So, let me tell you that when I read the summary for this series debut, I was stoked. I mean, the idea of a summer camp experience for super natural teens was one that I hadn’t heard of. The thought of it was so funny, without being completely ridiculous.
Unfortunately, I was seriously let down. The book was about as exciting as watching paint try. Actually, I’m an artist, watching paint dry is definitely more exciting than reading this novel.
Kylie Galen is a typical teenage girl. Except, she kind of sees ghosts. Okay, not ghosts, but one ghost in particular, Soldier Dude. Solider Dude, as Kylie calls him throughout the novel, started stalking Kylie not long before the novel begins. Her mother, who thinks the vision of the solider ghost is a reaction to some emotional stress and trauma because of the divorce, and sends Kylie to a shrink. To top it all off, Kylie was also recently dumped by her boyfriend of over a year.
Kylie attends and end of summer party with some friends, and in true teen story tradition, the cops bust the party. Kylie’s mother decided to ship her off to summer camp, concerned that she might go down the wrong path. Though, in Kylie’s defense, she did not drink or do drugs, though they were available at the party.
Cue the summer camp. Kylie figures out almost immediately that the camp is for freaks. Freaky freaks. She learns that the camp is a camp for the supernatural. The government is making an effort to create peace between the species. We have werewolves, vampires, witches, and fae (fairy folk). And then there’s Kylie. She has an anomaly in her brain that prevents them from figuring out exactly what she is, only cueing that she is in fact, supernatural.
The story develops very, very little beyond that, with the exception of some serious boy drama. See, my BIGGEST problem I had with this young adult novel, wasn’t the anticlimactic plot line, it wasn’t the limited character development of the protagonist, it wasn’t even the dry writing. It was the hormone driven superficial portrayal of teenage girls.
Seriously, guys. In the matter of only a few days, Kylie kisses 3 different boys. 3. She is all over the place emotionally each time, and it’s like it doesn’t even matter to her that she kissed a werewolf, a human, and a fae in such a short span of time. Not to mention, most of the other female characters are boy obsessed as well. It was so stinking frustrating to read (well, I technically listened to the audiobook) and just hear Kylie’s hormone powered internal dialogue pine over this boy when she sees him, then it’s this boy, then THIS one. My bets are on the werewolf in the end, though, because he’s the most mysterious bad boy with the dark hair and stunning eyes. *Yawn* Like we haven’t read that one hundred times already.
Okay, okay, I will quit bashing the novel and get to the review. So, while the story itself doesn’t have any major theology cooties (other than the ghost thing, but it’s not really explained at all, and the vampires are not immortal) the problem here is the casual sex talk, the ridiculous hormone driven characters. I was a teenager not too long ago, I remember what it was like. I know the fuzzy warm feelings that come with being 16 and seeing cute boys, but unlike most of us in the real life, for Kylie there was little self control, and no emotional consequence or personal evaluation about what she was doing. Kissing 3 boys in one summer is going to have an emotional consequence for everyone involved. Especially at 16. I just don’t like the portrayal of this as a leading character. Also, there was major swearing. Lots of yucky words, and lots of sexual innuendos and there was also a descriptive scene where Kylie was in a soaking wet white t shirt. So, yeah. Lots of reason to love Kylie. Only not.
Because of the sexually driven content, while not graphic, and no main characters actively had more than a kiss, I give this a 9 out of 10 on the cootie scale. But I don’t think it’s worth reading, even if you could omit all of the unfortunate stuff. It wasn’t exciting, I had to force myself through this 11 hour audiobook (wish I could get that time back) and then I ended up having to work out the southern accent out of my head. (The audio book was narrated with a heavy accent, lol).
I might try and make it through book 2, simply because I’m rooting for some character development. But I admittedly don’t know if I can stomach it.
So, yeah. I need to go wash my brain and re-read Divergent, or Hunger Games, because i need to be reminded of a female heroine that can have a great plot, be totally kick-butt, and still manage to have romantic feelings that don’t seem to be all over the place.