Ever since reading the prequel to this novel, Camp Kiss*, I have been eagerly awaiting the release ofCamp Boyfriend. I enjoyed the writing style of J.K. Rock in the short taster, as well as their storytelling ability, so I already suspected Camp Boyfriend wouldn’t leave me disappointed.
And it didn’t.
Sure, the opening couple of chapters leading up to camp were a little slow—but they were only 2 chapters, and I think they might have seemed as such due to my having read the prequel and wanting Lauren to be in camp already!!!! And, as anticipated, the moment she arrives in camp, things start to get interesting.
Now, I’m not going to dive into a description of what happens and my thoughts on it all, because of spoilers. I will, however, try to explain how this book made me feel, whilst giving as few details as possible.
If you read the blurb, then you’ll know there is going to be some kind of love triangle happening in this read. No sense in hiding it or trying to trick you into thinking otherwise. And the love triangle side of the story brought forth a whole lot of frustration, and confusing, and irritation, and quite possibly anger. Because BOTH of the guys in question seemed to want Lauren equally as much, and if I’d been asked at the beginning of the novel, my cheerleading would have swung in an obvious (to me) direction. However, the character development that occurs for one of the males, and maybe even the occasionally surprising behaviour of the other guy, had me questioning my thoughts and feelings quite a lot—and if I, as the reader, was feeling indecisive and confused, then the MC must have been pumping those emotions out from the pages pretty strongly, right? On top of that, though, which led to the irritation and anger, these dudes, in their attempts to be the one to grab her attention, were sometimes very forthright or vibrant (sorry, the word I’m going for is eluding me) in their perseverance, almost to the point I started yelling in my head, “FOR PETE’S SAKE, GET OUT OF HER FACE, ALREADY!!!!!“, as well as being on the verge of shaking my book.
Now, this might sound like a bad thing. But it isn’t. Because I LOVE a book that gets a great reaction from me due to the content of the story. And Camp Boyfriend definitely achieved that.
Now, with the ‘love triangle’ mentions out of the way, let me go on to say: Camp Boyfriend is about SO much more than this. Trust me. It’s about friendship, forgiveness, break-ups & make-ups, young love, self-development, sexual awareness (but on a pretty subtle level, so it’s safe for the younger teens to read, too), kindness, bonding, and most importantly: self-discovery. Who’d have thought there’d be so many lessons to be learned within these pages? I don’t know if the authors’ teaching connections played a huge part in their ability to connect with the heart and soul of young adults whilst delivering valuable advice in a beautiful package, or if this duo team of lady writers are just this good anyway, but this book is GREAT for any teenager out there to read, and as I’m at the ripe of age of nearing the top of the hill, I’d have to say for most adults out there, too.
Though, those break-ups & make-ups I mentioned? Yeah, those are some of the most frustrating parts of the book—equally as frustrating as the love triangle deal—because I wanted to grab Lauren’s friends and bang their freakin’ heads together. It shows great strength of character on Lauren’s behalf that she still cared enough about them to go to the lengths she did at the end.
And then, right at the very end—and trust me, the authors make the reader wait until the last possible moment to show us Lauren’s ‘decision’—I was left surprised. But not in a bad way, because whilst I spent the entire book unable to ‘call it’, I still suspected she’d swing a certain way. I also spent most of the book believing I’d be disappointed if Lauren swung the way she ended up doing so, but oddly, I wasn’t—and I came to realise that it’s because BOTH guys are great choices, which was what added to the frustration of the book, and the entire way throughout, the decision seemed an impossible one to me even. And yep, I knew I wasn’t disappointed in the direction it—Lauren—took when I had some tears in my eyes through that final scene.
This is such a GREAT, WHOLESOME YA book, with a fantastic setting that is brought so vividly to live that even a UKer, with no concept of US summer camps outside of Disney films, can fully grasp and ‘experience’ it alongside these characters. If you’re going to read this one, prepare to be frustrated and confused and sad, and mad, and if you’re anything like me, totally blindsided by the ending.
*Although Camp Kiss isn’t imperative reading for this novel, I highly recommend checking it out prior to starting Camp Boyfriend. Mostly because, as Lauren and Seth don’t actually get as much ‘personal airtime’ as I expected, the readers of only Camp Boyfriend *might* not fully understand just how important her relationship with him is. Reading Camp Kiss will easily solve that issue, as well as introduce you to the cool writing abilities of this authoring duo and make you want to read Camp Boyfriend all the more—just like it did for me.