MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg

by Julie Sternberg
Amulet Books, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0190-0
Middle Grade Contemporary
Grades 3-5
ARC provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops.


I admit I am not the biggest poetry fan and I'm always a little bit cautious when I read novels that are written in verse because it takes a talented writer to be able to pull it off.  Being able to write in enough detail while still keeping a nice rhythm takes skill. Julie Sternberg pulls it off nicely in Like Bug Juice on a Burger.

Eleanor finds herself in a situation she has no idea how to handle.  While her mother loved summer camp, Eleanor finds little to like and soon finds herself writing home with a plea to be picked up. But as she adjusts she realizes that there are some good things and while she isn't likely to ever love camp, she did have some fun after all.

I have to say this book brought back my own camp experiences with a vengeance both the good and the bad. Luckily, I always had people I knew around me so it wasn't as bad as Eleanor's experiences and in fact I always had a blast.  I'm grateful for authors like Sternberg who can create stories and characters that it is so easy to relate to. Recommended.


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