YA Review: Camp

Title: Camp
Author: L. C. Rosen
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

The second YA novel from the author of Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is another sex-positive story of LBGTQ+ teens as they negotiate life, love, and sex for the first time. Randy has been attending Camp Outland every summer for years. It’s the only place where he can be entirely himself alongside his best friends, and he loves performing in each year’s musical production.

But Randy has a problem. He’s fallen for the gorgeous Hudson, but Hudson only has eyes for straight-acting boys. Randy reinvents himself as Del, choses the sports option instead of musical theatre, and sets out to make Hudson fall for him. It’s a daring plan, and Randy’s friends are worried when they see him pretending to be someone he’s not.

In spite of all Randy’s efforts, secrets, and heartbreak, this is a feel-good novel. His relationship with his friends is just as important as his relationship with Hudson, and they are a supportive and inclusive group. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, nonbinary, and asexual teens work alongside each other to create theatrical productions, sporting events, and memories. They look out for each other, and look after each other, no matter who they are and how they present themselves to the world. Randy is a sympathetic protagonist, and the supporting characters are well drawn, believable, and distinctive.

The book tackles issues of identity, authenticity, and self-discovery in unexpected ways. It champions self-expression and finding out who you are, while sounding a note of caution about looking after yourself in the real world. Not everyone has a supportive family away from Camp Outland, and not everything that happens at camp can happen safely at home. Like Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), this is an inspiring story with an important message about tolerance and expression – for LBGTQ+ teens, and for everyone else.

Have you read Camp? What did you think of the story? Did Randy/Del do the right thing? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.

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