Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review: Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock

Title: Camp Boyfriend (Camp Boyfriend #1)
Author: J.K. Rock
Release date: July 2nd 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eBook
Pages: 339

The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?

I know I'm pretty late in reading this, but better late than never, right? Anyway, Camp Boyfriend is a fun YA summer read, and I liked the lightness throughout. No heavy stuff like in most contemporaries, which I think is great because there are too many of those. This is actually the first book I've read that's centred on a summer camp, so I found that aspect pretty intriguing.

If you remember Lauren from Camp Kiss, the prequel novella, you won't recognize her in this at all. Lauren's made her way up the high school popularity ladder, and is now a cheerleader and dating a jock, a.k.a. Matt. But Seth will always be her camp boyfriend. Until Matt decides to come with her to Camp Juniper Point this time, and things get a lot more complicated. Lauren's feelings are torn, and she doesn't want to hurt either of the boys. Plus, her camp friends aren't looking too pleased about the change in her. Lauren has to figure out who she is before she ends up pushing everyone away.

Firstly I have to say that this is definitely more for lower YA than upper. It's actually quite juvenile. What I didn't like is that even though these characters are going to be high school juniors soon, they act like they're in middle school. There was this one point where Lauren believes that Seth not playing Dungeons & Dragons with the other guys shows he's really hurting. But maybe I just think it's a little childish because for the first time I'm actually a couple years older than the YA characters I'm reading about, and it's getting a little weird for me, since I'm used to reading about characters older than me or at least the same age. But I can't deny that there is quite a bit of pettiness and middle school-like drama in this book.

I really liked Lauren in Camp Kiss, but like I said, almost unrecognizable in this. I do admire her courage for being who she wants to be and not caring what other people think. But I just couldn't see that adorkable science geek as a cheerleader. Plus I didn't like how most of her thoughts were just centred around Matt and Seth. Just enjoy camp, girl!

I'm not a fan of love triangles in books unless I know for sure which one I'm rooting for. In this case though, I couldn't pick. And not because they were both equally amazing, but because I couldn't connect with either of them. Also, I think the plot was a little too focused on the love triangle. We don't get to find out much about Matt, and we realize that even Lauren barely knows the guy. As for Seth, he's pretty different from the one we met in Camp Kiss. The jealousy overtaking the two guys got on my nerves a little. But I was glad to see that Seth still cares deeply for Lauren, and there are some really romantic moments between them. And between Matt and Lauren too.

Some of the secondary characters are really interesting in this book - I love how different they all are from each other. Lauren's cabin mates are great, and I especially loved Jackie, this tough chick who could beat up guys bigger than her. Alex, Lauren's best friend, is still there too, and I was especially happy when I found out the next book, Camp Payback, is about her! I really can't wait for that.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, though I'd recommend it more to the younger teens out there. Also, if you've ever actually gone to summer camp (which I haven't), I'm sure this would be great for reminiscing! Camp Boyfriend is about self-discovery mostly, and I liked going along with Lauren on her journey. She does make a choice in the end, but of course you'll have to read the book to find out who!

Rating: 3/5

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