The Ghost of Danny McGee

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Pub Date 15 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022


"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire story that will keep you up past lights out.”
—Mary McCoy, author of Camp So-and-So

“A great near-future science-fiction premise, an all-American summer camp, crystal clear storytelling, a possible murderer and his victim make this a perfect book to read in sunshine."
—Imraan Coovadia, author of A Spy in Time

Camp Phoenix is a controversial and expensive summer camp program that transfers adults’ consciousness into a clone of their childhood selves. On the surface, it’s an ordinary summer camp. Twelve-year-old Logan has come to have a relaxing, carefree summer. She wants to ride horses, make new friends, and she loves listening to ghost stories. Sam is a twenty-year-old counselor, taking on the responsibility of the kids’ care by day, and riding the rollercoaster of a summer romance after hours.  

As Logan faces the ups and downs of puberty, Sam watches over her and struggles with the bizarre truth: the campers in her care are not kids at all, but wealthy adults immersed in the ultimate escape from reality.  

What Logan doesn’t know—or at least, can’t remember—is that she and her friends will all have to return to their grownup bodies once the summer is over. Logan will again be a successful, middle-aged woman, and the popular boy she has a crush on? He will return to his life as a celebrity suspect at the center of a high-profile murder case.

"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire...

Advance Praise

"Grim’s novel is mostly a quiet, slow-moving reflection on second chances, the ethics of cloning, the privileges of the rich, and what it means to be human. The story’s perspective alternates between that of Sam and Logan, exploring the experiences of the campers and the counselors, by turns. There’s a tinge of unreliability to their narration that gives the tale a compelling, evocative, and uneasy feel. The author also cleverly weaves in the ever changing story of a ghost who supposedly haunts the camp—the eponymous Danny McGee—adding an extra layer to the story in which everybody’s repeatedly told to “Stay on the trails.'

"Quietly insightful speculative fiction that will appeal to fans of Westworld and Black Mirror."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted, sinister, and wildly inventive, Quinlan Grim delivers a chilling campfire story that will keep you up past lights out.”
—Mary McCoy, author of Camp So-and-So

"Grim’s novel is mostly a quiet, slow-moving reflection on second chances, the ethics of cloning, the privileges of the rich, and what it means to be human. The story’s perspective alternates between...

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ISBN 9781955085106
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Average rating from 64 members

Featured Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book. The premise is fascinating and the story held my attention. The writer is a talented storyteller. I would have liked to have heard more about the characters backstory before the events of the story.

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The Ghost of Danny McGee is a fantastic YA-type thriller. I loved it. The plot is really unique and the story well-written. While I never really "liked" any of the characters, they were all well thought out. The story is about a camp where rich people pay to go back in time and be young again. While they are young, their current bodies are placed in a sort of state of suspension. The staff knows the kids are not really kids, which is interesting when a suspected murderer shows up on the camper's list. How do they react to that? What about the pop star who is a kid again? The camp is completely realistic with the crafts, staff personalities, etc. I really enjoyed the book and there were a few complete surprises along the way. It did not take the route I thought it would. and the end fell a bit flat for me or maybe it is just because I wanted more. All in all, this is a great story and I can't wait to read more by this super-talented author.

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Well written with an intersting and engaging story and well developed characters that all really added something to the plot. This was an incredible read.

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Imagine getting to be a kid again for 10 weeks at a summer camp.

In a remote location completely isolated from reality rests Camp Phoenix, a summer camp where rich adults can become children again. Run by Phoenix Genetics, no one knows exactly how it happens but there's definitely some controversy around the process.

Throughout the story we experience the summer camp from the perspectives of Sam and Logan. Sam is a 20ish year old counselor at Camp Phoenix who's just returned from living in Paris and is now up for a promotion at camp and Logan, a wife and mother looking to reignite the connection she had with her husband and save her marriage by reliving the childhood summer camp experience together.

Among the other guests on the lists? Famous singer, Poppy Warbler and filmmaker Hugo Baker, a possible murderer.

Underlying all of the usual summer camp activities such as swimming, crafts, and campfires is the story of Danny McGee. Originally a bedtime story that Sam made up to entertain her campers, slowly becomes an ominous presents in the lives of all the campers.

I never wanted this book to end. It felt like I was at Camp Phoenix. This would be a great summer read and I definitely plan on rereading it when it comes out.

