author : axelle lenoir
pages : [paperback] 204
Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?
Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.
I started reading Camp Spirit because I’m eager to read more diverse graphic novels and was able to access this via my local library through the Hoopla app. This book is set in the year I was born, so I was interested to see what the setting would be like–especially because I’ve never gone to summer camp. Something I’m thankful about–I think I would have been as against it as our main character Elodie is when she’s forced to work at the camp for the summer. Her last summer before heading off to college.
For most of the book, this seems like a pretty typical coming of age story. Elodie leads a group of unruly campers and makes reluctant friends with the other counselors, particularly a girl who is incredibly annoying and definitely not cute. Sure, things are kind of strange. The school songs are rather ominous. It feels like something is lurking in the words. And there’s that weird camp legend . . .
I loved how the paranormal elements of this book slowly build in the background. For a while, you don’t know what’s just Elodie’s overworking imagination in this new environment, and what’s actually out to get her. I loved that all of the fantastical elements here are so unique, like nothing I’ve ever read before. So I’m eager to get my hands on a sequel!
Camp Spirit is a lot of fun, with great LGBTQ+ representation, a sarcastic main character, and a unique plot. I really recommend it!