Disruption surprised me: this is a fun YA adventure with a likeable main character and an interesting set of side characters. There were several twists that provided a satisfying punctuation to the end of the story and creating a satisfying read. But there are also many unanswered questions that we can look forward to being answered in further volumes. Lack of swearing and sex (as well as romance) make it a good read for all ages.
Matt Cambridge and his best friend Jason are jokers at heart – pulling pranks to snub their noses at the teachers. But when one prank goes too far, Matt’s father, a janitor at a small company, is somehow able to pull strings to get Matt into Camp Friendship; his hope is to give his son time to think about what he has done. But camp isn’t all he thought it would be and the ‘activities’ prove to be very dangerous. What Matt discovers is a CIA training camp and he is suddenly going to have to take it seriously. For although he could always give up and go home, he realizes he actually enjoys the challenge. Even if it may get him maimed, or worse, killed.
I have read many YA books with the theme of kids trapped in a place like a remote school or camp where they are mistreated and imprisoned. I expected this to be more of the same but surprisingly it wasn’t. There are no supernatural elements (though we do have shadow organizations) and our main character, Matt, isn’t trapped there. And we believe the reasons he gives to stay despite the daunting nature of the day-to-day life at the camp.
As well, I worried that this would be another situation where circumstance and accidents defy logic and we’re supposed to accept that because it makes the author look clever. But we didn’t get that here again – Matt’s survival makes a lot of sense and I didn’t worry about plausibility issues because I was enjoying the read so much. Matt didn’t completely win but he didn’t completely lose either. It was just plain fun.
Another concern was that Matt was going to be completely unlikeable – an idiot ranting against society or nearly sociopathic. But really, as written, he’s a character we get behind and want to see succeed. The actions at the camp put his pranks into context and he learns a bit about himself in the process. Really, he’s a cool character.
This is very easy to read and follow. There is a good mix of mystery and some twists can be predicted but others can’t. It made for a very enjoyable read.
Reviewed from an ecopy provided by the publisher.