In Tweedt’s debut YA thriller, armed baddies working a fiendish plot at a summer camp don’t count on a plucky young boy and his pals.
Greyson arrives at Morris College All-Sports Camp determined to make the best of it. But when a brutish cafeteria worker, believing the boy has overheard critical information, physically threatens him, Greyson takes it upon himself to expose whatever scheme the man felt necessary to protect. He enlists the help of his friends and sneaks into the observatory, the apparent command center for a cluster of scoundrels. Tweedt’s novel has all the prerequisites for a summer-camp story: Brandon, the sympathetic counselor; Trevor and Tucker, the interchangeable jerks looking to knock Greyson down during lunch or on the football field; and Sydney, the love interest. Also joining Greyson are the friends he makes along the way, including Liam, the stuttering shy one; Patrick, who seems to hate everything; and twins Jarryd and Nick, whose loyalty is rounded out by ready-to-fire wisecracks. A number of memorable touches supplement the camp setting, like campers sneaking out past bedtime and counselors telling ghost stories, but the most notable is the relentless summer heat—lots of sweating, complaints, and looking forward to showers and air conditioning. In the book’s final act, which takes up nearly a third of the story, Greyson, Sydney and their fellow campers set out to thwart the villains’ plan, which involves a potentially deadly explosion. The series of primed set pieces never lets up until the end. Choosing a favorite character may be difficult, but it’s Jarryd who nearly steals the show, if for nothing else than his stoicism: After taking Greyson’s syrupy pancake to the face for referencing Sydney’s backside, Jarryd coolly asserts, “I respect that.” But in the end, it’s the titular hero who’s most admirable; rather than holster his gun, he stores everything he needs in a fanny pack—and anyone who can make a fanny pack look cool is definitely worth rooting for.
At times riotous, often nostalgic and always entertaining.