If you like summer camp stories, ghost stories, West World, or Black Mirror then this book is for you.

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Set in a not too distant future where you can implant your consciousness into a genetically modified version of your childhood self, this book is an intriguing at times chilling look into the innocence of childhood and growing up.

This book reminded me a lot, somehow, of "The Girl who could fly" by Victoria Forester, but balanced with an adult view point. Both narrative voices are really well-developed and interesting, feeling very very real. I think I will pick this up again in a while, and enjoying knowing the ending as I read again.

The technology of the book's premise is never explained with much detail, but I don't think it needed to be. It raised a lot of questions for me, but more in the sense that I want to read more from this world, not that anything was really missing.

This book is suited to young adult and adult readers, and the child's perspective does not make the book more juvenile. I look forward to reading more from Quinlan Grim.

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I absolutely loved this! It was so well written and engaging whereas the plot was unique. I can't wait to recommend this to friends.

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The premise is immediately compelling, chock full of potential, and there's a lot to love about this book. The author makes a clever choice not to too closely interrogate the science bit of the sci-fi, focusing instead on the narrative potential of said science, the 'what-if' of it all. This, I am reliably informed, is what all the best sci-fi does: use science as a tool to investigate humanity. On that score: 10/10.

For me, there are slightly too many characters to follow - I lost track of who was who between the teen/adult characters - and the ending was a bit rushed and a bit of an anticlimax. I wish we could see more of the fallout from the characters returning to their lives, which is teased in the blurb but doesn't really deliver in the novel itself.

I also perhaps wish that there was less mystery/ghost story, and more exploration of the central tenet of the book: What do our childhoods mean for our adult selves? Would we go back, if we could? Should we? Perhaps I want this to be more lit fic than thriller - there are shades of Never Let Me Go, which feels like an unfair comparison.

I want to stay in this world, though, and I can't give higher praise than that.

My thanks to California Coldblood Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a free copy in exchange of an honest review. The Ghost of Danny McGee is actually a pretty good read with an interesting premise. The concept of it does gives off Blackmirror vibes. Basically there’s this summer camp where rich people can spend millions to spend time there in their 12 year old bodies with their adult consciousness intact though they don’t remember their adult vibes. Honestly this book does touch upon reality and science and also about childhood. About how our childhood does shape up our adult lives and how our adult self is different than when we were young. All in all, it’s a very interesting read and the story is fast-paced. I couldn’t stop reading because it reels you right in. I do understand how some people do feel put off at the beginning but you have to push through.

