Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book review: Camp Boyfriend by J.K.Rock

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school half-way across the country. Amazing what losing your 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 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?
 
NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I saw this series going around the blogosphere and got intrigued, so I thought I'd check it out. It didn't turn out to be the super awesome contemporary story that I'd anticipated, however. It wasn't a sweet romance to cherish, it was more like a coming-of-age kind of thing. The romance that was supposed to be there was completely unrealistic and felt forced more often than not.
On the other hand, I can't say it was an awful story either. Sure, it didn't focus on a purely romantic story, but it did raise some valid questions about consequences, choices, change, peer pressure and growing up.

Writing style:
Fairly good and clean in writing. But I didn't feel captivated and there was no urge to finish the book in one sitting. It took me a while to get to the end, which is only a sign that I didn't enjoy it all that much.

Story line:
I suppose it was well thought out, but it was way too slow paced and uneventful for my taste and I felt like some scenes could've been taken out. There was some drama going on between 1)cabin crews, 2)Lauren and the guys she liked, 3)Lauren and her friends, 4)Lauren and her family. Yet, even all this drama felt a bit boring and dry.

Themes:
- Growing up, fitting in, being yourself
- If you don't know who you are, how can you know what you want?
- The importance of friends and family
- Love: how do you know it's real and true?

Characters:
Lauren, the protagonist who told the story, was at large a confused girl who had a lot to figure out all of a sudden. Questions like "Who am I?", "What do I want out of life?", "Who should I love?", "Who are my friends?" plagued her mind all through summer camp. Some things change in her life, others remain the same, as she figures out the answers.

Matt was Lauren's jock of a boyfriend. She dated him through the school year, but as she came to realize, she never really got to know him until he decided to join her at summer camp. He was a good guy, slow to anger, but still strong in his male possessiveness. He came to be the only constant person in her life, who didn't really push her to make decisions before she was ready. He cared for her and wasn't afraid to show it.

Seth on the other hand... To be honest, I didn't see what Lauren liked about him. He wasn't serious about her, didn't fight for her, had trust issues and abandoned Lauren the moment she walked in camp witth Matt. Seth never really gave her a chance even though he claimed he had feelings for her.

Hannah was the chief mean girl who was actually quite lonely and just didn't know how to show her need for true friends. I think she's a character i'd like to read some more about.

Kayla, in my opinion, was the most likeable of all characters. She not only befriended Lauren but was also nice, helpful and quite friendly.

In conclusion:
Camp Boyfriend was a very slow read and couldn't win me over as much as I hoped it would.

My rating is