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From the acclaimed authors of Hurricane Season and Ana on the Edge, an unforgettable story about the importance of and joy in finding a community, for fans of Alex Gino and Ashley Herring-Blake.

Twelve-year-old Abigail (she/her/hers) is so excited to spend her summer at Camp QUILTBAG, an inclusive retreat for queer and trans kids. She can’t wait to find a community where she can be herself—and, she hopes, admit her crush on Laura Dern to kids who will understand.

Thirteen-year-old Kai (e/em/eir) is not as excited. E just wants to hang out with eir best friend and eir parkour team. And e definitely does not want to think about the incident that left eir arm in a sling—the incident that also made Kai’s parents determined to send em somewhere e can feel like emself.

After a bit of a rocky start at camp, Abigail and Kai make a pact to help each other find their footing, all while navigating crushes, their queer identities, and a competition pitting cabin against cabin.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published March 21, 2023

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About the author

Nicole Melleby

11 books181 followers
Nicole Melleby, a Jersey native, is the author of highly praised middle-grade books, including the Lambda Literary finalist Hurricane Season and ALA Notable Children's book How to Become a Planet. She lives with her wife and their cat, whose need for attention oddly aligns with Nicole’s writing schedule.

Feel free to follow her on Twitter @LadyMelleby

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5 stars
25 (52%)
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19 (39%)
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2 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Anna.
1,272 reviews223 followers
September 22, 2022
Well, here I am, writing the first official review for this book and I'm so freaking happy.

I wasn't expecting to get so emotional over this book seeing as I am 27 years old and this book it's a middle grade summer camp book about 12-year-olds but from the second I saw this cover I knew this was going to be a good one.

Camp QUILTBAG is about a queer summer camps in Minnesota and kids from all over the country come to it. It's a 2-week summer camp and there is such a wide range of all sorts of kids of all different types of identities and representation at the camp.

Our first main character is Abigail (she/her/hers) who is pretty sure that she is a lesbian but she can't quite say the word yet. She goes to a Catholic school and has a crush on her best friend Stacy's mom (The millennial in me the absolutely loved this reference 😂) when Stacy found out about Abigail's crush, she was really really mean about it and Abigail is determined to find somewhere that she can safely explore her queer identity and maybe find some friends and so she starts searching out and finds camp QUILTBAG.

Then we have Kai (e/eir/em). Kai has been struggling with eir new pronouns, not necessarily the pronouns themselves but having people respect em. E didn't want to go to camp and was perfectly content to hang out with eir friends doing parkour but e finds out that maybe there's more to camp than e thought, and maybe a boy to crush on as well.

The majority of this book takes place at camp and we see the two of them get put into their cabins and begin to form friendships with their cabin mates. The whole camp is doing a sort of competition and Abigail and Kai form a sort of alliance. I loved all of the secondary characters, especially Bryn and Oren. We see Abigail and Kai make friendships and struggle to be confident and all of their feelings, emotions, and experiences.

At it'sheart this book is about acceptance and learning that even if you are not in a safe space in your day-to-day life, there is a safe community for you and a community that will welcome you with open arms. There are people who love you and accept you and want you to be happy no matter what. There are people who will always respect your name and pronouns and identity because that is the absolute bare minimum that we deserve. It is about how even if we aren't able to be immersed in this safe found family everyday, our community is still there for us and will help us and support us as we find our way. I think that this is an exceptionally important story for young queer kids to have access to.

I didn't cry while I was reading the book but I did cry at the end and when I finished because I cannot even imagine having such a safe space as a kid and I am so so happy that places like Camp QUILTBAG really do exist and there really are camps full of queer kids who are allowed to just exist and be exactly who they are.

A SAMPLING of the representation on page: lesbian, queer, nonbinary, trans, gay, bisexual, pansexual autistic, Jewish, Black, Latine, white. (This is just a handful of rep that I can remember off the top of my head)

I do wish there was more prominent aspec rep, even if one of the kids in the cabins mentioned it vs a small reference to a kid making an ace bracelet. A lot of this is focused on crushes, and while that's totally valid and awesome, it would've been extra cool to see some additional aro or ace rep. Also would've loved to see a fat camper or two or perhaps some conversations about disability and access to camp. But those are really my only comments.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,686 reviews457 followers
March 29, 2023
This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/

I am so glad that books like this one are available for middle-grade kids. I thought that this book did an excellent job of addressing issues that young adults might face due to their sexuality or gender identity. I think that anyone wanting to understand these issues better would benefit from reading this book, regardless of age, sexuality, or gender identity.

