Camp Spirit by Axelle Lenoir
Top Shelf Productions, ebook, £11.79
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
It’s the summer of 1994, and Elodie’s mother has signed her up as a camp counselor for her last summer before going to college. But Elodie knows nothing about nature, sports or looking after kids. And as if looking after an obnoxious group of girls isn’t enough, the camp director is just outright creepy, and a strange blue light comes from the middle of the forest at night. Its possible that Elodie just isn’t coping being away from home or it’s possible there is something more to the camp legend about the forest spirit that preys on the innocent.
Camp Spirit is a new take on the American tradition of a haunted summer camp. In this instance, it is a woodland spirit rather than an axe-wielding murdered, but as with all good horror stories, the suspense builds over time. It starts as a comedy with Elodie hopelessly out of her depth with a group of enthusiastic girls who want to ask embarrassing questions and attack the other campers. As Elodie comes out of her shell, learning more about herself, she becomes in tune with the strange things going on around her.
The artwork is clean and easily accessible. The colours change in intensity depending on the mood of the scene. When Elodie is suffering from nightmares and sleep deprivation, the colours are darker reflecting this, however at all other times it is bright and peppy.
The deliberate choice of 2D pictures bring through the nostalgia of the time period both in terms of the mid-90’s and that moment in our lives when we hover on the verge of adulthood where we are scared and excited at the same time.
The supernatural element is light, a metaphor for Elodie’s closed frame of mind. In accepting that things are not always what they seem, Elodie opens herself up to new experiences and a greater understanding of herself, something we all need if we’re to be successful adults. For me, Camp Spirit is a solid example of the genre, it is a bright, enjoyable story, perfect for the intended teenage audience and anyone else who has passion for coming-of-age stories.