Saturday, June 6, 2020

Book Review: "Camp" by L.C. Rosen

Should you go changing to try and please someone else? That question is at the core of Camp, a new YA novel from L.C. Rosen (aka Lev Rosen).

This is an adorable yet thought-provoking look at gender and sexual identity and the prejudices and misconceptions that exist even among LBGTQ+ people at times. It’s also a powerful statement about loving yourself for who you are.

Ever since he was 12, Randy has loved to go to Camp Outland each summer. A camp for queer teens, it gives him and his friends the opportunity to be their authentic selves—whether that’s competing for a role in the summer musical or playing sports, painting their nails and wearing whatever they’d like, and even hooking up with their crushes.

Randy has had a serious crush on Hudson, the dreamiest camper, for years. But Hudson only likes masculine-acting bros, and drama- and nail polish-loving Randy doesn’t fit the bill. Plus Hudson usually hooks up with guys and leaves them quickly thereafter, but Randy is determined to have an LTR with him.

So this summer, now that’s he’s 16, Randy has decided to change things up. He’s shaved his head, bulked up, and is calling himself “Del.” He’s giving up drama, nail polish, and all of the things he’s loved about camp, but he believes that if he can get Hudson to fall for him, it will all be worth it. His friends go along even if they don't agree with his plan.

But as they grow closer, Randy wonders just how much he needs to change for love. Is their relationship even as solid as he hopes it is if he has to lie about who he is? And why is Hudson so insistent only on "masc4masc"?

This was an adorable book that raised some weighty issues. Boy, do I wish that a camp like this existed when I was a teenager! I thought the story dragged a little bit, but I really enjoyed it and it made me think.

Another enjoyable book for my month of Pride Reads!

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