In Her Court
Not all series need to be read in order, and thank goodness for that! In Her Court is book 18 in the Camp Firefly Falls series, and I’ve not read any of the others. It’s a cute story, a fluffy lesbian romance, and I enjoyed it, but it was a bumpy ride.
When Willa Carter’s brother, Nate, calls with an emergency – a broken leg from a jet ski incident, and the need for coverage teaching tennis at a summer camp for adults – Willa’s immediate response is yes, of course, on my way. And off she goes to Camp Firefly Falls, the new tennis instructor and roommate to Van, Nate’s best friend. Oh, and Willa’s first crush. Van is spending the summer at the camp handling social media and stuff after her first year as a tenure track professor, and is completely worn out. Van was hoping that a summer off with her best bud would help get her back on an even keel, but now even that’s been taken from her. She’s not too excited about babysitting Nate’s baby sister the whole summer.
When Willa shows up, Van is immediately attracted to her, but her social awkwardness turns it almost immediately into an antagonistic situation which most definitely gets worse before it gets better. But while Van retreats and hides, Willa throws herself out there, directly confronts Van about her own interest, and kick-starts their relationship. Even with that, though, their communication skills could use some work. When Willa tells Van of her interest in academia, Van freaks out, and everything breaks down.
First things first – Willa is twenty-three and Van is thirty, but with the setting of the story (and the characterization of our two heroines), In Her Court definitely feels more like a New Adult novel. I mean, you don’t often think of summer camp as somewhere an adult would find love. That said, it doesn’t lessen the romance or the cuteness factor, but it definitely causes some mental dissonance.
I spent a lot of time really annoyed by Van and her inability to just freaking talk to Willa already. That is the whole drama here. If lack of communication is one of your pet peeves, I’d leave this book alone, because that’s the plot right there. Van displays a lot of negativity towards herself and pretty much everyone around her. Some of it is burn out from her first tenure-track year, but here’s the thing – academia is not for everyone. It’s certainly not for Van. But it might be for Willa, and Van is self-centered enough to think that her way, her experience, is the only one. It’s so incredibly frustrating.
We also have pop culture references aplenty here, especially concerning Van and her love of Ghostbusters (the 2016 movie, ‘cause Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann has become a bit of a lesbian icon) and Star Wars. These are really easy to get wrong – all too often the references are for things that have come and gone in quick succession – but the most of the ones here are more iconic (like Wonder Woman or the aforementioned Star Wars), and a lot from the eighties (the camp goes all out with their eighties week. Seriously, all out).
Overall, the story is cute, the characters are cute, and Willa and Van’s relationship is cute. It’s all just… cute. But without any real drama, In Her Court feels like eating marshmallow fluff, all sugar and no substance – not bad by any means, but not really what I was looking for. That said, it was a fun and fast read, and now I want to go peek at the others in this series.