The Sun Will Come Out

  • Review
By – June 29, 2021

Noth­ing evokes feel­ings of fun, friend­ship, and relax­ing days spent in a coun­try set­ting like a book set in sum­mer camp — and noth­ing cap­tures the social dis­com­fort, awk­ward­ness, and inse­cu­ri­ty as well. In short, camp books focus intense­ly on both the joy and the pain of bur­geon­ing maturity.

The Sun Will Come Out fol­lows twelve-year-old Bea’s first sum­mer at Camp Shalom, dur­ing which she learns life­long lessons in com­pas­sion, car­ing, and loss, and devel­ops the abil­i­ty to nav­i­gate the unex­pect­ed twists that life holds in store. All the while, she devel­ops con­fi­dence, deep­ens her famil­iar­i­ty with Jew­ish tra­di­tions, and broad­ens her worldview.

Bea encoun­ters the inevitable camp bul­lies along­side car­ing coun­sel­lors and new friends. As the camp sea­son pro­gress­es, she learns that life can be more com­plex than expect­ed but also that she is capa­ble of ris­ing to unan­tic­i­pat­ed occa­sions, pro­vid­ing com­fort to oth­ers, and man­ag­ing her fears.

The camp infir­mary is a haven for Bea when stress-induced aller­gic reac­tions over­whelm her and she needs a respite from cam­p’s end­less­ly com­pli­cat­ed social scene. At the infir­mary, she meets Har­ry, a boy of about her own age. Har­ry suf­fers from a dis­ease Bea has nev­er heard of, prog­e­ria, which will result in his ear­ly death. Through her grow­ing friend­ship with Har­ry, Bea learns that bul­lies, crush­es, and friend­ship are impor­tant parts of life but that there are oth­er things of even greater import; her per­son­al tra­vails pale when com­pared with the chal­lenges faced by Har­ry every day. Bea is strength­ened and inspired by Har­ry’s unique out­look on life and comes away with lessons she will car­ry into her future as she tries new expe­ri­ences and faces new challenges.

The Sun Will Come Out pro­vides mate­r­i­al for thought and pos­si­bly for extend­ed dis­cus­sion with friends and fam­i­ly. It is a sto­ry of courage and hope set in the micro­cosm of Jew­ish sleep-away camp, an envi­ron­ment ripe for grow­ing and over­com­ing obstacles.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions