Behind The BookOne of the most enjoyable – and nerve-wracking – experiences for an author is the first time you see your cover. With The Last Boy at St. Edith'smy first novel, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, I was blown away instantly by the cover. I loved the colors, the characters, and in particular the drawing of the school, which somehow looked exactly the way I pictured it in my head.

For my second novel, CAMP SHADY CROOK, I have to admit I was a little nervous. This book has some similar themes to the first – friendship and finding yourself – but it has two main characters who share the story, and a very different plot and tone.

The truth is, I loved my first cover so much I really wondered if lightening could strike twice. I knew the cover needed to be different. I just didn’t know what that would mean.

The process was different, too, for this book. Unlike with my first book, my debut, I was more involved in the cover conversations from an earlier stage. I saw a ton of sketches, and watched as the art director went through several concepts, all very different in style and tone.

As a writer, I’m very used to the creative process for writing a book, but getting a front row seat to the process of creating a cover was a new experience for me. Just like with preparing the text of a book for publication, the cover is a collaborative process as well, with the artist Andy Smith, the art director Laura Lyn DiSiena, my editor, Alyson Heller—and even me, the author -- sharing thoughts and ideas on each draft.

The end result is a cover that captures CAMP SHADY CROOK in a way that I couldn’t have imagined, but one I got to see take shape thanks to a great publishing team.

Camp Shady Crook

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About the book …

It’s Ocean’s Eleven set in a summer camp as two kids try to one-up each other in a con competition at a camp that isn’t quite what it seems…

For Archie, the start of summer means another stint at Camp Shady Brook, where there is a lot more to the camp than meets the eye—just like Archie and his now blended family. But thanks to a con Archie developed last year, he’s finally somebody…and he’s not going to lose that status to the new girl, Vivian.

For Vivian, thanks to an incident That Shall Not Be Named or Spoken Of, her summer of exotic travels with Mom and Dad has turned into traveling to a dump of a summer camp in the middle of nowhere.

But thanks to perfect timing, Vivian soon finds herself in a ring of kids trying to out-con each other—and discovers Camp Shady Brook is more like Camp Shady Crook. And when one final, massive con could cost Vivian the first friends she’s had in a while, can she and Archie figure out a way to make things right?

About the author:

LeeLee Gjertsen Malone is a journalist, editor, and author who lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, daughter, and a rotating cast of pets.

Visit Lee’s website at


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