The Happy Camper

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Happy Camper


Melody Carlson


Revell (Baker Publishing Group)

Publication Date:

March 3, 2020




352 pages


Dillon has finally had enough with her commitment-frightened boyfriend Brandon, so she tells him they are through. The next day she loses her job and decides to take the opportunity to visit her grandfather in Oregon. Unfortunately, her free-spirit mother Margot has the same idea, and the two women must learn to get along with each other while also helping Grandpa adjust to being a widower. When Grandpa gives Dillon an old camping trailer, she finds she loves putting it back together, especially with help from Jordan, a handsome hardware store owner. Just when things seem to be coming back together, Brandon shows up to try and win her back. Will Dillon reconcile with her mother and maybe give Brandon a second chance?

Carlson excels at creating a rom-com situation with plenty of cute characters and jokes along the way. Her attempts to integrate spiritual themes into the story aren’t nearly as successful, but some would argue that problem comes with the genre. It’s hard to write about spiritual questions in a compelling way that avoids using clichés while also keeping the story light. Ultimately though, the romance and laughter are what readers are really seeking in this sort of book, and Carlson delivers plenty of both. A fun romp for readers who like inspirational fiction.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

3.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christian romance fans.

Christian Impact

The book has several discussions about faith and doubt, none of which are particularly compelling but may inspire some readers.

The Happy Camper

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.


  1. The Hard Choice to Do Good (Building A Better Christian Novel Pt 1) – G. Connor Salter - September 26, 2020

    […] but the challenges are not very big in the long run. For example, Melody Carlson’s novel The Happy Camper is about a woman named Dillon who breaks up with her pathetic and self-centered boyfriend and then […]

  2. Wisdom and Fickleness (Building a Better Christian Novel Pt. 7) – G. Connor Salter - December 11, 2020

    […] or turn-of-the-century towns, or just stories about modern-day people who come back to small towns (Happy Camper by Melody Carlson is a good […]

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