Author: Lev A.C. Rosen
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Romcom, LGBTQ+, Queer rep
Content Warnings: Toxic masculinity, internal homophobia, explicit/graphic sex scenes
Publication date: May 26, 2020
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?
Hello book nerds! It’s my stop for the Camp Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Today, I’m going to share my thoughts on Camp, and share my own dream cast for the book!
Camp is a wonderfully queer YA novel that will teach us not only how to be ourselves, but also to never let anyone’s prejudice define us. And also to kick toxic masculinity to the curb!
My thoughts on Camp
First of all, Camp was funny and so wonderfully queer that I want to hold the physical copy in my hand and just hold it.
The writing was good; it was light-hearted and funny, and was able to give the reader a personal connection to the main character. I have to say though, I struggled to like Randy, especially in the early parts of the book. There were so many things wrong with his “I’m-going-to-change-myself-and-make-Hudson-fall-in-love-plan”, and more often than not I wanted to shake him and tell him, “No, you don’t need to do this!“. I also didn’t like that he seemed to have forgotten about his friends in the midst of going with this plan. I was really rooting for him to get that character development. And he did, mostly. While Randy achieved character development, I still feel like it lacked. I was waiting for him to acknowledge some of his own faults/wrongdoings, but it didn’t exactly meet my expectations.
I did love the other characters, though: George, Ashleigh, Paz, even Brad! I’ve been wary about Hudson since the first page
(he likes only “straight-acting” guys, and I’m just appalled), but I did get to know him at the end of the book and he achieved character development, which was really nice.
Despite a few shortcomings, I loved the core message that Camp was trying to send to the readers. At the very heart of this book is the idea that we should not hide our true selves and succumb to the faulty logic of those who are narrow-minded. This particularly applies to those who think masculine gay guys are better than those who are gender nonconforming. This toxic masculinity is so much more harmful than we realize, and I’m so glad the author chose to tackle this in the book, and in Randy and Hudson’s story.
I also loved all the discussions about sexuality and the freedom of being queer depicted in the book. In a way, I felt like one of the characters, like I was at Camp Outland as well, and I could simply be me.
Overall, Camp was such a great read and it’s such a necessary book tackling necessary issues within the community.
My dream Cast for Camp
Here is my dream cast for Camp! Which actually just makes me more excited, because, y’all, Camp is heading to HBO Max! How cool is that?!
George Shelley as Randy/Del
Daniel Henney as Hudson
(I’m thinking of a much younger Daniel Henney, of course.)
Avan Jogia as George
Rowan Blanchard as Ashleigh
Amandla Stenberg as Paz
Camp Buy Links + Promotion
Join the virtual launch on May 27th! Click the banner to register.
About the Author
Lev Rosen is the author of books for all ages. Two for adults: All Men of Genius (Amazon Best of the Month, Audie Award Finalist) and Depth (Amazon Best of the Year, Shamus Award Finalist, Kirkus Best Science Fiction for April). Two middle-grade books: Woundabout (illustrated by his brother, Ellis Rosen), and The Memory Wall. His first Young Adult Novel, Jack of Hearts (and other parts) was an American Library Association Rainbow List Top 10 of 2018. His books have been sold around the world and translated into different languages as well as being featured on many best of the year lists, and nominated for awards.
Lev is originally from lower Manhattan and now lives in even lower Manhattan,
right at the edge, with his husband and very small cat. You can find him online at
LevACRosen.com and @LevACRosen
See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, or dream casts from other bloggers included in Camp blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!
Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of CAMP by Lev A. C. Rosen (US Only)
Starts: 20th May 2020
Ends: 3rd June 2020
Get another chance to win a copy of Camp! Join the Instagram giveaway here!