Camp Damascus

Tor Nightfire. Jul. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781250874627. $25.99. HORROR
Rose, a senior in high school, is a member of a church that has deep ties to her local community and a national reputation for running Camp Damascus, an LGBTQIA+ conversion center with a 100 percent success rate. While hanging out with friends, Rose sees a woman at the edge of the woods who appears to be decaying, wearing a red polo and name tag, and she is staring straight at Rose. This encounter launches Rose on a dangerous path of discovery as she begins to question all she’s been taught. Engaging, curious, kind, and proudly neurodivergent, Rose carries the story as Tingle meticulously unfolds a plot that introduces distrust and confusion, building a pervasive discomfort and laying more and more pressure on Rose until it literally bursts, threatening to destroy everything she holds dear. This book is highly entertaining, cinematic, and filled with monsters, both human and supernatural, all of which will lure horror fans to its pages, but what holds it all together is the immense love at the heart of the novel.
VERDICT Two-time Hugo finalist Tingle (Straight) has a huge cult following, and his brilliant mainstream debut does not disappoint. Suggest to fans of authors such as V. Castro and Hailey Piper, who take well-worn tropes and explore them through marginalized perspectives, creating something breathtaking and wholly new.
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