Camp Payback by J. K. Rock
Series: Camp Boyfriend #2
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Source: Spencer Hill Contemporary [Netgalley]
I went into Camp Payback with extremely low expectations after Camp Boyfriend (which I didn't really enjoy) and surprisingly, I ended up enjoying it.
Camp Payback is a companion novel to Camp Boyfriend. It follows the same group of characters - minus the Camp Boyfriend main characters - at Camp Jupiter. Alex has big plans for this summer. She's determined to rebel against the Wholesome Family image that her family likes to put on and have a bit of fun for once, before she's shipped off to boarding school. Javier is on his last chance and is given a job in the kitchen at Camp Jupiter for the summer. He's determined to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, but then he meets Alex. Alex and Javier both have a lot to loose, but they can't seem to stay away from each other.
Alex was a breath of fresh air compared to Lauren. Alex actually had a bit of depth that made me feel a bit bad for her sometimes. She's forced into promoting a Wholesome Family image, but her parents make money off of writing about her failings as a perfect child. I felt so bad for Alex. She's basically not allowed to have any fun or a life because of her father. And because of him, she feels like she needs to rebel at camp this year - her last hurrah. Alex has a lot of passion, but it gets suppressed under her father's rule, so it was really nice to get to see her doing things she loved.
Javier is extremely misunderstood. He's been passed off from foster home to foster home because his mother is in jail for writing some bad checks. He does everything he can to try to see her, but it only gets him in trouble. He's on his last chance when his neighbour takes pity on him and gets him a job. Javier is such a sweet and caring guy. He was honestly do anything for his mother and he's working so hard to keep his head down and not get into trouble. He's got a bit of a temper, but it's mainly because he hasn't been taught how to deal with it - which Bam-Bam sets out to fix.
Alex had a lot of learning to do a camp this year. She had to learn to open her eyes and ears, see everyone else around her and listen to them for once. Vijay is basically harassing Alex this year (after they were all over each other in the previous book) and I just couldn't work out what his deal was. He seems to truly hate Alex and he was determined to make her miserable. Unlike in the previous book, Alex's friends didn't go in a huff with her - like the did with Lauren. It was nice to actually see them acting like friends instead of 5 year olds.
The ending was a very perfect, tied with a bow ending. Honestly, I expected it because of the way the book was going, but I could have done with a realistic ending.
Overall, Camp Payback was an improvement on Camp Boyfriend with characters I actually cared about who had some depth and real problems. I kind of want to read Camp Forget Me Not because I like Kayla (and her story sounds interesting), but I won't be buying it any time soon.