Camp was an entertaining, colourful and important book about pride, love and toxic masculinity in the gay community. It was a story of making mistakes and learning from them to become better people, it was full of teenagers who were proudly gay, who didn’t let it define them, who found romance and friendship and acceptance at Camp Outland. Camp was part pure queer fun, part angst and part important discussion.
Camp was fun and easy to read, with a casual writing style. I loved the atmosphere of Camp Outland, and I would love to go there. The Camp was a really great backdrop for the story that allowed all of the characters to be LGBTQ+. Not a cishet in for 95% of the book, and it was wonderful. There was a diverse range of LGBTQ+ characters which was great as even if they’re small, it’s always great for every reader to have someone they can emphasise and relate to! The Camp was just so colourful, enjoyable and lighthearted, adding a lot of fun to the story.
Randy was a layered and real character, with flaws and traits that made him relatable and 3d. He did annoy me just a little at first, I could emphasise with him but he was also frustrating. However, this was part of his character arc and by the end of the book I really liked him and so this wasn’t a problem.
I really liked the secondary characters, especially my girl Ashleigh, probably just cause she’s a sapphic :). They were all full of personality and supportive of Randy and his endeavours, though not afraid to tell him when he went too far. I think his friends really contributed to his positive character arc.
A central topic in Camp is that of toxic masculinity in the gay community. The love interest, Hudson, often projects toxic masculinity and Randy must change himself to win his attention. At first, this aspect was quite uncomfortable, and I was just glad I knew it would get deconstructed. I didn’t love Hudson but really hoped he got better – when he was vulnerable he seemed really nice and his affection for Randy was clear. I really liked both Randy and Hudson’s character arcs and the theme of learning from your mistakes – they both made them, Randy by lying to Hudson and Hudson in his toxic masculinity, but they both acknowledged and explained this and became better people for it.
The storyline was full of tension and I was kept on the edge of my seat as I waited for the truth to come out!
Camp was a story of romance and learning from our mistakes, against a backdrop of fierce and unapologetic queerness and friendship full of laughs, angst and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved everything it stood for, as well as how it allowed gay people to be the centre of the story, with their own romance, drama and flaws.