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By L. C. Rosen
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A Lambda Award Finalist, A Today Show Best Book, A Forbes Best Book, and an ALA Rainbow List Top Ten selectionSet in a summer camp, this sweet and sharp screwball comedy set in a summer camp for queer teens examines the nature of toxic masculinity and self-acceptance.
Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim—who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, however, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’—buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself: How much is he willing to change for love? And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
The smell wraps around me like a reunion between old friends when I step off the bus. That dark soil smell, but mixed with something lighter. Something green that immediately makes me think of leaves in rain, or trees in the wind. I love this smell. I love it every summer. It’s the smell of freedom. Not that stupid kayaking-shirtless-in-a-Viagra-commercial freedom. That’s for straight people. This is different. It’s the who-cares-if-your-wrists-are-loose freedom. The freedom from having two seniors the table over joke about something being “so gay” at lunch.
Several tables are set out next to the parking lot, a big banner hanging over them: WELCOME TO CAMP OUTLAND.
This year, I admit, it smells a little different. Maybe not quite as free. But I knew it would be like this when I came up with my plan. This smell, I hope—slightly less pine, a bit more grass, the barest whiff of daisy, which I could be imagining—this is the smell of love.
“Keep it moving, keep it moving,” Joan, the camp director, calls out to us as we step off the bus we’ve been traveling in for the last several hours, waving her hands like a traffic cop. “Tables are by age—find your age, go to that table to register.”
I look for the table that says 16 and wait in line. I run my hands over my newly shortened hair. Until two days ago, it had been chin length and wavy and super cute, if I do say so myself, but I needed to lose it for the plan to work. The line of campers moves forward and I’m at the front, staring down at Mark, the theater counselor—my counselor. I think he’s in his forties, gray at the temples, skin that’s a little too tan for a white guy, wearing the Camp Outland polo, big aviator sunglasses, and a pin that says THEATER GAY in sparkly rainbow letters. This will be the big test. He looks up at me, and for a moment, there’s a flash, like he recognizes me, but then he squints, confused.
“What’s your name, honey?” he asks.
I smile. Not my usual big grin; I’ve been working on changing it. Now it’s more like a smirk.
“Randall,” I say. “Randall Kapplehoff.”
“Randy?” He practically shouts it, looking me over again as he stands up. “Oh my god, what happened to you?”
“Puberty,” I say, now smiling my real smile. I look around, bring it back to smirk.
“Honey, you were a baritone last summer, this isn’t puberty,” he says. “I barely recognized you.”
Good, I think. That’s the point.
“I just thought it was time for a change,” I say.
“Were you being bullied?” he asks, concerned eyes peeking over his sunglasses.
“No.” I shake my head. “Just… wanted to try something new.”
“Well,” Mark says, sitting down. “It’s certainly new. I hope you haven’t changed so much you’re not auditioning for the show this summer, though.”
“We’ll see,” I say.
He frowns and flips through the pages on his clipboard. “Well, at least you’ll still be hanging out with us. You’re in cabin seven.” He takes a name tag label out from the back of his clipboard and writes a big R on it before I think to stop him.
“Actually,” I say, putting out a hand, “it’s Del now.”
He peeks up at me over the sunglasses again. “Del?”
“Yeah.” I nod, chin first. “I’m Del.”
“Okay,” he says like he doesn’t believe me, and writes it out on a new name tag sticker and hands it to me. I press it over my chest, rubbing it in, hoping it will stick. “Well, I’m going to have to talk to my therapist about this later,” he says to himself. Then he glances at his watch and turns back to me. “Flagpole meet-up is at eleven. So, go pick a bunk and be there in twenty minutes.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“Later… Del,” he says.
I walk back over to the bus where our bags have been unloaded and pick up the big military surplus bag I bought online. The purple wheely bag with the stickers of cats wearing tiaras on it wasn’t going to work this summer. Neither was having my parents drop me off. I think that made them a little sad. Camp Outland had been their idea four years ago, after I came out. Not many other twelve-year-olds were talking about how dreamy and cute Skylar Astin was in Pitch Perfect 2, and how I hoped my boyfriend would look like him someday, so they thought it would be good for me to meet some other queer kids, and they found Camp Outland—a four-week sleepaway summer camp for LGBTQIA+ teens nestled in the woods of northern Connecticut.
