Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire

Brenda A. Ferber

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Jemma Hartman knows that her first summer at beautiful Camp Star Lake is going to be amazing. There will be swimming, sailing, and overnight trips – not to mention her best friend, Tammy, who moved away a year ago. But when Tammy’s cousin, Brooke, decides to come to camp as well, Jemma’s perfect summer starts to crumble. Brooke never laughs at Jemma’s jokes, and she thinks she rules the cabin. She even convinces Tammy to be her sailing partner, sticking Jemma with the camp weirdo. Jemma just can’t understand why Tammy wants to spend all her time with Brooke. And is it really possible to make new friends but keep the old, like the song says, or does Jemma simply need to let go?

Recalling the camp she attended as a child, Brenda A. Ferber offers an endearing look at friendships lost and found.


Read an Excerpt

Tammy said we’d be best friends forever, and I believed her. I was standing on her driveway, squinting in the August sun. The moving truck had left, and Tammy’s parents and older brother were already in their minivan. Tammy and I did our secret handshake, com­plete with butt bump and shimmy. We hugged and promised to call. Then Tammy climbed into the van, and they drove away. The Eriksons were moving to Chicago, only thirty minutes by car from our life here in Deerfield. But when you were about to start fifth grade, anything farther than a bike ride was another world.



  • Searching for Jemma Hartman

    Last summer, author Brenda Ferber went to camp in search of the star of her novel, Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire.

  • Jemma Hartman Camper Extraordinaire: ALA Book Talk

    Brenda Kahn talks about Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire by Brenda Ferber.

  • Jemma Hartman Book Trailer

    Young girls share their thoughts (and favorite parts) on Brenda Ferber's JEMMA HARTMAN, CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE!



Praise for Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire

“What's so well conveyed here is the ordinariness of Jemma's feelings. She's not noble and grand . . . she's jealous. Ferber renders the ordinary delights of days at camp as well.” Chicago Tribune

“Ferber has a fine ear for preteen dialogue and concerns, and her descriptions of overnight camp activities (especially sailing and waterskiing) will strike a chord with readers.” Booklist

“Ferber has drawn a realistic main character . . . . The plot moves along swiftly, and Jemma’s first-person narrative rings true, as do the issues and the camp experience.” School Library Journal

“This will make a sunny summertime outing for readers.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“For all the tweens who believe in BFF but find out, to their great disappointment, that it isn’t for everyone, this is the book for them.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Brenda A. Ferber

  • BRENDA A. FERBER’s first novel, Julia’s Kitchen, won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers and was praised by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review that raved, “Family bonds, Jewish traditions and overcoming grief . . . are deftly braided in this poignant story.” She lives in Deerfield, Illinois.
  • Brenda A. Ferber


Available Formats and Book Details

Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire

Brenda A. Ferber

  • e-Book