This story is told from two points of view. Abigail (she/her/hers) recently lost her friends when they learned that she had a crush on a friend’s mom and is eager to go to Camp QUILTBAG where she hopes to meet kids who understand. Kai (e/em/eir) doesn’t really want to go but Kai’s parents want em to go after an incident at school left em wearing a sling. Kai and Abigail form a pact to try to win points for Kai’s cabin and seem to have a special connection.

I thought that this was a fun story filled with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. I love that the adults in the story were supportive of the campers and were willing to listen to their concerns and make changes when needed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a story that touches on some of the issues that queer and transgender youth might face.

I received a copy of this book from Algonquin Young Readers.
Profile Image for TL .
1,791 reviews35 followers
March 22, 2023
Loved everything about this :)
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,155 reviews314 followers
Want to read
August 25, 2022
Ooh I'm pretty sure this is the same Kai and Abigail from THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!!!
Update: yep it's them! Very excited to read this, and also very excited for the fact that this is the first MG book (that I've heard of, anyways) where an MC uses neopronouns!
111 reviews1 follower
October 30, 2022
I received a free eARC of this book. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.

Representation matters. So does having a place and being able to connect with others at least occasionally. Summer camps that serve specific populations often provide that connection. CAMP QUILTBAG is the story of a group of LGBT+ middle school kids who connect at a camp designed just for them.

There is a lot to like about this book. A lot of kids who do not normally find representation will see themselves in this book, whether they are an agender kid who uses neopronouns, a trans, autistic, pan kid, or a kid who has crushes that their friends cannot understand.

Having said that, there are times, particularly early on, where this book feels kind of like it’s falling into the “Five Token Band” trope, specifically because it feels like it went down the list and ticked boxes and became a roll call of names and pronouns. Having said that, it gets better as the characters develop.

Possible Spoilers ahead——

There is one thing that I really, really want to see changed if this book has a new edition. And that is that obviously these kids have supportive parents. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be attending a $1000/week speciality camp that for most requires flying to get there. Therefore, it really seems a miss that only one of the parents, as far as I can tell, has made any effort to get their child out of a situation where they are facing ostracism, verbal abuse, or, in Kai’s case, actual queer bashing that has caused fairly severe injuries. As a mother, the idea that Abigail will have to go back to a Catholic school where she was outed by her former best friend and is getting homophobic content in classes from the teachers is appalling. Kai having to go back to a school where e is regularly misgendered, deadnamed, and was attacked by two of eis classmates, and, based on events in the book, it seems likely the injury will be chronic and cause long term changes in Kai’s life is even more so. Bryn is having to see himself through puberty and gender dysphoria, and isn’t comfortable even coming out at school yet. All of these kids need more than 2 weeks at camp can provide, and the fact that the book ends without addressing that really bothers me. I want a prologue zoom call, 6 weeks later, where Kai and Abigail are talking about their new schools, where they are both involved in the GSA and have friends who understand them. I want to hear that Kai is back doing Parkour and Stick is dancing, , where Bryn has an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist and is seeing a therapist, and where Owan invites them to his upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and Juliana is talking about her Quincenera. Where things aren’t perfect, but where they’re getting better, and where those camp friendships are lasting. Because these characters deserve "it gets better" to be more than a 2 week experience, and LGBT kids need that, too.

Overall, this is a good book that deserves inclusion in schools, libraries and homes. There is no inappropriate content. I wish I were confident that it will get that chance,
Profile Image for Deke Moulton.
Author 2 books43 followers
February 13, 2023
Seriously just such a cute sleepaway camp story, with an amazing inclusive cast, and full of regular camp drama, but also so very gentle and welcoming in the best ways!! I truly treasured reading Abigal's parts - as a kid who knows she is a lesbian, but is so new to being in queer spaces that she feels like she doesn't belong. And Kai's pages - who also knows who e are, and just would rather be back home and not having to spend time at camp. There's a few moments of backstory homophobia that are talked about, but just like the camp it portrays, the book is a safe place to explore, and have fun, and being a kid. It's the kind of book that just makes you feel like you belong. Loved it so much and cannot gush about all the spoilers I want to gush about, but ughhh. What an awesome book! It makes me wish I could be a camp counselor at Camp QUILTBAG!
Profile Image for Paige.
1,719 reviews76 followers
March 29, 2023
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.