And let’s be honest. It was an amazing idea. Every summer has been better than the last. But this summer is going to be the best. Because this summer, Hudson Aaronson-Lim is going to fall in love with me.
I hoist the military bag onto my shoulder, not flinching as the scratchy, cheap canvas brushes my ear, and follow the other campers down the path through the woods. The camp is built like a waterfall feature. At the top is the parking lot, then follow the stairs down and you end up at the administrative section—Joan the camp director’s office, the infirmary, the big meeting hall for movie nights. Then another flight down and you have a big open field lined with cabins. The tier below that is the last one—the real camp—and has the dining hall, pool, drama cabin, obstacle course, capture the flag field, arts and crafts cabin, and a boathouse next to the river. I stop at the cabin-lined field, surrounded by the woods. There’s a flagpole in the center of the field for morning camp-wide meet-ups and evening bonfires. Breakfast is at nine, lunch is at one, and dinner is at six, then lights-out at ten. Otherwise, we pretty much make our own schedules. Sign up for pool time, sports, waterskiing, or just drop by the arts and crafts cabin and spend all day gossiping and weaving friendship bracelets. My favorite thing every year, though, has been the drama cabin. Mark puts on a show, and you have to audition but it’s not like school where the pretty blond girl lands the lead every year. They don’t care about gender or appearance when casting, they just want everyone to have fun, and we always do. Last year, I was Domina in Funny Thing, and I got a standing ovation after “That Dirty Old Man.”
But this year, no theater. This year… sports. I manage not to shiver as I think about it.
“Hey,” a voice behind me says. A voice I know. It’s low and a little breathy. I turn around and there he is, Hudson Aaronson-Lim, in all his glory. Tall, with muscular arms bulging in his white tee, and equally appealing bulging in his black gym shorts. He has a broad, square face, shadowed by prominent cheekbones and a little stubble. His short black hair is swept to the side, but messy, like he doesn’t care. He is, without a doubt, the most attractive man I’ve ever seen in real life. And more attractive than half the men I’ve seen on-screen. He’s got a killer smile, and he unleashes it on me now, crooked and a little sleazy, but only enough to make it sexy. I get that feeling I get around him, like I’m filled with stars and can be anything I want, do anything I want—conquer the world. Checking in on his Instagram never really gives me the same feeling. It’s a high I’ve missed all year.
“Hi,” I say after too long a silence. I hope I’m not blushing.
“You new?” he asks.
I smirk. He barely noticed me before, so it’s not surprising he wouldn’t recognize me. Now I have his attention.
“You could say that,” I answer, not wanting to outright lie.
He steps closer. I coordinated my outfit perfectly for this meeting. Brown flannel button-down with short sleeves, untucked; olive-green shorts; yellow sneakers that pick out the yellow in the flannel. I’ve also lost twenty pounds, cut my hair off, and studied the “bros” at school all year. I am, I think, Hudson’s dream boy. A masc fantasy. Sure, I watch everything I do now, and I won’t be able to be in the show this summer, but it’ll all be worth it for love.
I smell him as he steps closer—this sort of faded lightning smell, like day-old deodorant and maple. I work hard to keep my knees from shaking.
“I’m Hudson,” he says.
“Del,” I say, keeping my voice low.
“So, what cabin are you in?” He’s really close now. I can feel the heat off his body and I wonder if he can feel it off mine, like we’re touching.
“Seven,” I say.
“Oh.” He raises an eyebrow. “So, did you pick that?”
“It’s my lucky number,” I say.
“Well, I’m cabin fourteen,” he says. “So maybe your luck is changing.”
“Something wrong with seven?” I ask.
“Nah, they’re good people,” he says. “But I think you’d have more fun with me—in my cabin. Folks like us.” He waves his finger back and forth between us, almost like a question, a “We going to do this?” and I have to take a deep breath to keep from nodding.
“Well, it’s just where I’m sleeping, right?” I say.
“Yeah,” he laughs, and reaches out and gives my shoulder a squeeze. This is the first time he’s intentionally touched me and it’s something I’ve wanted for years and it’s hard not to melt right away, but instead I just lock eyes with him and smile. Remember, I tell myself, you want him to fall in love with you. If I just wanted to screw him, I could probably do that right now—but I’m going to be the guy who finally gets Hudson to commit. No one else has done it, but I will. Because I have a plan.
