Tuesday, August 28, 2018

QSR: 7 Queer Summer Camp Books

Well, here's an area that could definitely use some expansion. YA/MG authors, write more queer summer camp books. Although considering I've found 3 published in 2018 already, maybe y'all are on that already! This isn't a rec list so much as a "hey, I like making themed lists"... list. It's largely just for fun.

Let's talk about the ones I've read first!

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

Release date: August 27th, 2001

Summary (from goodreads): Nicola Lancaster is spending her summer at the Siegel Institute - a hothouse of smart, articulate, intense teenagers living like college students for eight weeks. Nic's had theatre friends and ochestra friends, but never just friend friends. And she's certainly never had a relationship.

But on the very first day, she falls in with Katrina the Manic Computer Chick, Isaac the Nice-Guy-Despite-Himself, Kevin the Inarticulate Composer... and Battle.

Battle Hall Davies is a beautiful blond dancer from North Carolina. She's everything Nic isn't. Soon the two are friends - and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you're attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart?

The part where I talk: Do keep in mind that this book is seventeen years old, so it has aged a lot, and some of the things in it are outdated now, but I think it's really interesting to look back at this as such an early queer book and how things have changed. And also not changed.

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and like a million other peoples because comics be like that

Release date: April 7th, 2015 by BOOM! Box

Summary (from goodreads): At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...

And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

The part where I talk: I'm only putting the first volume of this here, but I recommend the entire series. It's like my favourite comic book series, and it gets better and better as it goes on.

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Release date: June 26th, 2018 by HarperCollins

Summary (from goodreads): Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.

Now, she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.

But this summer brings big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself falling for a girl at camp named Adeline. To top it off, Melly's not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock 'n' roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

The part where I talk: The last one on this list I've read! This is such a good summer book, and I really liked it. Seriously hasn't gotten enough attention, in my opinion. I already talked about this more in my queer MG post, so I'm not gonna spend too much time on this one in this post.

Now on to some books I haven't read.

Nothing Happened by Molly Booth

Release date: May 15th, 2018

Summary (from goodreads): This modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing takes place at the idyllic Camp Dogberry, where sisters Bee and Hana Leonato have grown up. Their parents own the place, and every summer they look forward to leading little campers in crafts, swimming in the lake, playing games of capture the flag and sproutball, and of course, the legendary counselor parties.

This year, the camp drama isn’t just on the improv stage. Bee and longtime counselor Ben have a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that’s complicated by events that happened—or didn’t happen—last summer. Meanwhile, Hana is falling hard for the kind but insecure Claudia, putting them both in the crosshairs of resident troublemaker John, who spreads a vicious rumor that could tear them apart.

As the counselors juggle their camp responsibilities with simmering drama that comes to a head at the Fourth of July sparkler party, they’ll have to swallow their pride and find the courage to untangle the truth, whether it leads to heartbreak or happily ever after.

The part where I talk: I haven't heard much about this one! But it's set at camp, and it's queer, so I'm curious. Maybe Luci would like this one. They like Shakespeare.

On a Summer Night by Gabriel D. Vidrine

Release date: April 2nd, 2018

Summary (from goodreads): Fourteen-year-old Casey is determined to have fun this summer going to camp with his best friend, Ella. His overprotective mother frets that attending this one instead of trans camp like he’s always done will cause problems, but Casey has his heart set on going stealth anyway.

His mom just might be right.

All Ella wants is love for her best friend, and she’s determined to set him up with someone, despite Casey’s protests that he just wants to have fun, not get involved in a summer romance. But things get complicated when camp bully Ryan focuses his energies on the two friends. At least Casey’s cute bunkmate, Gavin, appears interested in getting to know him better, making Casey rethink the whole romance thing.

Until he finds out Gavin and Ryan are good friends.

Summer camp turns into so much more when Casey has to decide if Gavin is worth pursuing, friend of a bully or not.

There’s just one more problem: Ryan knows Casey is transgender.

The part where I talk: Honestly I just saw this on Twitter and it fit my theme, so here it is! I don't know much about it besides that. It looks cute, though.

Lunaside by J. L. Douglas

Release date: January 6th, 2015

Summary (from goodreads): Moira Connell just wants to drink tea, draw pictures, and hang out with Andrea, her girlfriend. But that's before her mother accuses her of wanting to spend her time making out with girls, rather than planning which universities to court in senior year.

A job as an art counselor at Lunaside, the summer camp down the road from Moira's house, is supposed to help Moira prove she isn't procrastinating, and that she isn't 'girl-crazy' either. Then the eccentric owner of Lunaside ropes her into starring in the camp's new web series before she can say 'on-screen panic attack.' But it's exactly the kind of huge responsibility Moira's mother thinks Moira is allergic to, so she jumps in anyway.

Of course, the fact that Andrea is directing the web series, combined with Moira's sudden, mutual attraction to new counselor Millie, might not help her case. And the way her best friend keeps trying to set her up with Millie certainly isn't helping, well, anything.

And amidst all of this, she's still got an art camp to run. On her own. But how hard could that be?

One summer can change everything. Moira's hoping hers doesn't end in a worst-case-scenario disaster.

The part where I talk: Hopefully I finish this post and get it up before our chat with the author! Otherwise, I'll link to the chat and you can read it, lol.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Release date: September 8th, 2015

Summary (from goodreads): Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment.

A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.

The part where I talk: This is a bit different than the rest of the list because it's a graphic memoir, which is something I'd really like to read more of. I know a couple, but I haven't seeked many out.

Okay, that's all folks! What camp themed books have you loved or enjoyed?

Peace and popsicle,

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