The Counselors: An Exciting Book with an Unfortunate Ending


New York Times bestselling author Jessica Goodman tells the suspenseful story of how one
summer at a preppy Vermont sleep away camp turns grave. The titular main character Goldie
Easton is your runof-the-mill small town girl whose whole life revolves around “Camp Alpine
Lake”. While extremely expensive and almost impossible to get into, she is able to attend the
camp because her parents work there under the camp directors Stu and Mellie. She has been
going there her whole life and is now a counselor with her two best friends, Ava and Imogen,
both with varying importance to her story. That year before camp, Goldie met and started dating
Heller McDonald, who one night ran over his best friend while intoxicated, paralyzing him, and
making Goldie take the blame. This ostracized Goldie from her entire town, and creates one of
the main conflicts of the story and one of the most compelling. This leads her to now use the
camp and its wealthy cohorts as an escape from her depressing life. When the summer starts
and Heller is found dead on the shores of Camp Alpine Lake, Goldie’s life is turned upside down
and she is forced to reveal her dark past to her best friends.

Goodman has strong beginning to the book by creating suspense, introducing characters and
setting up a murder mystery, but around the midway point of the book her tight writing begins to
unravel. The main characters, Ava, Goldie and Heller are interesting and play into the story
quite well but everyone else including Imogen and Goldie’s parents are somewhat useless to
the story as a whole. The author switches back and forth between the summer and the past and
does a compelling job at using this to slowly reveal the many mysteries in the book but still falls
short as only half of them are solved and the predictable murder mystery gets old after a while.
Near the end of the book it seemed like Goodman also lost interest in the story and just wanted
to wrap it up. In fact the climax of the book only takes up about half a page and doesn’t really fit
neatly into the web of mystery that Goodman did a good job of setting up. In the end Goodman

has a strong book, interesting story, good characters and her portrayal of summer camp is
extremely accurate and very nostalgic but this really only holds up in the beginning.
Unfortunately the murderer is extremely predictable,the second half of the book unravels quickly
and readers are left unamused. It felt as if the actual murder mystery of the book wasn’t even
that important and the rest of the characters’ dramas were much more thought out and well
written. Overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has gone to summer
camp and on the plus side it is relatively well written with a great story, even if it falls short near
the end.