“Well,” he says, dropping his hand, his eyes closing just a little, like he’s curious, “I’ll see you around, I hope.”
“I hope so,” I say, and he grins, and I wonder for a moment if it was too much, but no, I think, as I turn around and head for my cabin, that was just enough. I look back after a few steps and he’s still watching me and smiles when he sees me watching and then heads for his own cabin.
Okay, I say in my head, walking slowly, breathe in, breathe out. My legs feel like jelly, my heart is racing. Okay. Okay okay okay. Step one, done. It worked. IT WORKED. Maybe this whole thing could work? Maybe I didn’t give up carbs and cut off my hair and spend hours working on my walk and voice and learning not to talk with my hands or quote a show tune every sentence for nothing. Maybe I can really win my dream guy.
I walk into the cabin and George starts screaming. “OH MY GOD,” he says, giving me a hug. “I was watching from the window, and I almost didn’t recognize you—I mean, I saw the photos on Snapchat, of course, darling, and everything you texted me, but I didn’t think you’d really be going through with the wardrobe and styling changes.” He reaches up and pets the air where my hair used to be. “Poor hair,” he says solemnly. “But you just talked to him, and he totally checked out your ass as you walked away! Could you feel his dark, sexy eyes just burrowing into you?” He wiggles his eyebrows.
“Hey,” Ashleigh says from her top bunk on the side of the room, where she’s flipping through a comic.
I let my bag drop, and I take one long dramatic breath.
“I think it’s going to work,” I say.
George screams again, one big drag queen shriek.
I grin, and look them both over. My two best camp friends. Two best friends, really. It feels sad saying that about people I only see for four weeks out of the year, but we e-mail and text, and watch Drag Race together while in a group chat, and it’s not like I have other queer friends. There’s not even a GSA at my tiny school in eastern Ohio. Like, I’m sure there are other queer kids, and maybe they’re even out, a little, like I am, to a few friends and their parents, but no one is talking about it. Once you start talking about it, other people join the conversation, and in eastern Ohio, they don’t always say nice things.
My transformation at school didn’t go unnoticed, though. I was still a theater kid (always the chorus, never a lead—there, anyway), but suddenly the girls were looking at me differently, asking me to hang out. I pretended to be sick a lot. My parents gave me weird looks a lot, too, and asked if everything was okay, but I just smiled and told them things were great. It was definitely strange. But worth it if I can go back to school with my phone lock screen as a photo of Hudson and me making out.
“So,” George says when he’s done screaming, “what’s the timeline on this? You’re still going to be able to hang out with us, right? Mark says they’re going to do Bye Bye Birdie this year, and I am so excited! Darling, you know I’m going to cut some bitches to play Kim, so don’t even think of going up against me.”
George spreads his fingers out in front of him, his nails painted in green and gold to spell B CAMP @ CAMP. I’ve been so focused on my own physical changes over the school year, I guess I didn’t notice his on Snapchat and Instagram. He doesn’t look that different. He’s still “stocky,” as we call ourselves (well, called, in my case, I guess), but his face is a little more angular, and the stubble and chest hair peeking out from the collar of his purple V-neck give his sandy-colored complexion more maturity. His black curly hair is still shaved at the sides and big on top, but it looks less like a kid’s haircut and more like a man’s. He’s gone from looking too young for his age to looking a little older than the rest of us. And he’s wearing it well. Ashleigh hasn’t changed at all. Same denim cutoffs, same black-and-white flannel wrapped around her waist and black tank top. Same rough-looking undercut, one side of her head shaved, the other side’s unwashed wavy hair falling over her thin, pale face. She’s the ultimate theater techie. Lights, sound, stage managing—she does it all, way better than anyone else.
“I don’t know if I can be in the musical,” I say, trying not to sound as sad as I feel about it.
“Darling, no,” George says, shaking his head. “I know you have this plan and all, but there’s always time for theater!” He does jazz hands.
Ashleigh looks up from her comic, a worn-out copy of Deadly Class. “You’re giving up theater for this guy?” she asks. “Really?”
“That’s the plan,” I say. “And he’s not just some guy. He’s Hudson. THE Hudson. The perfect man.” As I say it, a few more old friends come into the bunk—other theater kids. We say hi, give each other hugs, some tell me they like my haircut. Jordan does a double take and says, “Whoa, didn’t recognize you. Cool look, though,” with slightly worried eyes before grabbing a bed. I take the bunk next to George’s, under Ashleigh.
