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‘Camp Spirit:’ Advance Graphic Novel Review

This is not your typical coming-of-age story; it is so much more. It's a 1990s period piece with summer fun, supernatural elements, and some LGBTQ romance. Elodie, a teen in 1994, doesn’t want to be a camp counselor in the summer before college; she wants to hang with her best friend. But in order to pay for her first year of college (Remember when you could do that with a summer job?), she had to leave normal society and spend her summer with a bunch of kids in the woods. Elodie has no idea what she is in for. Camp is going to be a lot different than she thought, and certainly not boring.

As a former camp counselor myself, this was a fun YA story that brought back some camp memories for me... although my camp experience was sans the wood spirits. I do wish they had put the time period of the story at the beginning and not a quarter of the way through. It was very confusing when the mom said that working one summer would pay for college and when Elodie talked to a picture of a young Brad Pitt. That, however, is my only critique.

I love getting what seems at first like a typical coming-of-age story, and then another element is added - in this case, ancient supernatural forest spirits. Because what is a good camp story without something weird and scary happening? As the folk horror genre starts becoming popular again - thanks to the resurgence of movies like Midsommar - it's great to see a YA title tapping into this type of story.

Elodie’s band of redheaded charges are possibly my favorite part of the story. When I was a camp counselor, they liked to stick me with the kids no one wanted or those that were deemed “difficult,” much like the other camp counselors did to Elodie. I also always won them over like she did. I love watching her lean into her role and become a leader to create a loyal band of ginger kids who are hilarious.  

The story was well paced and layered in the character development in a natural way. One of the hallmarks of a good YA title is seeing the growth of the main character, and you get that with Elodie. Camp Spirit is full of witty banter and rom-com moments, along with a solid dose of awesome, supernatural, spooky spirits.


Creative Team: Axelle Lenoir (Writer/Artist)
Publisher: Top Shelf
Click here to purchase.





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