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Das Buch jetzt ist mal special. Sowohl vom Inhalt als auch generell, das gibt es nämlich hier in Deutschland noch überhaupt nirgends zu sehen, geschweige denn vorzubestellen. Ich kannte auch weder den Autor, noch den Verlag, aber ich fand das Cover skurril-witzig, und die Beschreibung extrem cool. Also, danke Netgalley USA für das Rezensionsexemplar!
Camp Phoenix ist ein extrem teures und kontroverses Sommer Camp. Solche Camps haben wir hier in Europa eher selten, in den USA allerdings hat wohl jeder Jugendliche schon mal zumindest einen Sommer in einem Ferienlager verbracht, und zwar einen ganzen Sommer. Sprich, diese Camps dauern etwa 10-12 Wochen, und nach aussen hin ist Camp Phoenix auch ein ganz normales Sommerlager. Weit ab vom Schuss, inmitten der Natur, an einem See gelegen, und die 12jährige Logan liebt es, am Lagerfeuer zu sitzen, zu reiten, neue Freundschaften zu schliessen, und Geistergeschichten zu hören.
Sam ist 20, und eine der Betreuerinnen. Einerseits hat sie einen gutbezahlten Sommerjob, der Zeit lässt, um mit den anderen Betreuern abends Party zu machen, andererseits ist das auch ein recht verantwortungsvoller Job, denn einen Haufen Kids und Teens zu hüten, kann schon anstrengen.
Aber Camp Phoenix ist kein normales Summer Camp. Die Camper sind nicht normal: hier handelt es sich nicht um echte Kinder, sondern um Klons von extrem reichen Erwachsenen, die für einen Sommer mal wieder unbeschwert Kindheit und Jugend geniessen wollen. Die „echten Klienten“ liegen für die ganze Zeit in einer Klinik im künstlichen Koma, und per Bewusstseinstransfer erwachen die kleinen Klons zum Leben. Die Betreuer wissen das, die kleinen Camper natürlich nicht. Und so beobachten Sam und die anderen ihre Meute bei ihrem Sommer, ihren Nöten, ihren Freuden, ihren pubertären Kämpfen, und wissen doch zeitgleich, dass alles Fake ist. So real es sich auch anfühlen mag.
Die Geschichte ist abwechselnd aus Sams und Logans Sicht erzählt. Und bei Logan witzigerweise aus Sicht der 12jährigen Logan und der über 50jährigen Frau.
Das war mal eine echt faszinierende Idee. Wer will nicht mal gerne wieder einen Sommer seiner Jugend verbringen? Ich kann das verstehen, wenn man da mal zuschlagen will. Aber natürlich kann man die Vergangenheit nicht ändern – oder doch? Aber eigentlich ist ja alles nur fake und geklont?
Der Autor hat das Experiment in so ziemlich allen Facetten beschrieben, und ich habe das Buch verschlungen. War super spannend geschrieben, und mich hat dieses Experiment total fasziniert. Ich fand die Beschreibung des Camps und der Charaktere auch authentisch. Ich hab in Sams Alter auch mal in Ferienlagern gejobbt, und ja, so ähnlich hab ich das in Erinnerung 😉. Nur das unsere Kids echt waren 😉. Die waren aber genauso anstrengend 😉.
Also, ich bin echt in diese Geschichte eingetaucht.
Der titelgebende Geist von Danny McGee ist übrigens die Geistergeschichte der Camper. Sam hat die Geschichte erfunden, sie des abends am Lagerfeuer erzählt, und irgendwann hat sich die Story verselbständigt und die Kids gehen auf Geisterjagd. Danny McGee ist sozusagen eine Story in der Story.
Ich hoffe, das Buch macht seinen Weg nach Deutschland und wird hier auch übersetzt. Ich fands auf jeden Fall klasse!

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The Ghost of Danny McGee
by Quinlan Grim
My thanks to California Coldblood Books and NetGalley for the ARC. A very good book. The Ghost of Danny McGee is a fantastic YA-type thriller. Rich adults become to camp as children. I did enjoy the concept.

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3.5 stars rounded up.

To start off I would just like to say that I think this would make a really interesting tv show. While I enjoyed reading it for the most part I think what this book was lacking was character insight and motivation due to it only being dual pov and a tv show could really elevate this story and let us know more about the other characters. Because I will say that I found myself gravitating more towards some of the side characters. I wanted to know more about Rosie and Taps and Milly especially but also how Elias and Nick got into the camp and definitely more about Hugo and his story.

One nitpicky thing that I did not enjoy was that the first maybe one third of the story made it out to be some love triangle between Sam and the two brothers but then like that wasnt a big deal at all I don’t know. I kind of wish Sam and Elias were just kept a completey good friends and then like he reacted more to her being with Nick.

Also personal preference I guess but I got some sapphic vibes from Rosie, and also lowkey was wishing for Logan to realise she (also) liked girls and thats why it wasnt working out with Max and why she didnt want to do stuff with Hugo. Not something I obviously expected from the story but like what my gay brain wanted.

There seemed to be underlying conversations waiting to happen surrounding homophobia and racism in the story but like nothing much came of them. One big thing was a discussion on sexual assault but again it was dismissed which like fell in line with some characters but I don’t know I didn’t like how Sam pushed for it to be discussed and then just stopped.

Overall I did like the story, I thought it was really interesting and well written. The ending was complete but I also wish there was more. There definitely needed to be more from the other characters, especially the councillors because it felt like they just disappeared halfway through the book. Rosie was so outspoken at the start and then we got nothing from her, I do think she could have been a good driving force when Sam was bringing up the sexual assault.

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In The Ghost of Danny McGee, there is a summer camp that costs lots of money to attend where adults can transfer their consciousness into the body of a child. When you do this, you do not hold onto any of your adult memories while you’re in the child body. The idea is that you can go back to being a carefree kid at summer camp, escaping the drag of adult life. The camp is staffed by young college students whose entire role is to provide an authentic summer camp experience.