“I thought you’d be taking the top bunk with that new hair,” George says.
“Calm down,” I say. “It’s just a haircut.”
“And no theater,” Ashleigh says.
“What are you going to do all summer?” George asks.
“Sports, I guess,” I say, not really sure which ones I mean. “Obstacle course stuff, arts and crafts.”
“Well, at least we’ll have that,” George says.
“I just don’t get this, Randy,” Ashleigh says. “Like, I get you have a crush on the guy, but—”
“It’s more than a crush,” I say. “He makes me feel… different. He’s special.”
Ashleigh sighs above me, and I see George stare up at her, exchanging a look.
“And call me Del now,” I add. “At least in public.”
“Del.” George tries it out. “I don’t hate it.”
“I do,” Ashleigh says. “It’s not your name.”
“It’s the other part of Randall,” I say, taking out my sheets—plain gray this year, not the rainbow unicorn sheets I usually bring—and making my bed. “It’s fine. I’m not forgetting who I am. I’m just changing the way other people see me.”
“To be more masculine.” Ashleigh says it with disgust. She hops down from her bunk and helps me tuck the corners of my sheet in. “As if that means anything. Gender essentialist nonsense.”
“It’s a type,” George says, shrugging.
“It’s what Hudson likes,” I say, sitting down on my made bed and smoothing out the gray sheets. They’re high thread count, at least. They may look different, but they feel the same.
“And you’re sure all this is worth it?” Ashleigh asks.
“Absolutely,” I say.
We gather around the flagpole in a semicircle, staring up at Joan, who’s looking at her clipboard and making that face she makes all the time, with her mouth twisted to one side. I sit next to George and Ashleigh. I can still be friends with them—that won’t hurt the plan. I decided if he didn’t like me being friends with them, then he wasn’t the guy I thought he was, the one who believes we’re all special and can do anything. He might not know how we’re old, close friends, but that’s not important. Besides, I’m going to need their help.
I spot Hudson on the other side of the circle and he waves at me. I smile. Next to him is his best friend, Brad—tall, lanky, shaved head, and dark skin. He’s like Hudson, in that he’s into sports and doesn’t wear nail polish, but strangely, Brad has never been one of Hudson’s conquests. No one is sure why—it’s one of the great mysteries of camp, like whether someone really died in cabin three, or why the cabins aren’t gender-exclusive but the changing rooms by the pool are.
“I’m going to need you to show me the tree later,” I tell George and Ashleigh.
“You’ve seen the tree,” Ashleigh says. She’s already been down to the arts and crafts cabin and raided it for string and is weaving a bracelet.
“Randy has,” I say. “Del hasn’t. Del needs to see the tree while Hudson is watching so I can say I’d never want to be with a playboy like that.”
“Playboy?” George says. “Darling, this isn’t the sixties. We don’t talk like that.”
“I’m more worried about how he talked about himself in the third person, and as two different people,” Ashleigh says.
“It helps me distinguish,” I say. “Del is like a role.”
“Method actors,” George says, his voice dripping disdain. “All right, all right, I’ll help you out—but I don’t know how you’re going to get him to eavesdrop on us.”
“Just take me to see the tree when I ask you to, okay?”
“Attention, please!” Joan is standing at the flagpole in the center of the cabins, holding her hand up. “When the hand goes up!” she says.
“The mouth goes shut!” shout about half the campers in response. Some people keep talking, but Joan keeps her hand raised and eventually everyone quiets down.
