Novella Review: Camp Christmas

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: ebook, bought from Amazon
Status: novella, book #1.5 of Camp Boyfriend series

Hannah never meant to be a mean girl – at Camp Juniper Point or at her high school. It just sort of happened during one painful year when her parents split and her life fell apart. Who knew being mad at the world would catapult her to popularity? But since changing the status quo would make her some serious enemies, she’s prepared to ride out her time until graduation. That is, until a camp friend calls her on the act during their school ski trip. Will Julian out her to her friends? Or will the guy she once accused of being King of the Nerds make her wish she was a whole lot more like him?


The Camp Boyfriend series has been such a delightful surprise for me. I honestly didn't know when I first heard about it that I would love it as much as I have. "Camp Kiss" was pretty good, Camp Boyfriend was really good, and "Camp Christmas" is amazing. I like that Joanne and Karen have made a point with their writing that there aren't really "good guys" and "bad guys." Sure, there are antagonists in their stories (you can't have a decent story told without conflict, after all), but Joanne and Karen prove that there are more always more than one side to every story and that no one is the villain in their own story. Case in point: Hannah, who is the leading lady in this novella.

Hannah spent much of Camp Boyfriend being a petty queen bee, which is partially Lauren's perspective but also partially she's actually mean (albeit shallowly) to the Munchie Manor girls and the Wander Inn boys. Now that we're in Hannah's head, though, it's easy to see that there's more to her than the girl obsessed with fashion and boys. Instead, Hannah is a lonely teenage girl who is dealing with her parents' divorce and a group of frenemies who are insistent on tearing her down. I'm not saying it's okay to be a jerk to other people when you're going through a bad time, but that is normal, human survival instinct, and it's one I can not only sympathize Hannah for doing, but I also empathize with her.

Also, props on the actual hidden nerd thing. It's popular for people to have be nerdy these days, but Hannah has REAL nerdiness in her, and I love it. I don't know how they do it, but Joanne and Karen also manage to give their characters traits and habits and interests I have in my life. I absolutely attended a "nerd" convention before it was a cool mainstream activity thanks to Comic Con San Diego. Skiing is one of my favorite sports, and yes, I do have a cape. But back to Hannah. This adorable novella is really her realization of what is important and what is bull. She figures out that it's okay to let someone else "win" those stupid games that we all play but swear we don't, it's okay to be yourself. Once again, this is a story of a character finding out who she is and learning to love herself, which is the best message a ya book can possibly have.

Then there's Julian, who is pretty much the polar opposite. There's a saying that the rich aren't crazy, they're eccentric, which I guess is a motto their school buys into because people leave Julian alone since he's one of the wealthiest kids. Or at least I bet that's what they tell themselves. Actually, Julian is just ridiculously comfortable with himself. He's a nice; he's smart; he's a gentleman; he's unique; and he's not scared of that. Julian is a boy with perspective. He knows that all that high school posturing is BS, and he doesn't have time for it. For him, this novella is about his decision to finally go for what he wants, which is Hannah. In a way, he's like her Yoda or her Dumbledore or her Gandalf, as he helps her through her big eureka moment, except it's BETTER than all those old guys because 1. Julian has abs (I know he's wearing a parka the whole time, but I can totally tell there is undercover ab stuff going on here) and 2. these two kids have crazy ridiculous tummy-butterfly-inducing chemistry.

This novella is just a perfect read for a chilly winter day, whether you're on snowy slopes or just shivering in a southern state going through a weird cold snap like I am right now. There's adventure, there's humor, there's romance. And you'll probably find yourself shipping Juliannah as I did. Honestly, they might rival Lauren and --t- for my favorite Camp Boyfriend romance (I can't just give the ending away! Go read it!). But you can't have Julian for yourself. I called dibs on the sexy Geekster!

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About the Author:
Sisters in law Joanne and Karen Rock write Young Adult books under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. They bonded on a set of bleachers, watching their respective Rock boyfriends play baseball, and later, as young wives married into the same big family. Today, they have fun reliving teen drama on the pages of their YA books in their ongoing Camp Boyfriend series, which reviewers have noted for its authentic treatment of navigating relationships and self-identity. Individually, Joanne and Karen write adult romance books for Harlequin. Joanne is a three-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart winner. Her books have been reprinted in twenty-six countries and translated into twenty different languages. Karen's debut romance, Wish Me Tomorrow, has garnered critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of a cancer survivor's journey. You can learn more about their upcoming projects and previous releases at

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  1. This really does sound like a great novella! I love reading these on cold winter nights :)

  2. Great review. This is a great winter read and the cover is cute. ;)