Camp by L.C. Rosen
Puffin. UK. 2020. ISBN: 9780241428252. 368p.
(Age: 15+ ) LGBTQ Romance. Camp Outland is a summer camp expressly for gay teens. Subtitled, Top or bottom? It's time to bunk up, Rosen's euphemisms are as lewd as they are plentiful. The central problem arises when a Masc (masculine) type prefers his own type exclusively. Unfortunately, the narrator, epitomizes the stereotypical Femme homosexual, with his love of musical theatre and nail polish. But not this summer. In preparation for summer camp, Randy has: lost weight, worked out, cut his hair, changed his wardrobe, changed his name and perfected new mannerisms to attract a boy he has admired every summer since childhood - a masculine young man who believes that gay men should behave straight.
To his friends' consternation, Randy drops his theatre electives for sport in order to woo Hudson, who has a decidedly 'Masc' polemic. Unbelievably, Hudson doesn't recognize Randy with a new persona and a new moniker. As Del, Randy doesn't just plan to be Hudson's next conquest. He desires the man of his dreams to be his forever boyfriend. Much of the tension in the book comes from Hudson's sexual frustration and Randy's guilt and betrayal of his cabin full of old friends and theatre nerds.
The author of Jack of hearts is as determined as ever to demystify gay sex for young queer readers. Camp is as flirtatious as any straight romance, although verbally more lascivious. With interesting themes of identity, friendship, family and gay history, fans of L.C. Rosen will turn pages in anticipation of gender equality; and the boy getting the boy by the end of summer.