Review: Monster Camp by Sarah Henning

Monster Camp by Sarah Henning

Monster Camp
Sarah Henning
Simon & Schuster
Published May 9, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Monster Camp

Ghost Squad meets Hotel Transylvania in this sweetly spooky fish-out-of-water middle grade story about a human girl who must put on the performance of her life when she realizes what she thought was a LARPing summer camp is full of real monsters!

With her stick-on fangs and widow’s peak drawn in waterproof eyeliner, Sylvie is an expert at pretending to be a vampire. More kids at school would know that if they bothered to join her monster LARPing (live action role playing) club. Not even her dad understands her passion for the undead and denies her request to attend a monster LARPing summer camp. But Sylvie is not so easily deterred.

She decides to tell her dad she’s attending another camp located near Monster Camp then sneak over to her real destination after he drops her off. Sylvie feels bad lying to her dad, but there’s no way she’s going to miss the chance to finally meet other kids that share her interests. And when she lays eyes on Monster Camp, she knows it was all worth it—the immersive campgrounds look like they came off a Hollywood lot!

But when an obnoxious kid dressed like a werewolf gets punished by being magically turned into a Pomeranian, Sylvie realizes she made a critical miscalculation. These aren’t LARPers, they’re real monsters, and Sylvie’s preferred costume means she’s placed with blood-sucking, human-biting campers who would breathe fire if they knew the truth about her. She has no choice but to try to stick it out by doing exactly what she does best: pretending to be a monster.

Monster Camp on Goodreads

My Review

I really enjoyed the SEA WITCH duology by Sarah Henning, so when I saw this debut middle grade novel, I knew I had to read it. I loved the passion that Sylvie has to LARPing and the way that it impacts what happens in the story.

It was also really cool to see a book celebrate this niche activity. The story made it easy to understand why Sylvie loved LARPing so much, and how it actually works. I had a passing familiarity with LARPing but not a deep understanding. The book does a great job showing what LARPing is and how it works without slowing the story down to explain.

I really liked the relationships Sylvie forms with the other campers, especially the ones that surprised her. I also really liked that first impressions, trust, and secrets played such a key role in the story, too.

All in all, this is a super cute book, perfect for summer. I think fans of paranormal middle grade stories will find lots to love here.

Monster Camp on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Sylvie meets kids who are literally ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and other monsters.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Some characters are ghosts, monsters. Sometimes they have superhuman abilities or magic.

Violent Content
When Sylvie plays LARP sessions with her friend, Dustin, he is always a knight whose quest is to kill her. She learns through monster camp that there are people who still want to hunt and kill monsters.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of MONSTER CAMP in exchange for my honest review.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays

Check out reviews and more middle grade book fun for Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays at Always in the Middle, where Greg shares a roundup of bloggers featuring middle grade books on their blogs. I joined recently, and have really enjoyed checking out everyone’s posts.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

12 Responses to Review: Monster Camp by Sarah Henning

  1. Sue Ford says:

    This sounds hilarious.

  2. I’d never heard the term LARPing, but your review makes me want to learn more from this story. A great premise kids will love. Thanks for featuring the book on MMGM.

    • Kasey says:

      You know, I don’t hear about it often. I used to work with a guy who was really into it, so I kind of knew what it was from that. Thanks!

  3. What an unusual story. I would never have thought that there are kids who love dressing as monster. And LARPing sounds very intriguing. Great review of a fun read!

  4. I love the sound of this book, it sounds great fun! I’ve never done LARPing but I would have liked to in the past (too lazy now!!). I must watch out Monster Camp. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Brenda says:

    What a unique activity, while I’ve enjoyed watching LARPing, I’ve never seen a book to feature it. Very fun. Happy MMGM

    • Kasey says:

      Ohhhh! How cool that you got to watch LARPing before. I’d never seen a book feature it, either. And this one does it so cleverly! Happy MMGM to you as well. 🙂

  6. I don’t know much about LARPing. This sounds like a cool story. Kids love stories with monsters. Thanks for sharing it this week.

    • Kasey says:

      I don’t know much either. My mom made us dress up as World of Warcraft characters for my brother’s birthday once. That’s probably as close as I’ve ever gotten to LARPing. Haha! Thanks, Natalie. 🙂