May 17, 2022

‘FreeK Camp’ by Steve Burt

Jennifer Petty Mann grew up in New York City, moved to London, England, then back to Boston, and is now happily ensconced on the EightMile river in Lyme with three little ones.  A former teacher, window dresser for Saks, and designer, she is taking her love of books to the proverbial “street.”  Read her latest book review exclusively here on LymeLine every Friday.
OK, OK!  I have been remiss in my literary duties!  I have shamed myself.  My divorce is almost final and then I will try VERY, VERY hard to be more reliable.  Have you all been lost without me?  Doubtful … but I can dream.
Steve Burt is the minister at the Lyme Congregational Church.  He is man of the cloth and a man of sneaky creepiness.  This is, surprisingly, an excellent combination.  Take your old ideas of the clergy and toss them.  One can be wise, insightful, inspring, duty-bound, AND sepulchral.
FreeK Camp is Steve’s newest book ( I get to call him Steve bc I just do—you must call him Reverend Burt).  I previously reviewed his collections of short horror stories (see. 5.15.09) and this is his first novel.  It is intended for young readers but as we know this never deters me in the least.  Neither should it you.
FreeK Camp is the story of youngsters on their way to camp.  A “free” camp that enrolls kids with paranormal powers.  Thus the name transmogrified unofficially to “Freek “ Camp.
Two vans pick up these children and one is intercepted by a bad guy and doesn’t get to camp.  The other van of gifted kids must help the first and the first must learn to help themselves.  In traditional camp-like development they all bond and learn to rely on one another.
What sets it apart from other stories is a real dark undercurrent.  Not a happy-go-lucky Percy Jackson* type vibe but an evil that we as parents truly fear.
Steve takes it far enough that it completely disturbed me, but not too far that my 11-year-old was afraid.  She loved it.
Pick it up.  You won’t regret it.
And by the way, FreeK Camp just won the 2010 Beach Book festival Award for Best Teen Fiction.  See

*Percy Jackson is the main character in a wonderful series by Rick Riordan.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Steve Burt, visit Click here to order FreeK Camp 


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