Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review: The Campfire Series

By Sara Steven

I enjoyed reading all three books in Beth Merlin’s The Campfire Series. After finishing the first one, One S’more Summer, it would have been difficult not to continue on and read the other two in the series. From the beginning, we get to learn a lot about Gigi Goldstein, and the backstory that leads her into wanting to become a camp counselor at the same place she used to camp at, Camp Chinooka, when she was a teen. I really enjoyed the relationship dynamics portrayed between Gigi and the campers. You see so much of who she’d been at their age, and you also see the growth she’s had as an adult, yet she hasn’t completely let go of that girl from long ago. Especially not where matters of the heart are concerned, one of the biggest reasons she’s hiding away at Camp. When she meets Head Counselor Perry, she’s even more confused. I could feel the division in her heart, the need to hold onto the past, yet there was a real desire to move forward with the present, looking forward to the future.

In the second book, S’more to Lose, we find Gigi four years into the future, no longer a camp counselor, pursuing her dream job of becoming a fashion designer. While there was plenty mentioned in the first book about her zest for all things fashion, I felt S’more to Lose delved deeper into it, with detailed descriptions provided. While I’m no fashionista, I felt drawn into the world of style and celebrity. Having been tasked with designing a wedding gown for a British socialite, this tie in brings Gigi to Perry, who has become a success story of his own right. A love triangle forms between Gigi and other potential love interests, not to mention their own potential love interests. I wasn’t sure where Gigi would end up, or with whom, keeping me on my toes. Central to all of this are the friendships formed, the tight-knit relationships that make or break who Gigi is and how she sees herself, while she tries to figure out whether putting herself first and following her own dreams is the number one priority, or putting her relationships to the forefront would be the better choice. There was struggle and indecision, lending into a realistic, honest read.

In the final installment, Love You S’more, Gigi finds herself dealing with the aftermath of chaos and destruction, attempting to pick up the pieces and move on with life. You get the feeling that she’s lost it all, and has no way of knowing how to get herself back to where it all began for her. But through it all, there is love, and the biggest regret is not knowing where she belongs, or who she belongs with. There is a lot of discovery and growth in the third book, with doses of inner reflection. Is it with Perry? Or with someone else? I flip flopped right along with her, where her matters of the heart were concerned.

I appreciated the constant struggle for Gigi, in trying to decide on what’s important, her career or her love life. I think that was a very relatable situation for so many of us, trying to balance it all out so that we can have both, equally. That was a common theme in this series, in choosing someone who compliments who you already are, and supports your dreams and aspirations. I also enjoyed the scenic mixes of Camp Chinooka, a place Gigi continually seeks out in the entire series, a place that grounds her. In some respects, it’s where her life really began. There was a whimsy to The Campfire Series, with moments that slow down sweetly, really giving us a look into the interpersonal relationships that move these stories forward. While any of the books can be read individually, all three are amazing reads, and compliment one another so well, it’s worth it to read the series in its entirety. All three received a much-deserved five stars from me!

Thanks to Kelley & Hall for the books in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Firefly Hill Press said...

Wow, Sara! Your enthusiasm, kind words, and incredible support mean so much to us. Beth has poured her heart and soul into bringing this series and these characters to life and it makes us so incredibly proud when readers express how much they enjoy the work. We hope your readers enjoy it as much as you did (and we do!) - we believe it has a little something for everyone!
Firefly Hill Press