Title: Camp Boyfriend (Camp Boyfriend #1)
Author: J.K. Rock
Release Date: July 2nd 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.
They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.
But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?Camp Boyfriend is one of those books wherein the characters kept me reading even when they irritated me to no end. Wtf moment, I know. But there's something good to be said when I get engrossed in a book enough to feel so much for the characters, right? Right. Of course.
As I type this review I'm in the middle of reading Camp Payback *points below* so I can say that at this point in the series the characters are all quite immature and narrow-minded, hence why I disliked almost all of them. First of all: Lauren. I hated how she strung Matt along for months, even when her feelings for him had changed and she knew she wanted her relationship with Seth, her camp boyfriend, to last for all seasons. It was unfair to Matt and totally ruined the Lauren/Seth relationship for me, which is sad because I loved them in the novella Camp Kiss.
But the root of Lauren's problems was her inability to stand up for herself. Unconsciously, she tried to please everyone - be it her family or her friends - in expense of herself. The combination of unapologetic nerd and sassy cheerleader that she'd become over the past year suffered greatly when she came to summer camp where everyone knew her as just the nerd, and I really pitied her.
Aside from Lauren, the people around her irritated me so much more. Her insensitive mom and sister I could handle, but her camp friends who were her lifelong besties? They turned up their judgmental noses when they found out she'd become pretty and was dating a jock. And they were all so freaking unbelievable! People change the same way Lauren did, but for some reason her friends didn't and they resented her for being different? They only liked the version of her that kept them happy and fit the mold they'd made for her, not the new and real her she'd turned into. God. I just wanted to Lauren to find better friends.
Camp Boyfriend didn't impress me much, but don't get turned off by all the ranting I did because I assure you, a ton of character development happens in this book. If you're patient with characters and are not too particular with your contemporary, then this is the one for you.
MY FAVORITE PART was a certain someone singing a song he wrote himself <3
Title: Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend #2)
Author: J.K Rock
Release Date: April 29th 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she's headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall.
Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn't seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex's trouble-magnet personality and Javier's need to stay in the background don't mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry.
With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?I lowered my expectations for Camp Payback because Camp Boyfriend wasn't as amazing as I'd thought it would be, but that turned out to be absolutely unnecessary because, oh my lord, this book packed the feels and swoon that just entertained me for hours.
While its predecessor was also filled to the brim with drama, this sequel just got it perfectly. And it also helped that I loved the main characters individually and as a couple. Alex, the not-so-rebel whose family saw nothing but her mistakes, is actually a brave and straight-forward girl who only wants to live a real life, not be known as the troubled kid of the family behind the Wholesome Home blog. With all the criticisms she's had to face, it's been ingrained in her mind that she's useless and problematic, and I'd have gone crazy a long time ago if I were her.
Whereas her previous summers at camp were nothing but fun, this time Alex has to face a crazy ex who pushes her so hard on the first day that she just loses it and saunters to a complete stranger... and kisses him. Javier, the new kid at Camp Juniper Point who only wants to keep out of trouble, isn't too thrilled when one of the camp girls walks up and kisses him point blank, but he can't deny the attraction he feels for her, especially when she's like a walking sun to his dark life. I loved how their relationship got off a rocky start and then turned into friendship-slash-romance. A lot of people were against the two of them being together, but that only made me love them more.
A far cry from Camp Boyfriend, this book was so easy and so fun to read. The story was very romantic and full of swoon, what with Javier being a fantastic chef - and humming while he cooks! Camp Payback truly is the perfect summer read and until now I grin whenever I think of Alex and Javier.
MY FAVORITE PART was the ending. Sigh <3
About the authors:
J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners - and sisters-in-law - Joanne & Karen Rock. Although they started out sharing an annual shopping trip, they ended up discussing their favorite films and books, joining the same book club and talking about writing... a lot. Their debut novel, Camp Boyfriend, is the first in a three-book series plotted during family pool parties. Their creative partnership is unique in that they enjoy passing a book back and forth, each adding a chapter and fine-tuning the chapter before. Years of friendship has yielded a shared voice and vision for their work that makes writing a pleasure.