Camp Strange - Book Review


Camp Strange

Author: Renee Perez
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: March 21, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684332516
ISBN-13: 9781684332519


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Book Review of :  Camp Strange


Fifth grade really sucks for Renee Perez’s protagonist Ezekiel Raroso. He is a magnet for bullies, specifically his classmate Bradley who is also known as, “Butt Face;” he has made a habit of harassing Ezekiel and not even the school’s principal buffers him from the constant torment.  Ezekiel has his little group of friends who are all victimized by Bradley and his penchant for administering wedgies and swirlies to them. The fact is that Ezekiel Raroso doesn’t have much to look forward to in school. But one day something astounding occurs with a science project that Ezekiel had worked very hard on; the event reveals to him some mysterious and powerful abilities that he possesses and had been totally unaware of. The hilarious yet somewhat frightening event with the science project is a turning point in his life.

His family had refrained from warning him of his magical powers. The school disaster reminds them that it is time that Ezekiel becomes educated about who he is and the powers he possesses. So off to “Camp Strange,” a summer camp that teaches fledgling uninformed fairies what they will experience in life and how to coexist with others.  Ezekiel is an outsider at camp just as he was back in school, but slowly he begins to gain confidence, and things start to change for the better.  The camp, Ezekiel names “Camp Strange,” which is apropos because it is a place where young fairies learn how to control their many strange powers. One power that Ezekiel quickly learns about is his ability to fly.  It is at Camp Strange where his body starts to change, and he is astonished that he has developed wings. He gets a chance to show off how well he can use them when he saves one of the other fairies who was falling four stories and unable to fly. Renee Perez writes:

“Kalos!” Ezekiel shouted as he went plunging through the drapery wall. All he could think about was catching him. He felt the heat in his wings as they spread fiercely, beating faster and faster allowing him to pass Kalos’ fall. He opened his arms seizing Kalos’ hood, then the chest of his vest into his chest, clasping him in a bear hug. His heart was racing, and he slowed himself down allowing them to safely touch the ground.

I love Ezekiel as the protagonist; he has emotional depth as well as determination and spunk when he needs it.

Renee Perez’s plot is interesting enough, mostly told from Ezekiel’s perspective with occasional flashes from his five summer camp friends and other characters it maintains a nice balance between action and internal maturation. I truly enjoyed the unpredictability and suspenseful nature of the story as it kept me eagerly reading. There is a great deal of adventure throughout the novel including a struggle with some nasty wing stealing adversaries.  

For Ezekiel to fully understand what’s suddenly happening to him, he has to learn a lot about a world he never knew existed before. Camp strange is a place where you learn to lace shoes by just thinking about it, flying around playing games and learning about love at the Summer Solstice Bash. But even at Camp Strange, Ezekiel still has to endure the taunts and bullying from another fairy named Fabian.

Camp Strange is Ezekiel’s camp adventures of enchantment, suspense, and danger that all serve to hone his refined sensibilities, and his host of mysterious powers while reminding him that he is quite strange, indeed, but in a very exciting way.

Renee Perez has written a rich and compelling coming-of-age story filled with magic and mystique that young adult readers will find delightful.

Published by Black Rose Writing

Reviewed by: david H.

About Renee Perez

As a kid, I was always drawing the world around me and writing about it. (Some repetitive doodles of zombies and monsters too!) Story lines always followed me - I could literally write about ANYTHING! I wrote stories about school, my friends and evil milk cartons. I absolutely love to tell a story.

I'm really excited to tell the story of Ezekiel Raroso in my debut book series, Camp Strange. Camp Strange is inspired by my summer camp experiences as a Girl Scout, the not-so-comfortable feelings I had in my own skin as a middle grader and the personalities of my three children. My oldest, the real life Ezekiel is my primary inspiration as I was able to build a world of magic and friendship based on the "quirks" of his autism. Camp Strange is a place where being odd is magical!

When not writing, I love spending time watching my kids in their various sports and I always make time to be "Team Mom". Some of my favorite moments are when we're cuddled up watching the same Ryan's Toy Review YouTube video for the gajillionth time,


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