There are ethical issues with the camp: are the kids “real” people? Is this a thinly veiled attempt at cloning? What happens at the end of the summer when you must leave the child body and return to yourself? What happens if the kids start remembering pieces of their “real” life while at camp?

The story follows two perspectives. One is Sam, a camp counselor who has been scouted to move into a more leadership role. The other is Logan, a camper who is attending this summer with her (soon to be ex) husband…they are hoping to save their marriage by “meeting” as children & falling for each other. There is a whole cast of other fascinating characters - namely, another camper named Hugo, who in the adult world is a famous actor about to undergo a trial where he has been accused of a violent murder.

The concept was very Black Mirror meets Never Let Me Go meets campfire ghost story. I found it extremely unique, and loved that the author chose to make it very character driven rather than going in too deep on the science aspect. It is a quietly thoughtful book. I do wish the horror/suspense element was played up a bit more. I also think there were a lot of areas in the plot that could have used more exploration, yet were sorta just brought up without going into depth.

Overall, I loved this book and cannot wait to purchase a physical copy when it comes out.

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I loved the concept for this book when adults are able to download their consciousness into a body representing themselves as a child and go back and re-experience that quintessential American experience of a lakeside summer camp
As a Brit this experience is not so integral to our childhoods but nether the less having watched any number of movies with this setting I didn’t find it hard to imagine .The book is very visual and cinematic and this helps ,I also couldn’t help but imagine the smells of sun block musty kids and lake water
There are some sections that are surprisingly horrifying in a Steven kingesque way.These we’re sometimes difficult to read
I have to admit to finding the ending rather disappointing ,I had jumped far further in my imagining and desired a more complex ending
The prose is well written and easy to read ,I could imagine this book being enjoyed on the nations sun loungers during summer holidays 2023
I read an early copy on NetGalley Uk the book is published in November 2022 and I am sure will sell very well

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In all honesty, this book made me want to turn back in time to be a kid again and experience summer camps again or make use of my age and actually become a camp counselor.

There was something extraordinary about the atmosphere created in the book, it seems so realistic and even though there are descriptions of the areas where the action takes place, they're general enough, so that some of them can be reimagined to fit the pre-existent ideas of camps that some people have.

I really enjoyed the book and the characters, even though some of them were certainly flawed and at some point in the novel I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. Definitely engaging!

There were some times, however, where the book felt messy and the narration shifts didn't help resolve all of that but altogether, it wasn't that much of an issue.

I already told my friends to look out for the book, once it's available to buy.

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If you could relive a childhood summer would you?
That’s exactly what Camp Phenix does for. Your consciousness is transferred into your childhood clone. Just don’t forget about the camp ghost.

Okay, this was a fun book.
You live out the weeks of summer camp from two perspectives, one camper and one councillor.
Knowing who some of the adult characters were before transferring consciousness has you wondering how the summer will turn out.

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This was a fun, thrilling book that deals with childhood consequences and consciences. The writing was brilliant and the setting was unique.

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Camp Phoenix, an ordinary Summer camp where children can experience all that the great outdoors has to offer.

Making new friends, camping, riding ponies, swimming and making memories to last a life time.

The camp maybe ordinary but are it's residents?

For all intents and purposes Logan is a carefree twelve year old girl, in reality she is a clone of a wealthy adult who has paid an obscene amount of money to have her twelve year old consciousness transferred into a clone of her childhood self, to relive a childhood summer again with her husband.

Sam is a camp counsellor in her second year at the camp she's responsible by day looking after and caring for the children by night partying and exploring relationships with the other counsellors.

I finished The Ghost of Danny McGee last week but I wanted to sit with it for a while before adding my thoughts.

I really enjoyed this book, I've been reading a lot of fantasy recently so this book was a nice change of pace. The pacing was slow but enjoyable and I'd liken to a boat ride along a slow moving river with plenty of twists and turns.

You get the duel point of view of Logan (the camper) and Sam (the counsellor) which I thought was great as you got to see the story from the experience of two different people. One knowing about the clones and the programme and one from the point of view of the clone.

Quinlan's writing style was good, as a reader I think it gave space for me to draw my own conclusions to the ethics around the cloning in the book and regarding the clientele they have allowed to use their services.

There was a couple of SA scenes between the 'children' that made me feel uncomfortable, and didn't really add anything to the story for me, so please take this into account before reading the book.

