Hi there and welcome to the Release Party for CAMP PAYBACK, the second Camp book by J.K. Rock. This contemporary YA romance series is just the thing to bring on the summer.
About the book
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she’s headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn’t seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex’s trouble-magnet personality and Javier’s need to stay in the background don’t mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?
Alex Marcineau is a problem child–at least that’s what her parents’ blog Wholesome Home would have everyone believe. From her earliest steps, Alex has faced the scrutiny of not just her parents, but all adults, even teachers who hoped to gain some slight fame by reporting each and every misstep Alex made. Entire books have been written by her parents on how to cope with ‘difficult’ kids. So, yeah, she’s not really interested in maintaining a ‘wholesome’ image. Especially not when her parents are being considered for a TV show based on their blog. Just more of the same torture–on TV, for a change.
Alex is determined to cut loose at camp, but her ex-boyfriend Vijay is being an uber-jerk. He sends her lewd texts which incense her overprotective dad–bring on the private school plans! In an effort to start her camp off right–by antagonizing Vijay–Alex walks up to a new camper and lays a juicy kiss right on him. Only, Javier isn’t a camper. He’s staff, hired as kitchen help to avoid going to a group home for difficult foster kids. And, he’s now in trouble for having ‘relations’ with a camper.
Oy vay! Alex, you really know how to pick ’em!
Javier is furious that his big chance to work is nearly snatched away before he even started. He promises to avoid Alex and her drama, but her punishment is to help on kitchen duty, putting these misfits together three times a day for seven days. Though Javier ignores the rants of the tiny hellion, he doesn’t stop listening to her. And, he grudgingly accepts her apologies.
Add to this mix the larger scheme of kids away at camp and jealousies raging. Vijay ends up in trouble–of his own making, but it embroils Alex and Javier, too. Alex, for her part, wants to win Javier over. She’s totally smitten with Javier and wishes he wasn’t at such risk to leave camp–plus, she really wants to help him and his mom when she gets paroled at the end of the summer. She even speaks to her mom about it–as Mrs. Marcineau has a few charities she supports that aid single mothers, and find jobs for ex-cons.
In addition, Alex has been bitten by the acting bug and is an extra in a few scenes for a movie being filmed not far from camp. Her exuberance and performing ability are noticed by the assistant director who recommends a performing arts school–as opposed to the boarding school Alex’s parents have all picked out. While trying to figure out how to re-wire their futures, Alex and Javier can’t help falling a bit deeper for each other. What would be an ordinary teen moment gets captured on film and uploaded to the Wholesome Home blog, however, putting Javier’s time at camp in serious jeopardy.
This book is really a good, fun, innocent read. The pace is perfect, with alternating POV of Alex and Javier telling the story. Their brief romance is natural and energizing–they both know they should stay away, but the attraction is fierce. Not an insta-love connection, they learn about each other and really connect on a deeper level–both Alex and Javier have felt unworthy of love a long time, for different reasons. I really appreciated the way Alex’s mother was written–she’s a confident woman willing to own up to her parenting mistakes and make amends. It’s a good example for Alex, who has many amends of her own to attend. I loved the end. Really. It’s how I hoped it would all turn out and I was NOT disappointed in the least. I liked this one better than CAMP BOYFRIEND, mainly because the story was so centered and there were far less clique-politics, for reasons that were explained in the first book.
Interested? You can find CAMP PAYBACK on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
You can also check out my review of the first book in this series: Camp Boyfriend. It features some of the same characters, but is a whole separate story.
About the Authors
J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law – Joanne & Karen Rock. Although they started out sharing an annual shopping trip, they ended up discussing their favorite films and books, joining the same book club and talking about writing… a lot. Their debut novel, Camp Boyfriend, is the first in a three-book series plotted during family pool parties.Their creative partnership is unique in that they enjoy passing a book back and forth, each adding a chapter and fine-tuning the chapter before. Years of friendship has yielded a shared voice and vision for their work that makes writing a pleasure. Learn more about Karen and Joanne at their website, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google +, You Tube
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