Camp Spirit is a YA graphic novel set in the 1990s in Ontario, where high-schooler Elodie has been appointed as a camp counselor for the summer. Elodie is very 90s grunge, is not at all interested in camping or the outdoors, and is the opposite of excited for her summer job. What starts as a frothy, pulpy sort of story takes a sharp turn about mid-way through, and turns this summer romance into a a graphic novel full of intrigue, mystical nightmares, demonic presences, and urban legends. Even through this shift, though, the book never loses its center- the growing friendship (and maybe more) between Elodie and camp counselor extraordinaire, Catherine.
If you happened to go to summer camps in the 1990s or thereabouts, like me, you will feel right at home in this story. There’s actually quite a bit of this camp story focused on Elodie’s growing fondness for the kids in her stead, all of which are redheaded, spunky girls. These girls each have individual characters, which is so nice to see for them being young and such minor characters. It added a lot to the camp atmosphere and was super cute to see.
This book is adorable and un-put-down-able, and I really loved both Elodie and Catherine. Their relationship is really slow and sweet, and I loved seeing them grow from acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends throughout the course of the story. Both of the characters feel very 90s, and it was really fun to read. Elodie is so perfectly 90s grunge, and I loved loved loved the depiction of her style.
The illustrations and coloring of the book are really nice, and perfectly evoke the camp setting. I think the scenery was especially well-captured, and the eerie blues and “demonic” greens were very effective in establishing the mystically creepy tone of the second half of the book.
Bottom line: All in all, this was a very solid 4 star graphic novel for me! I think it was exceptionally fun, lightly spooky, and a great read for both YA readers and lovers of graphic novels. I definitely felt the camp nostalgia, and loved my time with it.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review! Camp Spirit releases on April 14, 2020.