This book stayed with me a while after reading, all in all a solid 4/5 for me enjoyable palette cleanser.

Thank you to Net Galley, Quinlan Grim and California Coldblood Books for the e-arc copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to the publisher and NetGALLEY for an E-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Their place is cabin chore charts and mealtime etiquette and campfire skits. The thorny reality-celebrities, digital consciousness transfers, genetically engineered bodies-has to exist outside of their understanding for the summer to make sense”

Publisher: California Coldblood books

Release date: 15th November 2022

Pages: 362

Representation: black side character, gay male side character.

Trigger warnings: Child death, cloning, murder mention, Sexual assault, bullying, animal death, non-consensual medication administration, memory alteration, alcohol, panic attacks.

Summary: Phoenix summer camp is no different from any of the summer camps across the country-children play, camp out, roast s’mores and sing campfire songs. Oh, except for the fact that every child there isn’t really a child. They’re the consciousness of a group of adults, who pay in the millions to spend one last summer as a care-free kid. Sam is a college kid who’s been invited to work as a camp counsellor for the summer, and she’s struggling to come to terms with the fact that when it ends all these kids will go back to their adult bodies-to their husbands, to their wives, and-in the case of Hugo baker-to being on trial for murder.

At a summer camp like no other, the ghost of Danny McGee will haunt readers in the best way for weeks to come.

I love speculative fiction that poses ethical questions. For fans of black mirror, this book will be a perfect read. The idea and concept behind it is one that I loved, and it was executed very well. It wasn’t perfect- I found a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but not enough that it ruined the story. At points the plot and characters were messy-but in a way it added to the summer camp feel. Kids are messy, camp is messy, and the entire book had the feeling of being sat around a smoky campfire covered in dirt, exhausted and ready for bed.

Sam was an okay character-i didn’t hate her but i didn’t love her. She was well written and realistic, she just didn’t provoke strong feelings in me either way. Weirdly, it wasn’t hard to read her POV despite this. She was doing so much and slowly learning so much that I craved her POV most out of the two offered-the other being a child at the camp.

The plot centred around the existence of the camp, and for all intents and purposes plays through like a normal summer camp would. There’s no high action, just kids being kids-going on adventures and making up ghost stories-but it’s driven by the reality of what the camp is. It makes us face the fact that these kids aren’t just kids-they have lives outside of camp. They’re celebrities, adults, and one of the campers is even an accused murderer. This really shows through in Sam’s POV, as we watch her struggle to wrap her head around the idea of it all. I loved watching her try to treat them as children, even though she knew the truth. If I gave you a child to babysit, and you knew they were going to grow up to kill people, how would you handle it?

I would have loved more exploration about what happened after camp-especially Linda-one of the POV’s-reaction to the things she did over the summer. It would have added an extra layer of depth and furthered the ethical questioning, but I think the point was that the book ends when the summer does. There is no world outside of camp. It worked well at driving this point across.

Its shining glory: The concept carried this book an astonishing amount. It draws you in, and you want-no, need-to know how it ends. What’s really going on? Days later, and I’m still thinking about it.

Its fatal flaw: The pacing isn’t ideal. At times it feels chaotic and like a video on fast-forward, yet at the same time like nothing much happens.

Read this if: You love speculative fiction, and books that offer ethical questions wrapped in summer fun. You don’t mind writing that isn’t perfect, because the plot can carry the story.

Skip this if: You like fiction that draws a clear line between right and wrong and shows it. You don’t like Dual POV. You like books that have a clear beginning, middle and end and wrap a conclusion up with a bow.

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3.5 stars.

I'm a huge fan of Black Mirror, so I was really intrigued by the concept of this one - an expensive summer camp for adults to relive their childhoods, but in a way that is darker than you might expect. I found that, for the most part, this idea was executed really well! There was a darker underlying sense of mystery and tension that made me fly through this book, but it was also interesting to read about the cast of characters. I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between them, particularly considering their adult lives outside the camp.

Whilst I liked the majority of this book, I was disappointed by the quick ending. It felt like the rest of the book had been building up to something bigger, especially with the relationships between the characters, so the ending did feel a little rushed. I think this was largely because the blurb teases a question about the characters' fates after camp which, to me, wasn't answered as well as it could've been.