Author: Nicole Melleby & A.J. Sass

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Lesbian MC, Non-binary Jewish MC who uses neopronouns, POC characters, Black Lesbian character, Jewish gay character, Black Trans Pansexual character with Autism, Trans character, Character who doesn’t use pronouns, Gender Fluid character

Recommended For...: middle grade readers, queer, LGBT, contemporary, camp book

Publication Date: March 21, 2023

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 12+ (homophobia, body dysphoria, religion, bullying, deadnaming)

Explanation of Above: There is some homophobia mentioned in the book, along with a deadnaming event mentioned but not shown. There is some discussion about body dysphoria. There is some small mentions of bullying. Judaism is shown and mentioned in the book, including some insight into practices and celebrations/customs and there are some mentions of Catholicism as well.

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Abigail (she/her/hers) is so excited to spend her summer at Camp QUILTBAG, an inclusive retreat for queer and trans kids. She can’t wait to find a community where she can be herself—and, she hopes, admit her crush on Laura Dern to kids who will understand.

Thirteen-year-old Kai (e/em/eir) is not as excited. E just wants to hang out with eir best friend and eir parkour team. And e definitely does not want to think about the incident that left eir arm in a sling—the incident that also made Kai’s parents determined to send em somewhere e can feel like emself.

After a bit of a rocky start at camp, Abigail and Kai make a pact to help each other find their footing, all while navigating crushes, their queer identities, and a competition pitting cabin against cabin.

Review: I really liked this book overall! I thought the concept of a queer camp for young children is amazing and I loved how much diversity there was in this book. The book is about two characters who are either outted or come out during the school year and, because they’re having a hard time at school with that, they are sent to a Queer Camp to help them get friends and make good memories. The course of the events see these two main characters make a pact to help each other during a competition and the turn of events that happens by the end of the camp season. The book had a main character that uses neopornouns and I loved seeing and exploring that in this book. The book did well with the duel POV and the voices felt distinct. The gender inclusivity and understanding in this book really made it a special read and one I’ll frequently recommend from now one.

The only issue I had with the book is that it was a little hard to get into in the beginning and there was A LOT of characters to remember, but I loved it regardless.

Verdict: I highly recommend this one!
11 reviews
October 23, 2022
Camp QUILTBAG joins two amazing authors and results in a wonderful middle grade novel. Long and short of it, Camp QUILTBAG follows a group of middle grade students as they search for identity and acceptance at a sleep away camp for LGBTQ+ youth. (This may be an introduction to the term QULTBAG>) All struggle with some aspect of their identity and growth and all make mistakes along the way. There are explorations of the intersection of religion, race and disability with LGBTQ+ issues. It realistically portrays the fears youth carry in coming out.. that feeling that YOUR issues are somehow different and 'worse' than anyone else's. The main character makes many mistakes along the way as she tries to find her place at camp... all providing food for thought and discussion for readers.

I think kids will find someone in this cast of characters to relate to. the book will give them insights into the importance of pronouns, even while the use of new ones can be difficult to master. It will help them see the importance of respecting identity and, hopefully, show them that even if they are not finding acceptance where they are right now, there is a place where they will. They need to keep looking and be open to trying new spaces and people. I hope that readers will find hope and comfort in it. It is a great addition to a middle grade LGBTQ+ (QUILTBAG) collection.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Lynn.
193 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2022
Middle grades are hard. Being queer in middle grades can be torture. The kids in this story are looking for friendship and acceptance and go searching for it at Camp QUILTBAG. The characters in this story are a bit superficial as an adult reader, and things come too easy for them, but as a educator who shares stories with kids this age, I totally get that kids would love this. They will look to the characters to figure out how to talk about the wor feelings and have compassion and empathy for others. I highly recommend this book.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Laura Stegman.
Author 1 book8 followers
December 16, 2022
"Things change after you come out," says a character in Camp QUILTBAG, which is achingly true for two LGBTQ+ kids in this important middlegrade novel byNicole Melleby and A.J. Sass, arriving in March 2023. While their schoolmates at home aren't ready or willing to accept them as they are, thirteen-year-old Kai and twelve-year-old Abigail find thatthings start getting better at a two-week retreat in the mountains of Minnesota. As they explore their identities in a safe community, where they're called by pronouns they prefer, they find love and acceptance that guides them toward being fully themselves. I can only imagine how much this book will mean to kids today and into the future.
Profile Image for Anna Marie.
160 reviews3 followers
September 24, 2022
Thank you, Algonquin Young Readers, for allowing me to read Camp QUILTBAG early.

Yes, yes, and yes!!! A.J. Sass is one of my favorite middle grade authors, and this cooperation with Nicole Melleby is just fantastic! Loved, loved, loved it! Highly recommended to anyone who loves middle grade books with superb BIPOC and queer rep!
Profile Image for Alison G..
330 reviews5 followers
October 19, 2022
This book easily joins Different Kinds of Fruit and Alice Austen Lived Here as a top queer MG book I've read this year (can't wait until 2023 so I can buy & share with students!)
Profile Image for Maddie.
382 reviews15 followers
March 26, 2023
Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for providing me a review copy of these via Netgalley!

