Meghan O'Brien's 'Camp Rewind' Tackles Difficult Issues
A sweet, sexy, contemporary lesbian romance tale.
Camp Rewind, Meghan O’Brien’s latest offering, has the sexiness we’ve come to expect in her fiction, with more of a contemporary romance feel.
Alice Wu is lonely. Almost a year after her husband left her, she’s still in therapy, trying to work through the issues at the root of the social anxiety that holds her back from making relationships and living a full life. She balks when her therapist recommends Camp Rewind, a sleepaway camp for adults, but finally goes, hoping to experience something she missed in her over-structured childhood and maybe even make a friend.
Rosa Salazar shows up at Camp Rewind under the name “Lila,” hoping for a short break from her life. A year and a half after publishing a feminist critique about a popular video game, the deluge of death threats, rape threats, doxxing, and even a private sex tape going viral, has slowed to a trickle and she just wants to be anonymous for a few days. Rosa’s immediately drawn to the painfully shy Alice, and each finds themselves stretching to make the connection they so desperately need.
Camp Rewind has some elements we’ve seen in Meghan O’Brien’s other books, arranged in a way that delivers something entirely fresh. The sex is hot and varied, as expected, with the overt, enthusiastic consent that is rarely seen elsewhere. More time is spent than usual on just making out, and wow, does that ever pay off when they hit the sheets (or the sleeping bag). Alice is actively seeing a therapist and Rosa is dealing with the trauma of her ongoing harassment, although I would hesitate to name it PTSD like Ray has in Battle Scars.
The writing is excellent and tight, with perfect pacing to the story, ensuring an enjoyable read even when things get bumpy for the characters. Alice and Rosa are particularly well written, relatable, and human with huge emotional obstacles to overcome as they move from attraction to sexual partners and beyond. Alice’s character arc was poignant as she continually forced herself out of her comfort zone, experiencing things she’d only ever dreamed about before, including the touch of another woman. Rosa’s experiences are harrowing, a realistic portrayal of what women in gaming like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian experienced in the last few years from a faceless swarm of angry young male gamers.
I didn’t think Meghan O’Brien could ever write a book I would love more than The Night Off, but I was wrong. Camp Rewind is my new favourite, full of heart, hot sex, and beautiful character growth—a powerful combination that is not to be missed.