? Does she seem inflexible just because she is an adult? Does the author succeed in showing her as a relatable person by the end of the book?
15. Do you think these books would make a good TV series? Why or why not?
16. The camp director tells the counselors to try and give the campers a “memory-maker” before the summer is over, to give them a chance to do something naughty with the thrill of getting caught. Do you think this idea of planned mischief works well? Does the fact that it’s been planned make it an artificial experience?
17. Emma says, “Why is it that talking to my mother always makes me feel so much better?” Is this true for you? How are you and your mother alike, and different?
18. Megan and Becca think that Emma is in “full reinvention mode” after her breakup with Stewart. Have you ever wanted to reinvent yourself? Why? How would you begin?
19. Camp Lovejoy is a tech-free zone, and no mirrors, makeup, or beauty products are allowed. Do you think this is a good thing? Are those items unnecessary distractions? Would you be able to enjoy your summer without them?
20. Emma’s mom tells her, “Happiness is about doing some good in this world . . . It comes from finding what you were meant to do, and doing it.” Do you agree? Discuss how this advice might be received and understood by each character by the end of the book. Extension Activities
1. Choose one of the following quotes from Understood Betsy
and write a short essay relating the quote to the plot or characters in Mother-Daughter Book Camp
“Elizabeth Ann had never had anything to do with children younger than herself, and she felt very pleased and important to have anybody look up to her.”
“Not a thing had happened the way she planned, no, not a single thing! But it seemed to her she had never been as happy in her life.”
“That was herself she was looking at! How changed she was! How very, very different she looked from the last time she had seen herself in a big mirror.”
“And then something happened which changed Elizabeth Ann’s life forever and ever!”
2. In Chapter 4, Gwen, the camp director, introduces the camp philosophy, saying, “We accept no limitations at Camp Lovejoy.” Write your own pep talk welcoming campers and counselors, and then perform it for the others in your group.
3. Write a script for an episode of a TV show based on one of the book’s chapters, and stage a reading with the group.
4. Write an article for the Birch Bark
camp newspaper. It can be an imaginary report on a camp event or a poem or story ostensibly written by a camper or counselor. Bonus points for dreaming up a funny item for Emma’s new feature, “Overheard.”
5. As the girls do for Dorothy Canfield Fisher, the author of Understood Betsy
, compile a list of Fun Facts about this book’s author, Heather Vogel Frederick.
6. If you are musically inclined, compose a new camp song for Camp Lovejoy. Then record and/or perform it for your group.
7. Imagine that you are a camper at Camp Lovejoy, and write a letter home to your best friend. Describe your cabin’s counselors, and describe what a good (or rotten!) time you’re having.Guide written by Bobbie Combs, a consultant at We Love Children's Books. This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.