The Camp by Victoria Zagar
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, GLBT
Length: Short Story (95 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Jesse Harvan comes home from school one day to find his parents have discovered the gay pornographic magazine hidden under his bed. Disgusted, they decide to send Jesse to Camp Grady, a summer camp which prides itself on converting people’s sexuality.
Once at the camp, Jesse meets the other inmates: Charlie, a disabled African-American gay teenager, Natalie, a transgender girl, her sister Lita, Japanese lesbian Sakura, and last of all, Minister Grady’s son Jacob, who works for the camp under duress. These teens must learn to bridge their differences and get along if they’re to beat their common enemy and keep their identities–and sanity–intact.
The Camp is a Young Adult title suitable for older teens and up.
You can’t change who you are, but that won’t stop some people from trying to force the matter.
One of the things I liked the most about Jesse was how much I learned about his personality from observing how he reacted to Camp Grady and people he met there. Ms. Zagar did an excellent job of showing readers how kind and courageous he was instead of telling us about these traits. By the final scene, I felt as though I knew this character incredibly well.
I would have liked to see some more attention paid to the character development. There were certain plot twists that didn’t quite make sense to me because they seemed to contradict what I’d been previously told about certain characters. Knowing more about how they were growing and changing would have made it easier for me to figure out what those scenes were trying to tell me and if the conflicts I thought I observed in them actually had explanations that I had somehow missed.
With that being said, this tale was so fascinating that I finished it in one sitting. The premise caught my attention immediately, and the storyline itself exceeded my already-high expectations of it. I was intrigued by the idea of tackling such a serious issue in the form of a short story. This length turned out to be perfect for the plot the author had in mind, though, and based on how much I enjoyed this book I will definitely be keeping any eye out for what she publishes next.
I’d heartily recommend The Camp to anyone who is in the mood for something thought-provoking and fast-paced.