Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: The Spirit of Kilapea by D.H. Starr

spirit of kilapeaTitle ~ The Spirit of Kilapea

Author ~ D.H. Starr 

Publisher ~ Rocky Ridge Books

Published ~ 16th November 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Young Adult





Can one summer change the lives of two young men?
All-American boy Nick Pinchert, popular, athletic, envied by the jocks and desired by the girls—or that's what he wants everyone to think. Deep down, he harbors a secret he fears will rip his world apart. His summers of leadership at sleep-away camp are sacred, a time to let go of trying to meet others' expectations and just be himself...mostly.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Kip Davenport has everything except parents who care about him. He's grown up shipped from boarding school to boarding school, and Camp Kilapea is one more holding station where he needs to claw his way to the top by tearing others down. Placed in a leadership position he hasn't earned, Kip plans to deal with the extra resentment the same way he always has.
When the two meet, the attraction is immediate, terrifying Nick and providing Kip with the perfect target for his manipulations. But Camp Kilapea's teachings challenge even the most obstinate. The three pillars of body, mind, and spirit force campers and leaders alike to examine their choices and to become better people.
But is the spirit of Kilapea strong enough to force Nick and Kip to lower their guards and let each other in?


Freya’s Review

Nick is a Camp Kilapea guru – its golden boy. He’s won the awards and has risen through the ranks. He is proud to be there and loves everything about it. When a director of the camp takes a job he couldn’t refuse, the owner brings in an outsider, Kip. This unheard-of action shocks Nick and pisses off many other leaders. But what of the camp motto, GOD FIRST, THE OTHER FELLOW SECOND, AND OURSELVES LAST. Despite the resentment, it is Nick’s job to ensure everyone enjoyed and lived the spirit of the camp. A task complicated by the fact that he and Kip have their secrets.

Upon reading the first paragraphs, I couldn’t help wondering what the story was going to be like. Especially, as my experience of summer camp stories relate to Chippewa’s and Band Camp. This camp isn’t like that. It invites awareness, reflection and ultimately change. Where Kip is concerned, the message has quite the effect since he doesn’t trust anything that seems too good to be true. In Kip’s eyes, Nick is gorgeous, genuine and thus, too good to be true. Kip is used to being the bad boy and gets side-lined when he receives positive reinforcement from Nick – something he’s had little of.

Told from the POV’s of Nick and Kip, the story is a bit of a sinner meets saint event and a touch cliché in places. Indeed, there are some frequent classic events like hitched breathing, increased heart rate, watching the ass and hunky forms. There’s even a little bitchiness from those who are jealous of Kip's sudden inclusion in the management structure.

There are yin and yang thought processes, and this is mostly where the drama lies. Anyone looking for some in the woods skulduggery, won’t find it here. I loved the tongue in cheek names of the towns Mianus and Morningwood, and some of the speeches were inspirational.

In the author blurb, it says that D.H. Starr likes to write stories of emotion and self-discovery. The Spirit Of Kilapea is a heartfelt classic example of that. Wholesome and full of admirable ethics. Everyone gets to be an enlightened, happy camper, and the Kilapea ideals are core considerations along with the pillars of mind, body, and spirit.

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