Graphic Novel Review: Camp by Kayla Miller
Author-illustrator Kayla Miller is back with Olive in this emotional and honest story about navigating new experiences, learning to step outside one’s comfort zone, and the satisfaction of blazing your own trails.
Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long. . . the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?
Look for more of Olive’s adventures in Click!
In Camp, readers follow Olive– the protagonist at the heart of Click– as she and one of her friends from school, Willow, spend their summer months together at a camp with lots of awesome activities available to its campers. Olive continues to be a pretty cool and friendly protagonist, open to new people and new adventures. As illustrated in Click, Olive is a bit a chameleon, able to mix with and fit in with various groups of people; in Camp, we can see how those traits, which Olive mistakenly thought were a a big negative, are quite a big positive when it comes to a new place and new faces! Conversely, we see how her friend Willow, who belongs to a particular clique back home, struggles during the majority of her time at camp. Friction arises between the two when Olive feels the strain of having to stay by Willow’s side, and then feeling guilty for wanting to branch out during lessons, group projects, or special events like a camp play day and a big dance. While I found the retreads of certain topics in Camp (i.e. Willow’s consistent unwillingness to be open to new camp friends and Olive having to deal with that tension) to wear a bit, the story as a whole is solid fun and builds its way to a satisfying end, all the while anchored by Miller’s amiable storytelling and genuinely appealing visual style.
Overall, Camp holds tremendous draw to audiences who adore graphic novel offerings by authors such as Svetlana Chmakova, Raina Telgemeier, Chad Sell, Whitney Gardner, or Victoria Jamieson. Readers who previously read and enjoyed Miller’s fantastic debut Click (and I would recommend startung with Click before diving into Camp!), might especially be interested in following Olive’s further adventures. Similarly, readers who love a camp or summer story (think along the lines of Vera Bosgol’s Be Prepared or Hope Larson’s All Summer Long), may want to add Camp to their reading list. I hope we get to see Kayla Miller continue with further graphic novel stories starring Olive and her groups of friends!
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. Published version contains full colour pages.