Camp - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Annotated edition
  • Published : 25 May 2021
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 0316537772
  • ISBN-13 : 9780316537773
  • Language : English


A Lambda Award Finalist, A Today Show Best Book, A Forbes Best Book, and an ALA Rainbow List Top Ten selection

Set in a summer camp, this sweet and sharp screwball comedy set in a summer camp for queer teens examines the nature of toxic masculinity and self-acceptance.

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, however, 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?

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Camp:

Lambda Award Finalist for Best YA Novel
A Today Show Best Book of 2020
A Forbes Best Book of 2020
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020
A Booklist Editor's Choice Books for Youth 2020
An Elle Best Book of 2020
ALA Rainbow List Top Ten
Alma's Best YA novel of the Year
A Bookcrushin Favorite Book of 2020
A United by Pop Best YA of 2020
An Overdrive Best Book of 2020

Readers Top Reviews

Oliviasappho's libra
I really enjoyed this book, it was sweet and full of gay pride and I loved it all so much. We follow Randy, who goes as Dell for a lot of the book, who has decided that in order to get the attention of Hudson (the camp palyboy) he needs to become much more masculine. We see how he tries to pull this off and balance this with his love for musical theatre and everything that used to be him. Of course, changing yourself for a guy that you want is questionable but it ends up being is cute and changing both of them for the better. I loved the characters of Randy and Hudson so much and omg the ending was too cute for my brain to handle lol. I also loved al of Randy's friends and I want to meet George so he can paint my nails and teach me how to use a fan sassily lol. I just love them all so much and I think that the setting of the camp was wonderful too. The plot, as I have said is slightly questionable but omg is it an absolute delight to read all of the ups and down of the relationship between Randy and Hudson and watch as they both develop because of it. I also loved that the finish was all about the show because I am a massive musical theatre fan and it just made me very happy. I just loved watching the characters do camp activities and work on a musical whilst being free to be themselves and happy. Plus, relationship drama always makes me happy. I just loved it all so much!!
Louise @foxesfairyta
Okay, I need to preface this by saying: I don’t read an awful lot of contemporary YA so when I like one it means it’s really, really good. Once the things I loved most about Camp, is the cast of characters. There are so many queer characters here. We get to see different ethnicities and orientations, different gender presentations, different personality types, different outlooks, and different interests. And all of the characters are presented as valid, well-rounded, well-developed individuals. There’s no ‘straight best friends’ or ‘the only gay in town’ syndrome and, honestly, it was so refreshingly realistic. Even though they were all so very different, I don’t think there was a single character I disliked, they all won we over completely in their own ways. All of that aside, I picked up Camp thinking it would be some light, fluffy, summer read. And it is, but it’s also one of the best books I’ve read this year. The writing is brilliantly readable and effortless, and the pacing is fast-moving without sacrificing character moments and development. It’s in turns relatable, heart-warming, and hysterically funny. Camp completely drew me in and I really felt like I was visiting the camp, that I was friends with these characters, and invested in their happiness. I so happy this book existed and I hope everyone will give it a try. I’m so excited to see the eventual adaptation and hope it becomes a cult hit. Please, if you’re even a little intrigued, go read Camp as soon as you can.
Caesar H.
Camp by L.C. Rosen should be canon for every queer person that wants to live Pride at its maximum. Every time I think about “toxic masculinity”, I cannot help to remember Candace Owens, a Trump supporter, attacking Harry Styles for wearing a dress, stating that feminism ruined the world and that we need manly men back. No, Candace, you are wrong. We do not need the concept of masculinity that society has imposed on us. We do not need to fall into the unhealthy norm of manly man, violent man, emotionless man, or repressed man. I wonder if she is aware that men died by suicide 3.63x more often than women and white males accounted for 69.38% of suicide deaths in 2019 (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention), so yes, we do need to change how masculinity is seen.
Walter Roper
REVIEW ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Camp by L C Rosen is a sweet and witty comedy about Randy Kapplehoff, a sixteen year old boy spending his summer, like so many before, at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. Only this summer Randy has transformed himself into “Del”, a buff and more masculine version of himself to win the man of his dreams, Hudson Aaronson-Lim. Even if it means giving up theatre, nail polish and makeup, he is determined to make Hudson fall in love with him. But is winning someone’s love worth giving up who you truly are? ⠀ ⠀ I began this story with the idea that it would be a light and funny little romance, but I was so pleasantly surprised when it turned into so much more. It uses a lighthearted situation to tackle some hefty issues such as toxic masculinity, the perception that gay is acceptable as long as it appears straight and the difficult path of self discovery and acceptance. The characters are well developed and each sparkles with their own individual magic. This beautiful and heartwarming story is so much more than just entertainment but is an inspiration for the countless young people struggling with what it means to be gay. There is no right or wrong way to be gay, but it is by being true to who you are that happiness can be found. I commend writers like L C Rosen who are using their talents to inspire and enlighten future generations through humor and wit. I wish that there had been books like this when I was a teen. ⠀
I want to begin this review by saying that I have been looking forward to this book since it was announced because I’ve spent seven summers at camp as a camper/counselor and now my oldest goes away to camp too. With summer camp being cancelled for the year, I was looking forward to a camp story even more. Randy has been going to Camp Outland for queer teens for years, but he wants things to be different: Randy wants to catch the attention of Hudson, a fellow camper, but Hudson only likes straight-acting guys, and that’s not Randy. But it could be, right? Randy spent the entire school year formulating a plan, and he shows up at camp as “Del”, who is totally not into nail polish and musicals and all the things that Randy likes. And the plan works! Hudson notices Del right away and he doesn’t even realize that Del is the same kid he’s been going to camp with for four years, but as the summer progresses, Randy is spending all his time playing sports and doing ropes course challenges instead of being in the musical with his friends, and he begins to wonder if all the sacrifices he’s making are worth it. As a veteran camper, I remember the intensity of summer romances, so I can empathize with Randy’s pining for Hudson, but he’s changing his entire personality for another boy and missing out on all the things that he loves—and more importantly, by doing this, he’s not being true to himself. That said, I truly understand why he would want to do something that drastic. Camp provides an interesting retrospective on masc4masc culture, and how the attitude is already evident among 16-year-old kids. The campers might all have a place on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but there’s already a division among the returning campers; they choose to live in separate bunks, they sit at different dining tables, and they don’t even interact at group activities. However, Randy chooses to live in the “drama cabin” with this theatre friends, so some of the sporty kids end up sitting with the drama kids, and this leads to new friendships. In Rosen’s book Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), he used the advice column medium to impart a lot of useful sex-ed information to the readers. In Camp, he uses a weekly camp program to share queer history with the readers. I love the way that both of these devices were blended seamlessly into the narrative. I would absolutely recommend Camp. It captures the magic of camp perfectly. Randy is such a sweetheart, and he certainly learns a lot over the course of the book. I am already looking forward to Rosen’s next book.