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?
Title: Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend #2)
Author: JK Rock
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Expected Publication Date: April 29, 2014
RATING: 3/5 Stars
The Cover Contessa's Review:
I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I loved Camp Boyfriend, Camp Kiss, and Camp Christmas, so I was really excited to read this! Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.
As with the first book, I love this cover. The covers of these books really portray the feeling of being away at summer camp. They are sweet and light and pretty. The cover certainly got me in the mood for the read!
Alex is looking for revenge. Her perfect family always makes her the scapegoat for all the bad things a teen can do. She's looking to go to camp and have the best summer of her life no matter what. She is full of attitude and anger. I have to say that Alex actually annoyed me, a lot. I wanted to reach through the page and smack her in the head. I just couldn't wrap my mind around her needing revenge so bad. I mean, I got that she was angry with her family, but she wanted to involve everyone else in her anger and it just got to me. I could not come to like her. I just felt no connection. Even once she resolved her issues, I could not feel any empathy for her at all.
Javier, on the other hand, was easier to like. He was a sweet and loyal guy, especially to his mother. He came across warm and completely honest, there was nothing he seemed to really be hiding (even though it took him a bit to tell Alex about his mom). I didn't find him as swoon worthy as the boys from the other books, but I don't think it really mattered. What mattered was his personality and how he was determined to pull his way out of a bad situation. He did, however, give mixed signals, which bothered me. I understood it was to show how torn he was between needing what he needed and staying true to his mother
We saw some old characters: Julian, Emily, Bam Bam, and a few others. It was nice to watch them be in the background. It brought a familiarity to the story and that made me happy.
I have to say that I had a really hard time getting into this book, which made me sad. It wasn't that the story was terrible, because it's believable enough. I just had no empathy for Alex and that caused me to read it much more slowly than I anticipated (especially since I flew through the other stories written by these authors). The dual POV definitely helped to break things up. And I enjoyed Javier's parts much more than Alex's. I looked forward to his chapters.
I felt like the pacing was off with this book. Some parts would go quickly, others would drag. There was a lot of the same situation happening again and again. I know it was for the learning experience and to help the characters, specifically Alex, to develop and understand why they needed to change, but I didn't see the need for it.
My biggest issue this book was the unrealistic things that happened. First, Javier and Alex go off campus so he can cook for a movie set. It's just not believable. I went to camp for many years and we would never have been allowed off campus, unless it was a field trip for my group or something of that sort. Same with Javier's trip with Bam Bam. Camp is about the experience of being with a group. Honestly, there's not much individuality happening because it's about your friends and what you do together. Yet Bam Bam is allowed to take a camper camping alone for the weekend? It just made no sense to me.
The romance, which was a main part of the book, was ok. It was sweet at times, and other times annoying because of how wishy washy Javier could be. Oh and the fact that Alex seemed like she was using him rather than really falling for him. I would have liked to see a bit more depth to their relationship. But, I am a hopeless romantic, so I was happy with how things ended. It was nicely rounded.
I loved Emily. I think she is one of my favorite characters in this book. She makes so much of the campers time. And I understood how the bunkmates were trying to help Alex realize her faults, but it just didn't feel real. It felt forced.
I was excited to see that we got a glimpse of Seth in this book, albeit not as much as I would have liked. I missed Lauren and Matt, though.
I really like how JK Rock writes. The words flow easily with nothing complicated and overly done. I like that they keep it simple.
Overall this story was enjoyable for me. I do wish it had been more gripping after the first few chapters. I think those who liked the other JK Rock books will really enjoy this book.
**DISCLAIMER*** I am a publicist for Spencer Hill Press but I am not involved with this book in any way.
Writing partners Joanne and Karen Rock pen Young Adult books as a team in addition to solo careers as adult romance writers (learn more below). Married into the same big, boisterous clan, Joanne and Karen quickly bonded over a shared love of books. After a decade of re-plotting their favorite films during family parties, they decided to write a book of their own. They sold their first attempt to the Spencer Hill Contemporary imprint for Spencer Hill Press as the launch title. Joanne and Karen are busy plotting new camp stories and look forward to meeting readers next summer when they're not doing interviews online or blogging on theScene 13 blog on the 29th of each month. Check out Karen's recent appearance on the USA Today blog, Happy Ever After! They love to hear from readers, so please contact them with questions or comments about their work.