“Thank you,” Joan says. Joan always seems like she hasn’t gotten enough sleep. She’s maybe in her fifties, with short curly hair and big plastic glasses I swear she’s had since the seventies on a chain around her neck, always in the purple camp polo and cargo shorts. “Hello, and welcome to Camp Outland!” she says with half-hearted enthusiasm and a smile that would probably be big if she had the energy. “I’m Joan Ruiz, and I run the camp. I’ll be leading meetings here every morning at eight, and I handle our LGBTQIA+ history activities on Monday nights. Otherwise, you’re probably only going to be hearing my voice if you get in trouble, so let’s talk about how not to do that. First—no cell phones, no computers, no smart watches or belts or whatever they have these days. We have boom boxes in each cabin, if you need music, but otherwise, no technology. If we catch you with a phone or anything else, you’ll be put on kitchen cleanup for a week, and we will confiscate the phone. You won’t get it back until you go home. It’ll be dead by then, so you won’t be able to immediately get on the Internet, where I know you’ll want to be. That also means you have to write letters—Real Mail, I call it—if you want to talk to your friends or family back home. Next: food! You have to be at all three meals a day. If you’re vegan or vegetarian or kosher or halal, you should have told us already and we’re prepared for you, but if for some reason you didn’t, come see me after flagpole. You eat what you’re given. It’s not so bad, I promise. Yes, you can be sent candy and snacks from home, but only things that follow the rules—nothing with peanuts or sesame seeds or anything anyone is deathly allergic to—your counselors have a list. When you get food from home, your cabin counselor will go through it to make sure it meets the rules. Don’t leave food out! That’s how you get ants. More ants. And if you’re going to gamble with candy, just do it over cards. No betting on who’s going throw up after eating too much or who’s going to drop the egg during the egg race. That’s just mean. No drinking! If we catch you with drugs or alcohol, you’ll be kicked out. Same if you’re caught outside your cabin after curfew.”
I pluck the grass as Joan goes on, stealing glances at Hudson, who I’m pleased to see is stealing glances at me. We lock eyes once and I grin. This might be going too smoothly. The issue now is making sure he knows I’m not just going to be another conquest. That’s what he does. A different boy every two weeks at camp. A week of wooing, a week of holding hands and sneaking out to the Peanut Butter Pit, and then, inevitably, a breakup with some tears.
They always stay friends, though. Hudson is the master of staying friends—and that makes sense. He’s nice about it, he never cheats on them, they always just… consciously uncouple.
But I’m going to knock all those other bitches out of the water. ’Cause Hudson is going to stay with me all summer. And beyond that, too. We’re going to be boyfriends and share a tent on the canoe trip the second-to-last weekend of camp.
When Joan is done talking, she introduces the nurse, Cosmo, a skeletal man in his sixties with long gray hair to his shoulders.
“Just stay healthy, everybody,” he says by way of his speech. “Like, water, sunscreen. You know.” He waves at us and walks away. Joan frowns a little, then hoists the big rainbow flag on the flagpole, running it up to the top, where it starts flapping in the breeze. Everyone watches in silence, but with smiles. I admit, I grow a little teary-eyed at it every year—can you blame me? This is our special home. The scent of the wind rushes back, heavy with that smell—definitely freedom—and I close my eyes. I can’t tear up this year. Hudson is watching, and butch boys don’t cry in public.
“Okay,” Joan says, after the flag is raised. “Go unpack, make your schedules with your bunk counselors, then there’ll be some group time, some free swim, and then dinner. After dinner, the counselors are going to put on a talent show for you folks. Go with pride!” she shouts, the official dismissal.
Everyone scatters up and heads back toward their cabins, but I see Hudson coming in my direction. George and Ashleigh look at me, as if waiting for something.
“I’ll see you at the cabin,” I say. George gives me some side-eye as they walk away.
“Hey,” Hudson says, arriving just as they leave. “So, your bunkmates showing you the ropes?”
“Yeah,” I say. “It all seems so awesome.”
“It is,” Hudson says. “Like, could you ever imagine a place like this when you were closeted? No people calling you names, no people asking if you’ve tried being straight, putting you down. None of that bullying crap. It’s amazing.”
“I can’t imagine anyone bullying you,” I say, looking him over.
“Well, not anymore,” he says. “My trick is to beat them at their own game.” I don’t know what he means, but I nod like I do. “So, anyway, I just wanted to tell you you should sign up for the adventure elective.”
“Yeah?” I ask.
“Yeah, I always do. It rocks. We mess around on the obstacle course and hike and stuff. Oh, and I try to take my swim class period before lunch… if you want to see me in a bathing suit.” He grins, all wolfish charm, and I feel a heat flash down my spine and legs to my toes.
“Okay,” I say.
“And, so, let’s try to hang out—just us—when we have some free time.” He bites the side of his lower lip as he looks at me, like he’s nervous.
“Yeah,” I manage to squeak out.