Overall, this book had a super unique premise and a cast of interesting characters that made for a fun and enjoyable read.

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I was very interested in this story because it gave me major Black Mirror vibes. The book is very unpredictable, and I didn't know what to expect which left me hooked. Fast paced and entertaining, the story is a little over 500 pages, but it didn't feel like it was that long. Things moved pretty quickly.

Set in a summer camp, adults can pay to have their conscious put into a child clone to leave their worries behind for a summer of carefree fun. We switch between two perspectives, Sam, a camp counselor and Logan, a camper who is attending with her husband in hopes to save her marriage. The camp has a ton of other characters including a famous actor wanted for murder.

I loved the cast of characters and the sci fi aspects throughout the story. This story is very character driven and I do wish there was some more suspense, but I enjoyed the story.

I highly recommend this story for readers who enjoy getting attached to a cast of characters and sci fi vibes.

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The Ghost of Danny McGee by Quinlan Grim was a wild ride. Camp Phoenix might be high-priced and highly exclusive for a kids’ summer camp, but it’s for good reason! The super rich can have their consciousness transferred from their adult body into a child version of themselves (with no memory of their adult life) and have a carefree summer camp experience.

Immediately I was intrigued by the concept of the book, as I’ve never read anything with the same storyline. It was eerie and fascinating and had me hooked from page one. It took me a while to realize why the characters that were narrating were doing so. To me, they didn’t feel like main characters from the beginning, but they step into those roles as the story progresses, and having a slightly unreliable/out of "the know" POV is a nice touch. Reading from the point of view of a camper and a counselor meant finding out things about this mysterious place alongside them, which was exciting and suspenseful.

The story is a little slow-moving, but it kept me invested in the characters and interested in what would happen next all throughout. In the end, I think I was already ready to hear about the announcement of a sequel to this book. I’m curious to learn the fate of these characters past the final page.

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I loved this novel. It was fun and interesting. Barley anything wrong with this novel. The issues were minimum so I don't have to complain. This is an author who has talent.

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Fresh idea that was completely unique backed up by some great writing.

I really enjoyed this book and think it would be popular with anyone willing to take a chance. Either a beach read or a cosy curl up one.

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Is this novel a coming of age story, a love triangle story, a misuse of science story, a ghost story, or a psychological thriller? It is all of these and none. Sam, not quite 21, is the obvious coming-of-age character, now heading off to be a councillor at a Summer Camp for kids: Camp Phoenix. However, kids come in many ages and each step up that ladder can be just as much of an upheaval, so there are many coming-of-age incidents. Logan and her husband, Max, form two corners of the triangle and Hugo is the third. In the real world the couple would probably never have met him, but for them this isn’t the real world. A genetic and neurological scientific breakthrough (presented as a given and otherwise unexplained) has created a business opportunity. For a huge price, it is possible for a person to be put in suspended animation while their consciousness is transferred into a cloned version of their younger self, age selected by the customer but roughly seven to fourteen, and for the child to then spend eleven weeks in Camp Phoenix. Ethical considerations, especially around the fate of the clones after the summer is over, are an undercurrent to the councillors lives, but the kids don’t know they are clones and behave like kids. Pubertal and young teens therefore form liaisons based on their experience at Camp, hence the love triangle. “The ghost of Danny McGee” is a tale told by the councillors, of a previous camper who died tragically. It may not be true, but perhaps it is, and in any case kids have vivid imaginations and a propensity to embellish. Perhaps it most obviously sits as a psychological thriller, spinning around the four elements, joyful but always on the edge of tragedy.
The story is told by the two main protagonists, Sam and Logan, each relating events in their own lives and those of the people they interact with. Inevitably the majority of those people are children and the writing is particularly good from that perspective, but is also excellent on the councillors, who are late teens or early twenties and chosen specifically for that reason. Older characters, there aren’t many, are solid but in some ways less believable. Overall it is an allegory, but I suspect different readers will have different interpretations as to the nature of that. Although it has some flaws, it is just too original and too well plotted to get less than 5 stars.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.

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I really enjoyed this book and read it in a few sittings. As another reviewer pointed out, it is similar in concept to Black Mirror crossed with Never Let Me Go/The Unit/The Island, plus a bit of suspense, camp-fire ghost story and dystopian science-fiction thrown in.

