Having enjoyed Seagle's American Virgin series which I reviewed in August 2015, I was interested to see what he'd do with a children's story, and I wasn't disappointed.
Illustrated very nicely and appropriately by Jason Katzenstein, in really eye-catching bright and shifting colors, this children's novel tells a really good story about a feisty girl, Skye, who accidentally gets sent to a summer camp for monsters instead of one for children. I fell in love with Skye from the off. She's self-possessed, willful, motivated, thoughtful, and doesn't take crap from anyone. Why is it that so few female YA authors are able to create main characters like this?!
Maybe I had Halloween on the brain, but I swear I didn't plan on having three scare stories in my lap at the same time: not only an audiobook version of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes about two kids, but also two advance review copies of stories where a kid is bundled off for the summer away from a primary parent who is going to be wa-ay out of town, and the kid ends up surrounded by monsters! It will make for an interesting comparison of the latter two, though one is a graphic novel. and the other a chapter book.
In this graphic novel, Skye's mom is off to Rwanda for the summer, and isn't about to take Skye along (I'm guessing she doesn't want Skye coming down with Ebola or being recruited into a children's army, but heaven help any Ebola virus or psycho military commander who tries to mess with Skye!). The young daughter is sent to stay with her dad and step mom - a non-mom she despises. Evidently the feeling is mutual, since stepmom has convinced real dad to bundle Skye off to summer camp. Naturally Skye not only feels like crap about this, but is acting out over it, and doing a professional job.
Intentionally or not, Skye ends up on the bus to Camp Midnight, and if the bus trip isn't creepy enough, the camp itself is creepier. The only friend Skye makes is Mia, a spirited but wilting violet of a girl she meets on the back seat of the bus. Their relationship is amusingly thorny to begin with, but broadens and deepens as the story progresses. Skye is surprised to discover that life in the camp seems to start at midnight instead of daybreak, and she eventually discovers that all the other kids (even the hottie boy she encounters) are monsters of one hue or another, and the camp counsellor is a witch.
Skye is in a bit of a panic as to what to declare herself as, when her friend Mia declares she will reveal what she is at a time and place of her choosing, and not before. Skye likes this idea, and adopts this same posture herself. Contrary to expectations that this might make her into the very a pariah she's starting o feel she already is, it lends her a mystique, and people grow interested in her, including the hottie boy, who has a hair-raising story of his own.
But what exactly, is Mia, and why do some of the other campers seem to despise her? And what will Skye do when Mia comes out and everyone finds out? The joy of this story was in finding out exactly how Skye navigates her way through this morass of monstrous, this quagmire of queer (in the olde fashion'd sense). needless to say - but I;;l say it - she does a fine job and ends up deciding she wants to return to this camp next year - and the start of a series, presumably. But not everything pans out the way you might think it might. I recommend this as a truly worthy read.