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Only Winners Bunk Here by S.A. Kazlo is a Snuggle Up Event pick #middlegrade #fiction #giveaway

Title: Only Winners Bunk Here


Author: S.A. Kazlo


Genre: Middle grade- camp/ghost story


Book Blurb: 

Thirteen-year-old Ella Hawthorne is being sent to Camp Wiawaka, on the shores of Lake George, for six weeks by her "perfect parents" in hopes that she will excel at something-anything. She'd rather stay home and do what she loves-gardening. Unfortunately, she bunks with the camp bully, Sidney, who insists their cabin win the mile swim at the end of the summer. Ella is terrified of swimming, but the camp ghost, Lisa Stewart, comes to her aide. Things go fine for Ella until Lisa starts to take things into her ghostly hands and seeks revenge for her own drowning when Ella's mom attended Camp Wiawaka. Will Lisa lead Ella or Sidney to the same fate? Can Ella prevent another tragedy at Camp Wiawaka?




Only Winners Bunk Here


Thump, Thump, Crash “Ouch!” Ella Hawthorne stuck her tongue out at the trunk that banged into her calf as she lugged it up the worn wooden steps. “Great.”  A leather handle dangled from her right hand. She flopped down on the trunk’s lid. “Guess this is the place.” Ella stared at the carved wooden sign hanging crookedly over the cabin door. Painted in yellow, it read Cabin 10.

 She stood and shoved the heavy trunk towards the cabin’s screen door. “You using my old camp trunk will be like I was there,” her mother had said, while packing Ella's trunk.

“I told Mom I needed a new trunk. Did she listen to me? Nooo.  I had to pack the same footlocker she did when she was a camper at Camp Wiawaka. She’s more than welcome to take my place,” Ella mumbled to herself.

Ella’s backpack slid down her thin arm and flopped on the floor next to the trunk. “Six weeks at this camp in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains, miles from civilization?" She kicked the dented trunk.

“Ouch!” she cried again. Ella sat and rubbed her sneakered toe. Her head rose at the sound of girls’ voices.

“No way!”

“She did?”

“She didn’t”

“Hey, Sidney do you know if Jason is going to be back at Camp Kickapoo this summer? You were such a hot couple at last year’s dance.”

 Ella peered into the screen door of Cabin 10, her new home. Three girls crowded around a bunk. Two sat cross-legged on the floor staring up at another girl twirling a tennis racket in her hands.

“He texted that he is. I can’t wait until the dance. He promised to be my date. But anyway, I’m not finished—this girl, she sat in the back of the bus, and can you believe this? Her nose was stuck in a copy of Gardens Today all the way to camp. A gardening magazine! Bet she never heard of Teen Heartbeat. And her boobs—the Cheerios floating in my cereal are bigger.” Laughter echoed off the cabin’s log walls.

Ella felt her cheeks burn and looked down at her chest. Shoulder-length curly brown hair fell across her face.  Racket-twirler was talking about her. She couldn’t deny what Racket Girl was saying. She was lacking in the chest department. Kids at school called her Bean Pole, but she had heard of Teen Heartbeat. I guess my magazine choice is a bit dorkie. she thought. It wasn’t as if she had two heads. She loved helping, Harry, her parent’s gardener. She enjoyed the smell of the earth when the morning dew laced through it and the feel of dirt crumbling between her fingers.

Her yuppie parents wined and dined their clients in the lush gardens surrounding their home. They had thought her love of gardening was “cute” until this year.

“Can’t I please stay home? I don’t need a babysitter,” Ella had pleaded for the past two months, ever since her mom delivered the bomb that she was going to Camp Wiawaka.

 Her mom’s answer was always the same. “Camp is a wonderful opportunity for you to excel as a young woman. Discover your full potential. At your age, Princess Wiawaka and the legend of her bravery was a great inspiration to me.”

Excel: an important word to my perfect parents. Mom with her Botox lips and Dad with his charter membership in the Hair Club for Men. Ella chewed her bottom lip and brushed the unruly curls out of her eyes. She rubbed her damp palms down her red shorts and pulled open the screen door. Stretching out a long leg to prop it open, she pushed her trunk into the cabin.

The screen door bumped against her backside. She stood inside the door and looked around the cabin. The windows had screens, but no glass. Names scrawled in black covered the raw pine walls. Ella figured they were past Cabin 10 campers.

Silence blanketed the room as three pairs of eyes inspected her up and down.

 Ella blew her bangs off her forehead and pasted a smile on her face.

“Hi. I’m Ella Hawthorne.” Sweat gathered under her armpits. I should have double-dosed my deodorant this morning.

Springs creaked as Racket Girl uncurled her firm body from the bunk and walked over to Ella. “I’m Sidney, Sidney Carter.” Sidney cocked her chin up a notch and stood eye-to-eye with Ella. “I’m in charge of Cabin 10. The bunk over there is yours.” She pointed the tennis racket to an upper bunk stuck in a dark corner of the cabin. Dead flies trapped in cobwebs hung from the ceiling above the pillow.

Ella gulped and backed up a step. “Thanks.” She tugged on the hem of her T-shirt, the same white shirt with Camp Wiawaka printed in red across the front that the other girls wore.

It’s going to be a long six weeks, but at least I don't think she recognizes me from the bus. Ella pushed her gear over to the corner.

“Hi, I’m Jada.”

Ella straightened.

Like an excited puppy, Jada's wavy black hair bounced about her dark face.  She flashed a perfect, white smile at her.

Conscious of her mouth full of braces, Ella gave Jada a half-hearted smile.

Jada leaned closer to Ella and whispered, “Don’t mind Sidney. She thinks she runs things around here, but she’s okay.”

“Yeah, I got that impression, she’s in charge, I mean.” Ella flipped open the locks on her trunk and lifted the lid. Inside lay the neatly folded clothes and camping gear required of each camper. Ella had thought her mom was going to melt her credit card buying everything, except the new trunk she really wanted. Along with T-shirts, shorts, a bathing suit and enough underwear to last two weeks, until laundry day, each camper was required to bring their own bedding, towels and sleeping bag. A mosquito net for the bed was optional. How bad are the bugs if campers need to surround their mattress with a net in order to sleep? Ella had wondered. This is the Adirondack Mountains and not the swamps of Florida, right?


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):






November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?


My family.


Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?


Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Only Winners Bunk Here will keep you on the edge of you seat from page one.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs November 1 – 30


Drawing will be held on December 1.


Author Biography:


 Syrl, a retired teacher, lives in upstate New York with her husband and two lively dachshunds.  When not writing she is busy enjoying the Adirondack Mountains and her family.


Social Media Links:


Instagram- sakazlo

Twitter- @sakazlo


Facebook- S A Kazlo

2 comentarios

30 nov 2023

I’m grateful for my familly, my cats & authors!

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27 nov 2023

Thank you, S.A., for sharing your book in our Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon!

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