“Cool,” he says. “See you later.” He jogs off and I watch him go, feeling my heart rise and fall in rhythm to his legs.
“Later,” I say, after he’s way out of earshot. Then I turn around and head back to my cabin.
Inside, music is playing. A sort of vintage doo-wop vibe, but no vocals. It makes me think of really old-fashioned dancing, like where they twist their hips with their arms bent. And apparently, I’m not the only one thinking of that, because several of my bunkmates are dancing just like that.
“Randy,” Mark says as I come in. He’s our cabin counselor. “So nice of you to join us.”
“Del,” I say.
“Right,” he says, “sorry. Anyway, as I was just telling everyone, the musical this summer is Bye Bye Birdie, and to make sure we’re really living that retro vibe, I’ll be playing nothing but fifties and sixties music in this cabin. I encourage you to dance to it.” He gestures at the campers, who have managed to get themselves in synch—a semi-choreographed routine with hip swivels and tossing back their heads. “It’ll give you a feel for the music.”
“And it inspires me!” Crystal says. She’s the other cabin counselor and plays choreographer to Mark’s director. She has wavy blond hair to her shoulders and always wears loose-fitting skirts and peasant blouses. Right now she’s dancing… but not to the music, near as I can tell. Just… to something in her head.
“Okay,” I say. And I can feel my feet tapping—I want to join in. I want to dance with the rest of them. I take a step forward. Hudson is in his own cabin. He won’t see me.
Praise for Camp:
Lambda Award Finalist for Best YA Novel
A Today Show Best Book of 2020
A Forbes Best Book of 2020
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020
A Booklist Editor’s Choice Books for Youth 2020
An Elle Best Book of 2020
ALA Rainbow List Top Ten
Alma’s Best YA novel of the Year
A Bookcrushin Favorite Book of 2020
A United by Pop Best YA of 2020
An Overdrive Best Book of 2020
"Packed with an amazing cast of unforgettable characters, Camp is the perfect read for anyone wondering if they're too much or not enough of their true self. It's the must-read book of the summer."—Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running With Lions
"A powerful, yet nuanced, illustration of every queer person's struggle with identity, presented in Rosen's trademark blend of levity and wit. Charming and clever, this story simply sparkles."—Phil Stamper, author of The Gravity of Us
"Camp has everything you're looking for: A winning romance, a celebration of queerness, a reflection on what it takes to embrace your most authentic self, and answers to questions most queer boys often don't know how to ask in the first place."—Caleb Roerhig, author of Death Prefers Blondes
Camp is a pitch-perfect, joyfully queer take on the classic summer camp sex romp. With a loveable lead and a fabulous cast of supporting characters, it's the sweetest YA romance I've read in a long time.—Tom Ryan, author of Keep This to Yourself
"The gay summer camp romp of my dreams: a romantic summertime joyride and a thoughtful examination of gay culture. Gay teens or anyone who knows a gay teen should read this book."—Cale Dietrich, Author of The Love Interest
"Camp is a divine treat. A subversive explosion of masc/fem stereotypes wrapped inside a sparkly, funny, heartstring-plucking romance. At once delightfully cynical and buoyantly hopeful, Rosen uses Camp to take aim at everything the LGBTQ community is currently wrestling with and needs to hear."—Adam Sass, author of Surrender Your Sons
"Joyful, exuberant, incisive, and terrifically queer. CAMP is a romcom with bite and heart, one that examines the walls we build around ourselves-and promises us we have the power to tear them down. This is literary wizardry."—Adib Khorram, award-winning author of Darius the Great is Not Okay
"Gloriously gay ... Highly anticipated"—NewNowNext
"This novel has the appeal of a rom-com movie-makeover but with more substantive explorations of self-betrayal, self-evaluation, and eventual awakening. Secondary characters are ethnically diverse; Hudson is Korean and Ukrainian. A drag act that plays with compassion and camp."—Kirkus
*"An essential pick for teens figuring out who and how to love."—Booklist, starred review
"...as inventive, cute, and glittery as its arts and crafts-centric cover. In this masterful mix of rom-com hijinks, theater references, queer history, and gender theory, Rosen plays with tropes and expectations in a way that will absolutely delight you."—Elle.com
"...successfully captures the fleeting feelings of first love and explores identity..."—Shelf Awareness
- On Sale
- May 26, 2020
- Page Count
- 384 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers