Remember a few Recentlys back when I hinted that I had something fun coming up relating to Camp Boyfriend? Well, its finally here! The second book in the series, Camp Payback has just been released, and in honor, the publishers are having a giveaway! To avoid a seriously long post, I've broken this thing up in two, and the giveaway is in the post above. This post will contain my review of both books, and a guest post about payback written by one of the authors of the book.
This is the first time I've ever worked with a publisher, so I hope I'm doing this right :) I feel like I should let you know that I received e-versions of both Camp Boyfriend and Camp Payback for free in exchange for my honest review of the books. Additionally, I have no part in the giveaway that's listed in the other post. That is all the publisher's doing. But it is open internationally, and the prizes are pretty awesome. Also, you might want to check out some of the other blogs on this tour. Its been interesting to read what other bloggers think of the books.
Camp Boyfriend is the first book in the Camp series. We meet Lauren, a girl who has spent the last year living a lie. Due to a move from New York to Texas, she has seized the chance to reinvent herself from nerd girl to popular cheerleader, hot football boyfriend included. As we meet her on the last day of her sophomore year, she struggles with this, and she can't wait to get away from it all and get back to her nerdy self at Camp Juniper Point. There she has a great group of nerdy girls, and an equally nerdy camp boyfriend named Seth. But just when she thinks she's about to get out, football hottie Matt tells her that he's having some family issues that he needs to escape from, and he's coming to camp with her; foiling her plans to breaking up with him before her departure to camp. From there, Lauren's summer is spent trying to figure out if she wants the jock or the geek, in addition to trying to figure out if there is some balance between her own new identity versus her old one. Her new look and interests have hurt her old friends in Munchies Manor, while simultaneously making the Divas Den (their cabin's most hated rivals) much more invested in her life.
There was a lot I loved about this book. Lauren reminded me a lot of Liz from MTV's My Life as Liz, except in the reverse. While Liz was a Texas girl who had been popular until she decided not to be by expressing her like for comics, etc, Lauren was a New York transplant who took her move to Texas as an opportunity to reinvent herself as a non-nerd. I think a lot of people would change their circumstance if given the chance, so its easy to relate to. And while at camp, Lauren's cabin mates reminded me of a modern day Babysitter's Club, minus their need to watch children. There is a Claudia in free spirited and artistic Trinity, a Mary Anne in uber uptight and smart girl Siobhan, a Kristy in extremely athletic girl Jackie, a Stacey in boy fixated Alex, and a Dawn in Earth loving Piper. The story really flowed well, and I read it in about a day. I just had to know which boy Lauren had chosen and if things with her family worked out (They were a bit Sixteen Candles towards her. Not forgetting her birthday- but the focus was on her sister getting married, and not at all on an academic pursuit she was hoping for.). It ends how you would expect it to, which is fun, but it also leaves you wanting more.
My rating *4.8/5*
I started reading Camp Payback right away. This time, the story is mainly focused on Alex, the drama queen at camp who has be reserved the rest of the year because of her famous parents. Her parents write a blog called Wholesome Home, and it highlights all their parenting successes (her brother Andrew) and all their failures (Alex). After a vindictive camp ex-boyfriend sends her a text that gets her a guaranteed spot to an all girls school, Alex is determined to have the most fun and get in the most trouble she can this summer at Camp Juniper Point- her summer of payback to her parents. The catch? Her parents are up for a reality show, and some time during the summer, a camera crew will be popping in on Alex. Not to mention Alex's crush happens to be a boy who is working at the camp to stay out of a group home because his mom is in prison....
I have to admit that while I was eager to start the book, once I started it, I had to put it down for a bit. It wasn't because the writing is horrible, because its not. It was more of a preference thing for me. The premise of Alex's parents blogging was a big draw for me, not only because I am a blogger, but because I follow a few parenting/lifestyle blogs and sometimes I think to myself "I wonder if they would've done that if they knew they weren't going to be blogging about it later?" What made me put it down at first is that its told in a split perspective- half told by Alex, and the other half by Javier, the worker boy whose mom is in prison. I am not a fan of stories told that way, its a huge reason why I have yet to finish Allegiant. Anyway, after leaving the book to settle for a few days, I picked it up again. While I didn't care for the way the story was told, I did care how it ended. I was eager to see how Alex's life turned out, and even Javier's.
The book dealt with heavier issues than Camp Boyfriend, but it was done in a way that wasn't preachy and that YA audiences can relate to. There were some new characters brought in that I thought were a little underdeveloped and underused, but now that I know there's a third book being written (yay!), perhaps they'll get more time in the next story.
My rating *3.6/5*
Payback, Karen style J
By J.K. Rock
In our April release, CAMP PAYBACK, our main character, Alex Martineau, is determined to get payback against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. His disgusting text prompted them to banish her to a super-strict all-girls school when summer’s over. All she has is two months to have fun and get into a little, innocent trouble. And I can relate! As a teenager, my eleventh grade Social teacher took discipline to Hitler level. In fact, he was impressed with the Nazis and spent a lot of time making fun of the ‘weak’ Mussolini and the Italians in WWII. This really bugged me and my friend Laura because we were the only two Italians in the class, besides hot Greg Brienza who slept through most of class and never noticed.
I was one of those girls like Kayla, the main character in our third novel in the series, CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT, who never said her real thoughts out loud. I was too afraid of making other people upset or that they wouldn't like me. But my best friend, Laura, was- and still is- like an extension of me. I could tell her anything. We talked a lot about how much we hated our Social teacher for making insulting comments about Italians. Worse yet, Mr. M would point to Laura and I (and a dozing Greg) after saying them and ask us if we agreed. As if! Since Laura was quiet (in front of adults) like me, she just shrugged. But inside, she was boiling too, especially when Mr. M made jokes to get the rest of the class laughing at Italians.
Christmas came and a brilliant, but risky payback plan came to us while we were in the mall. We passed a store that sold cheap lingerie, and I commented how funny it would be to give something like that to our uptight teacher. To my surprise, Laura hauled me in there and we bought the tackiest set of red, ruffled, see-through lingerie I’d ever seen. We couldn't stop laughing every time we pulled it out of the bag. Since we were having a sleepover, we wrapped it up that night and put a big bow on it. We couldn't wait until Monday to sneak it onto our Social teacher’s desk. For the first time, ever, I couldn't wait to get to school. Before Social, I asked to go to the bathroom before the bell rang. I grabbed the present from my locker (hidden in a bag) fast-walked to Mr. M’s room and peaked in. Luckily he wasn't there and I put the present on his desk before dashing back to my other class. I gave Laura a thumbs up as we walked to his class, and we had to hold in our smiles when we took our seats.
Mr. M came in after the bell and made a big fuss when he spotted the present. He exclaimed at what a nice surprise it was from our class and since everyone was basically afraid of him, no one denied that they’d given it to him. It took every ounce of will power not to look at Laura as he undid the elaborate wrapping, lifted the box cover and pawed through the layers of tissue paper. His dumbfounded, shocked expression was priceless when he held up the lingerie, trying to figure out what it was. The class was hysterical with everyone laughing and finally, I could give in and join them. It was awesome. Mr. M got so mad that his face turned purple, especially when Greg Brienza (who’d woken at all the noise and seen the gift) fell backwards in his chair from laughing so hard.
Laura and I, ‘the innocent quiet girls’, got away with this payback prank. To this day, no one- except now you- knows we were behind it. It became a legend in our class and school and- poor Greg Brienza- got detention for ‘distracting the class’. Mr. M blamed him and muttered something about Italians… but it was the last negative thing he said about our nationality. Justice was served!
Find out more about the camp series and us at http://www.jkrock.net or http://www.campboyfriend.net Order Camp Payback in print or ebook at http://amzn.to/1fHPv9m (Amazon) or http://bit.ly/1nW6nh5 (Barnes and Nobles) and follow us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jkrock or on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JoanneRock6 and http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5