Book Nerd Book Camp!

I am thrilled to let you all know that this summer I will be facilitating a summer camp for bookworms. I was inspired by Symphony Space’s Thalia Kid’s Book Club Camp, as it sounds like my dream camp.  If I were still a teen, I would have begged my mother to let me go to Symphony Space.  When I realized this, I approached a local community college and asked if they would be interested in hosting our own version.  They said yes and I am in the midst of planning now.

The camp will run for one week for students entering grades seven through nine.  (There will be no more than 20 students in the group).  I am trying to brainstorm 2-3 books to focus on, which the campers will read before camp starts.  I want something fun, that they would not necessarily read in school.  But these are also going to be avid readers, so it can’t be anything that they will have already read on their own.  We figure the camp will be self-selecting, as it will appeal to those who already love to read.  Thus, I am thinking a lot of the kids will be reading at or above grade level.  The choices also need to appeal to boys and girls.  Finally, I am hoping to choose a book by at least one author who is willing to offer a free 20-minute Skype session with the students.  I’m going through catalogs and looking for at least one book that doesn’t come out until this spring/summer, in order to ensure everyone hasn’t read it yet.

But here is where I need help.  What books would you suggest for avid seventh-ninth grade readers to immerse themselves in for a week this summer?  I’ve come up with the following list and would love feedback/suggestions!

The Scorpio Races
The Name of the Star (Shades of London) (I haven’t read this yet- it’s on my TBR pile- so please let me know if you think it isn’t appropriate!)
Black Hole Sun– David Macinnis Gill offers a no-cost Skype visit
Life, After– Sarah Darer Littman also offers a no-cost 20 minute visit. Plus, I love this book!
Cleopatra’s Moon– Another author who offers a no-cost Skype visit. Plus, it’s a cool look at Egyptian history.
Breadcrumbs– Anne Ursu offers a Skype visit. And I love this book. AND I am imagining all I could do with it. An episode of Grimm/Once Upon a Time for comparison? The real Grimm Fairy Tales?


What would YOU want to immerse yourself in this summer?  Suggestions more than welcome!  And feel free to recommend upcoming books, too!  I will choose 2-3 for the camp plus at least one for read-aloud.