Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Matthew Shaw
Length: 7 hours, 10 minutes
Geo always wanted to be a dad. It’s only been six weeks since his two foster kids, Jayden and Lucy, have been with him, but Geo is determined to have them bond as a family. Family Camp seems to be the perfect solution for a summer getaway, but when Lucy has a meltdown on the road and then Geo’s car runs out of gas, Geo is thinking he is in over his head. When a handsome stranger comes to his rescue, however, sparks fly.
Travis grew up going to Camp Evermore. His adoptive parents own the camp and he returns to be a counselor for one week out of the year. Travis’ status as a major league pitcher ensures that excitement is high when he is there and he loves the camp experience. He has stayed in the closet for his career and he never hooks up with visitors at camp. But Geo is everything Travis has ever wanted and Travis is not sure he can stay away.
Having been in foster care himself, Travis bonds with the kids and the family atmosphere of camp pulls him and Geo together. The men are drawn to each other on every level, but with Travis in the closet and on the road for work, the men will have to figure out if they can be a family full time after camp is over.
This book is sweet. All the sweet. With a dash of not so sweet, but then back again to so sweet. Geo is trying so hard to be a good dad, but Lucy is quiet and escapes to her play world with her dolls and Jayden is surly and just waiting to be moved to his next home. Geo intends to change all that for both of them. Travis is a successful athlete, but still bears the scars of being in the foster care system himself. He immediately is protective of the kids and, through a misunderstanding, the men get off to a prickly start when Travis assumes the worst of Geo. Once that is cleared up, the men fall and they fall hard.
If you have ever been to sleep away camp, you will certainly recognize the songs and the activities and all the things that make up camp that are well portrayed in this book. Geo and Travis are just drawn to each other and even though Travis knows he should stay away because of his career and because of his position at camp, he just can’t help himself. And it’s not just the physical aspect, although the men certainly find the other attractive, they genuinely like each other.
It takes just days for the men to know there could be something special between them as they navigate hiking, and boating, and relay races, and campfires. Travis’ insecurities that stem from his childhood are well layered throughout his character and his fears about coming out are built into who he is. Travis and Geo are just both good guys and they both want a place to belong it just may take some work for them to get there.
The book progresses in a predictable manner since Travis is in the public eye and is not out. I could feel what was going to happen to shake them up and then inevitably bring them back together. The book is all about family, and while I don’t read many books with kids in them, this book will definitely hit that sweet spot as the men fall in love in less than a week and find their home together in the happiest of endings.
Matthew Shaw added a lot to this book with his performance. Summer camp has a specific feel to it and Shaw had the right exuberance for a camp counselor for children, as well as the over the top voice as he sang camp songs, and his delivery really added to those areas. He also had distinct voices for Travis and Geo, with good timing for their banter and he was able to show Travis’ vulnerability. His voices for the kids were not as appealing to me and his voices for the women mostly sounded catty, as well as having one woman sound like a valley girl, which detracted from the overall feel. The main areas with Travis and Geo were the appeal here and I would certainly suggest taking a listen to this audio for a feel good story.