Camp QUILTBAG is a truly delightful, and important queer middle grade novel about finding and accepting who you are. If follows Abigail, a reluctant lesbian who is desperate to go to camp and find her place, Kai, who is recovering from an injury that is related to eir use of e/em/eir pronouns at school. They arrive at Camp QUILTBAG, a camp for LGBT+ kids and immediately meet a great and diverse cast of supporting characters. They make an agreement to help each other make friends and win the camp-wide competition.

Their friendship is the heart of this and it was so sweet. Kai is like a guide/older sibling for naive and wide-eyed Abigail, and Abigail always wants to do right by Kai. The group of friends they make are also so sweet, diverse and unique. The cast is big, but they’re all so unique so young readers will have no problem remembering who’s who. I really, really loved Abigail. She feels a lot of shame for her crushes on older women (like Laura Dern) and it felt so deeply relatable. I understood her fears and her embarrassment. Kai was great too, and I love e was so sure of who e was. I think both characters are so important for young readers to read and know, and I am so glad these authors exist. I can not wait to add these titles to our library collection. And I’d like a sequel about the next summer at camp, so I’m crossing my fingers!
Profile Image for Patti.
403 reviews8 followers
January 1, 2023
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an e-galley of this book.

I enjoyed this one so much! Both Kai (E/Em/Eir) and Abigail (She/Her/Hers) were terrific characters that I rooted for during two weeks at Camp QUILTBAG, a summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth in Minnesota.

Kai is nonbinary, and e is a former gymnast turned parkour athlete. E comes to camp with a shoulder injury and befriends eir's cabin mates as well as Abigail, who is in another cabin. Kai develops a crush on a fellow camper, and also learns more about eir own Jewish background from this other camper.

Abigail is a lesbian who has crushes on older women such as Laura Dern in Jurassic Park. She is shy and wants to learn confidence from Kai and her cabin mates. Abigail was outed and bullied from her former best friend, and longs to be accepted for who she is.

The camp itself was great. It was inclusive and welcoming, and also had an incredibly diverse group of campers and counselors, with varying identities and pronouns. A lot of the plot centered around a competition between cabins, with the winner awarded the opportunity to change the name of the camp to be inclusive of all identities.

I would recommend this to all middle grade readers, ages 4th-8th grade. Be sure to check the content warnings.
29 reviews
March 21, 2023
What a fun read! Camp QUILTBAG by Nicole Melleby and A.J. Sass centers on a summer camp where LGBTQIA+ kids can connect with one another and have fun along the way. The book follows Abigail, a camper who is eager for camp but unsure how to make friends, and Kai, who would rather be doing parkour with eir friend at home, at least at first. Amid a scurry of fun camp shenanigans, Abigail and Kai make a pact to help one another. But this collaboration unfolds in ways that neither of them expect, and they'll have to figure out how to trust themselves and each other as they learn more about what it means to move through the world while being proud of who you are. Highly recommended for all library shelves.
Profile Image for Rhys.
173 reviews133 followers
March 23, 2023
*Thank you to the publisher for a copy in exchange for a review*

Camp QUILTBAG follows Abigail, a 12-year-old lesbian, and Kai, a 13-year-old nonbinary teen who uses neopronouns. This is set at a queer summer camp for children and young teens aged 6-13 (or 14 I can't remember).

This is such a cute middle-grade! I wish I had this as a young teen. Seeing so many identities in a middle-grade novel be represented is amazing for questioning young teens and children in the present day. I'm so glad trans kids have characters like Kai, Juliana, and Bryn to look up to and say, 'they're like me!'.

This story is also so cute. I loved every second of it and the queer joy seen is exactly what I needed.
Profile Image for Megan Welch.
3 reviews
January 15, 2023
What an amazing story and really enjoyable read! I had so much fun vicariously attending Camp QUILTBAG with Abigail and Kai. I am so appreciative that authors such as Nicole Melleby and A. J. Sass and producing works that demonstrate acceptance and diversity within the queer community.
Profile Image for Emilie.
204 reviews
January 12, 2023
Another fantastic book by A.J. Sass, this time written with Nicole Melleby. This was a expansion of stories about characters from a anthology that both authors contributed to, with their characters from their respective stories meeting at a summer camp for queer youth. This book really talked about the importance of friendship and about discovering yourself and the ways that you interact with the world. I am so thrilled this book exists and am happy that it will be out in the world this year and will be read by kids who will see themselves in all of these characters.
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