Without giving too much away, it is set in a summer camp where rich adults can consciously inhabit the body of a child, to once again to become carefree or to recreate or manipulate childhood experiences and events, in order to affect the future.

I’ve never read a book quite like it, and enjoyed the dystopian context and ethical question raised. The characters are not particularly likeable, but this really does not stop you from gunning for them as the story develops. There were a few red herrings initially and some intrigue around a few of the wider camp characters, in terms of who was ‘real’ and who were the people manipulating in the background. I was a bit disappointed that these strands weren’t developed further, as felt that a number of loose ends weren’t tied up.

A number of the characters were fairly one-dimensional, more potential twists alluded to at certain points would have raised the book to 5*, and the ending felt a bit incomplete and rushed. However, there was still an awful lot of thought put into the premise and I found it very entertaining. If much more had been squeezed in then I think that it would have made the novel too long.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and California Coldblood Books for providing an early copy of this book to read and review. I am looking for to the author’s next offering!

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I was attracted to this book by the premise: a summer camp for rich old people, temporarily transferred into custom-built child bodies. There were so many angles the author could explore when it comes to the personal, social and ethical implications of that, so many ‘what if’s. Where would she take it, I wondered?

In the first few chapters, I was afraid that Grim was going to try and pull off too much. While there’s only two POV characters we were introduced to a whole host of campers, counsellors and management early on, many of them with their own plot threads. This meant it took me quite a few chapters to settle into the story, but I was so intrigued by each of the questions introduced (What if you could meet your partner’s inner child? Is a murderer’s childhood self still responsible for his crimes? ) that I couldn’t help but read on.

In the end I loved it! I think what won me over was the atmosphere that Grim created. The whole thing was suffused with a gorgeous nostalgic dreaminess, but with an undercurrent of menace that the stories of ‘Danny McGee’ come to symbolise. Both of these feed into a sense of unreality that has even Sam, who believes she knows what is going on behind the scenes, questioning if she herself is ‘real’. I enjoyed her sections, although I didn’t bond with her quite as much as Logan, whose awkward pre-teen struggles were very relatable. The plot threads all wound nicely together towards the conclusion, and I thought the final chapters hit the right notes. All in all I would definitely recommend, and I will look out for more books from Grim.

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So the synopsis of this is what really drew me in to want to read this book :Camp Phoenix is a controversial and expensive summer camp program that transfers adults’ consciousness into a clone of their childhood selves. On the surface, it’s an ordinary summer camp. Twelve-year-old Logan has come to have a relaxing, carefree summer. Sam is a twenty-year-old counsellor, taking on the responsibility of the kids’ care by day, and riding the rollercoaster of a summer romance after hours.

As Logan faces the ups and downs of puberty, Sam watches over her and struggles with the bizarre truth: the campers in her care are not kids at all, but wealthy adults immersed in the ultimate escape from reality.

What Logan can't seem to remember is that at the end of the summer, she and her friends will all have to return to their grown-up bodies. Logan will again be a successful, middle-aged woman, and the popular boy she has a crush on? He will return to his life as a celebrity suspect at the centre of a high-profile murder case.

This gave me major Black Mirror vibes and is such a gripping and intriguing read!

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Quite an astonishing premise, well executed and moves along at a cracking pace. It would have been nice to know a little more about the characters background but, all in all, an enjoyable read.

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Interesting premise and plot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Camp Phoenix is a unique camp, it allows adults to relive their childhood years, but it's not a camp for adults.

Adults are but into a type of suspended hibernation while their minds are put into the bodies of created children for the summer with no memory of their adult self - after the summer the adults wake up and they have the memories of the summer.

For this summer we follow a few campers, a couple on the brink of divorce who want to see if they connect as their younger selves in a last chance to save their marriage. A famous singer and a famous film producer accused of murder, as well as some of the camp counsellors.

The story alternates chapters between Logan a child, who as an adult is the wife of the couple, and Sam a counsellor who is on her second stint at the camp and is learning more as she's being promoted.

I love this style of book and it works particularly well her as you get the adult and the child version of events.

The titular Danny McGee isn't a character in the book but a character created by Sam to use in stories about the camp, and the other counsellors use it and it develops and grows and the imagination of the children take it even further, which serves as a catalyst for the climax of the summer.

