As a contemporary lover, I knew I needed to read Camp once I read about it releasing! Camp has been out in the world since Tuesday and just in time for the start of pride month! Believe me, you want to read this book and it’s the perfect summer read!
A big thank you to the author and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an e-arc on Netgalley to read and review.
From the author of the acclaimed Jack of Hearts (and other parts) comes a sweet and sharp screwball comedy that critiques the culture of toxic masculinity within the queer community.
Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
Camp was a book that I picked up and just couldn’t put down. This book really hit me in all the feels and the author wrote this in a way that had me caring for all of these characters. I needed all of them to have a fun and happy summer! Let’s just start off by saying that the setting in this book is amazing. A queer camp. Four weeks where everyone is queer and that’s celebrated. Everybody can be who they are in a safe place without being judged. This camp needs to exist!
I really think Camp is the perfect summer read. Not only because it takes place during the summer, but it’s a fast read you just can’t put down. Our main character Randy has decided that this year is time for him to capture Hudson’s heart (who he’s had a crush on the past few summers). He has everything planned out. During the past year he’s lost some weight, gained some muscles, cut his hair and is now “Del”. Hudson only likes masc boys, so he thinks if he falls in love with him, he’ll be okay with Randy going back to being himself.
If you’ve ever read a contemporary, you know this is just waiting to go wrong. And it does. The journey there though was so interesting to read. Del and Hudson have a fun few weeks and I really enjoyed them opening up to each other. Not only them falling in love, but also finding themselves. In the world these days there are so many stereotypes out there that these teenagers deal with. On top of that, I loved how sex positive this YA book was. They promoted safe sex, emotions, lust, etc. Also for a YA book this was definitely rather detailed, but not too much.
I think Hudson and Randy both have a really interesting summer that helps them both in many ways. It’s so hard to hear Hudson having parents that say they accept him, but don’t show that at all. So much so, he doesn’t feel safe being himself. Camp really talks about these subjects in such a good and caring way. I have so much to say about this book, but I just really think it needs to be read.
On top of a romance that puts a smile on your face, some camp drama, lots of fun activities and a theater show that sounds like so much fun to participate in, Camp has an amazing set of diverse side characters. I loved all the rep in this book and the characters were so much fun. Besides the main characters, George was my favorite and I wouldn’t mind him getting a book! There were a lot of interesting side stories that fit this book perfectly.
I really think all teenagers need to read this book. Every subject this book talks about is something that should be understood by every teenager. We’re in a world that still has too many stereotypes. Everyone should be accepted no matter what their sexuality or skin color may be. All I know is that this won’t be the last book I read by this author. L.C. Rosen is on my author to watch list!
All in all, Camp was an amazing read and approaches subjects that are really important. I love the way L.C. Rosen handled them all. After reading this book, I think I need to pick up Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) really soon!