About the Book:
From the author of the acclaimed Jack of Hearts (and other parts) comes a sweet and sharp screwball comedy that critiques the culture of toxic masculinity within the queer community. Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim-who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’-buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
About the Author:
Lev Rosen is the author of books for all ages. Two for adults: All Men of Genius(Amazon Best of the Month, Audie Award Finalist) and Depth (Amazon Best of the Year, Shamus Award Finalist, Kirkus Best Science Fiction for April). Two middle-grade books: Woundabout (illustrated by his brother, Ellis Rosen), and The Memory Wall. His first Young Adult Novel, Jack of Hearts (and other parts) was an American Library Association Rainbow List Top 10 of 2018. His books have been sold around the world and translated into different languages as well as being featured on many best of the year lists, and nominated for awards.
Lev is originally from lower Manhattan and now lives in even lower Manhattan, right at the edge, with his husband and very small cat. You can find him online at LevACRosen.com and @LevACRosen
Camping Up My Own Summer Camp
My new book, Camp, takes place at an LGBTQIA+ summer camp in Connecticut called Camp
Outland. I, sadly, did not go to Camp Outland. I went to a Jewish summer camp in Connecticut
called… Camp Shalom (there’s a joke about Camp Shalom being a painfully generic Jewish
summer camp name in Camp, and I stand by it). When I knew I wanted to set this 60s screwball-
comedy-turned-contemporary-YA at a summer camp, I went right back to memories of Camp
Shalom. I have a lot of good ones: good friends I’m still in touch with, funny counselors,
swimming in a truly disgusting river, and choosing to sit out all the sports stuff so I could sit
under a tree and read (I was a very specific kind of kid). I went there for years, even ended up
working there afterwards for a little while, as a camp counselor. I have a lot of fond memories.
But I also have a lot of less pleasant ones. I’ve been out since freshman year of high school, and
while that wasn’t the biggest deal in my private high school in New York City, the conservative
Jewish summer camp I went to was another story. I have distinct memories of being called “fag”
by fellow campers, and counselors (and other campers) ignoring it. I remember gay jokes galore,
and a prevalent sort of homophobia that I just had to deal with. “Gay” being used as an insult in
front of me, and people trying to excuse it with “you know, gay like bad, not gay like gay.”
I remember when I first became a counselor, my favorite counselor – now my boss – pulling me
aside on the first day and telling me I wasn’t allowed to come out to any of the campers. She
made it clear this wasn’t her call, this was from her boss’ boss, from up the chain. I was
apparently too gay, and they were worried I’d talk about sex with the 5-year-olds I was in charge
of. I remember the first day of June, Pride month, I wore rainbows to celebrate. One of the
campers asked me why I was wearing rainbows. “He likes them,” one of the other counselors
said quickly, before I even had a chance to respond.
I wasn’t the only queer person there. Other people came out, other gay counselors showed up.
We talked about it, sometimes, the way we were told to hide our sexuality. How I felt like I was
walking on eggshells. “That’s just the way it is, right?” one of them said to me once.
So it was a genuine joy to write Camp, where “just the way it is” is something completely
different. I joke that since summer camp was where I experienced the most homophobia growing
up, I made the book SUPER GAY. But in reality, while the physical layout of Camp Outland is
modeled on Camp Shalom (it was like a waterfall feature, with curving stairs from one area to
the next), and some of the activities are the same, I changed everything else. I changed the vibe
of the place. This was a place where camp meant camp and it meant camp. Where counselors are
drag queens and homophobia was internalized. This was the camp I wish I’d had – where I felt
more part of the community, where we were all one family. Which, I guess, is what’s super gay
Camp Outland, unlike Camp Shalom, is a place I filled with love – where everyone could be
themselves… even if some people don’t know that yet.
Some exciting news: CAMP has been optioned by HBO Max to be turned into a feature film for the streaming service.Academy Award winner Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Milk) will produce through his Dan Jinks Company, and Kit Williamson (creator, director, and star of the Emmy-nominated series EastSiders) will write the screenplay.
Giveaway: The publisher has also offered to host a giveaway to win a hardcover copy of Camp! Click the link here, or the image below to go and enter!
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