I enjoyed this book a lot and it's very reminiscent of a Black Mirror episode, I read it over two sittings and if I'd started earlier I would've got through it in a day. It was really well written and the switch between the characters and their style made sure that you never lost track of who was telling the chapter. I really wish that it had told us more about what happened to the characters after the summer, there is a brief wrap up in the last couple of chapters but there was a lot more that I would've liked to know.

I will definitely look out for more books from Quinlan Grim.

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A coming of age meets American summer camp story with an intriguing twist, namely that the campers aren't quite what they seem.

Told from the viewpoints of Sam, one of the camp counsellors, back working at Camp Phoenix for another year, catching up with old friends and assuming new responsibilities and Logan, one of the preteen campers, finding her way in the world.

Full of twists, turns and the essential campfire ghost story, this a great light hearted read which will also leave you thinking.

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The Ghost of Danny McGee follows two different characters one summer at Camp Phoenix: Logan and Sam. Camp Phoenix is not your typical children's summer camp; this camp allows adults to transfer their consciousness into clones of their former, younger self to experience childhood all over again for one summer. Logan is one of the clients/campers, and Sam is one of the older camp counselors. We follow these two and a larger cast of campers and counselors throughout the ups and downs of the summer in the wilderness.

I really enjoyed this read. First, the atmosphere of a summer camp was very nostalgic and Grim's descriptions made it feel as if I was there with the Sam, Logan, Max, and Hugo. While I thought the plot was a bit predictable at points, overall I didn't know where this trail was leading me; it made me not want to put it down. Second, I appreciated how the author tackled some serious topics such as sexual assault and homophobia. The inclusion of this tougher subject matter manifested a lot of interesting questions about morality, ignorance, and whistle-blowing.

With the exception of a few minor spelling errors and some ingenuine dialogue, The Ghost of Danny McGee was a really interesting twist on sci-fi. I would recommend to anyone interested in summer camp settings, loose sci-fi plotlines, and thriller excitement.

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I really wanted to enjoy this. The premise sounded really intriguing, I’m a huge sci-fi fan so I’m already familiar with the concept the story is discussing.
The idea of transferring a persons conscious self. The ethics surrounding it and the fact that people genuinely discussed this idea on a daily basis.
However, although the story itself was good, it could have used a little more depth on the characters and a quicker pace to the story itself.
I think those little things would make a huge difference to the overall reading experience.
After finishing the book, I thought about it. And that’s a bonus. When books stay with you and continue to make you question things, that clearly shows there’s something to it.
So yes, I would recommend this to others.
Thank you to the author the publisher and Netgalley for my arc,

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I had a lot of fun with this book. I think it was decently written and found it believable. The premise was intriguing and I like that the novel didn't try to solve all of the issues, but rather focused on the stories of the main characters. It made it a great balance between fun summer ya and sf dystopian speculative fiction. I'm sure I'll be thinking about it in the next weeks.

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A reallly different expeirence. I really liked the book. The story was well written. Loved the characters. I would definitely recommend this book. A must read.

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Kirkus Reviews stated that this will appeal to fans of Black Mirror, and I definitely agree. The colourful, bright cover art covers a darkness hidden underneath. Logan and Sam are the two main characters, and the book mostly follows their perspectives. Logan is one of the children within camp. She entered with her husband, also now a child for the summer—they are sent in as individuals to reignite their love—but finds herself drawn to a different camper, who just so happens to be the suspect in a high-profile murder case. Sam is one of the counsellors, struggling with her morals and slowly finding out heavier and darker secrets as time goes on. Being able to follow the story through their perspectives was an excellent tool in showing the contrast between someone who knows what’s going on and often struggles with the idea and someone who makes it very easy to forget she isn’t just a child.

I definitely would have liked a bit more backstory on the characters, as I did find myself getting lost among them at times and I never really got a picture in my head of the majority of them. At the same time, I think the book could have been shortened in other ways, some parts feeling a bit like filler. There was a lot of potential to dig deeper at darker elements, which were often just swept away and quickly forgotten, although frustratingly stayed with me, wanting some resolution. But the idea behind this story is clever, the characters realistic and I found the book harder to put down the further along I reached.

Thank you to NetGalley, Quinlan Grim and California Coldblood Books for this DRC in exchange for an honest review.

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