Review: Just a Boy and a Girl in a Canoe (I See London, I See France #2)

Title: Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster.

That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside down. Gavin may have gotten the job just for his abs. Or that smile. Or the way he fills Sam’s free time with thrilling encounters—swimming under a cascade of stars, whispering secrets over s’mores, embarking on one (very precarious) canoe ride after dark.

It’s absurd. After all, Sam loves Eli. But one totally absurd, completely off-the-wall summer may be just what Sam needs. And maybe, just maybe, it will teach her something about what she really wants.


Samantha and Eli are spending their summer apart, after their freshman year at NYU. He is going backpacking through Europe with his cousin and she is going to work as a counselor at a summer camp that she went to as a kid. They can’t communicate very much because she doesn’t have good cell reception at the camp. Right away, Sam notices a boy from the camp who was there when she went before. Gavin is now the hot sailing instructor. As the summer goes on, Sam starts to wonder if it would really be that bad if she should have a summer fling with Gavin, since Eli is probably having his own fun with girls in Europe.

This book is a sequel to I See London, I See France. It isn’t about the same characters, but some minor characters make an appearance. That book was about girls who backpacked across Europe. They met Eli and Gavin’s girlfriend, Kat. I wasn’t sure how much these books would be connected because it’s been a couple of years since I read I See London, I See France. They could each be read as stand-alone novels. However, since they are connected and happening simultaneously, they may contain spoilers for either book.

This book was actually pretty funny. Sam’s campers in her bunk were young kids, around 7 or 8 years old. They said some funny things when they had no filter. I think this is a great book for right now, since many summer camps will be cancelled. This story can fill that gap in the summer, so we can still read about summer camps. Though there were kids in this book, the audience should be in their late teens, not children. It’s an older young adult, or new adult, book.

I saw some negative reviews for this book for the theme of cheating in the book. What Sam does when she wants a fling with Gavin is wrong, and she acknowledges it. She had a boyfriend, so she shouldn’t have been interested in another boy. At the same time, she’s a teenager, and everyone makes mistakes. It would be unrealistic to say this would never happen. I don’t think this book is condoning that kind of behavior because it is a fiction story, not a how-to book.

I really enjoyed this summer camp story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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