Written by: Khushi Arora @lonevixen_ka
"Safer and happier don't always go hand in hand. It's a choice that a lot of us have to make." // L.C.Rosen
Camp Outland is a camp for queer teens, a safe place where they all can be whoever they want to, without caring about the judgments of the outside world. Randy plays the lead. He loves theatre, nail-paint and unicorns. But, this year he's about to change all of that for Hudson - the hot, macho guy whose dating profile says masc4masc. Randy is now Del who chooses sports over theatre just so he can make Hudson fall in love with him. Although his plan works out very well, Randy's friends can't help but notice how toxic his plan is. After all, how far are you willing to change who you are for love?
We all talk about toxic masculinity and being yourself in the outside world. But Rosen really changed the course of YA novels by exploring these issues within the queer community. It's hard enough for them to be who they are in the world already. But Rosen had me baffled when I realized there's so much I've yet to learn about the queer community. Within, there's a struggle for an identity I, as a straight person can never even fathom.
I loved the concept of Camp Outland and hope that such safe places do happen on earth. In the first part of the book, I was cringing hard at Randy for the toxic way he was turning himself more masculine for Hudson. But that was the whole point! By the end, it's so satisfying to see Hudson accept Randy for who he is, though he does struggle at first due to some traumatizing incidents he had with his family. The character development is just stellar! Every scene, every dialogue comes up at the perfect time. The characters are so so diverse. Even the sex scenes are so damn good. The book has everything.
If there's anything I did not like about the book, that would have to be no sequel announcements. After all, 4 weeks of Randy and Hudson just weren't enough!
We are fighting against a lot of prejudices these days, which does not mean that we, ourselves, are free. Pick this book up to learn more about the LGBTQIA community and endeavor to lessen the prejudices which may unknowingly exist within you.