Most of the titular gang from Pack of Dorks (2014) is off to spend two weeks at seriously-roughing-it–style Camp Paleo. Sadly, Lucy’s not-a-boyfriend, Sam, is going to gymnastics camp instead.
That’s just the beginning of the bad news. Camp Paleo is hot, buggy, and fraught with emotional peril, as her friends behave in strange, inexplicable new ways. Most troubling is how April, previously, well, dorky, has now entirely “reinvented” herself and also has firmly bonded with the very annoying and unpleasant Kira. As feisty Lucy attempts to steer her friends into what she sees as the right directions for each, every matchmaking strategy backfires until she’s alienated almost every camper she cares about. Just as problematic is the fact that valuable personal possessions are going missing, and other campers are starting to think Lucy might be the thief. With good humor, Vrabel explores the pitfalls of emerging preteenhood. Not everyone gets there at the same time, leading to endless potential for humiliation, embarrassment, and, in the case of Sam and Lucy, awkwardness. Although not as clever and satisfying as the dorks' multilayered first outing, this quick read nonetheless effectively delves into interpersonal pitfalls that will be familiar to most older grade schoolers, and Lucy’s developing insight may even provide a few hints for staying on the right path.
Honest, funny, and entertaining. (Fiction. 8-12)