On a good day, Samantha Berger’s parents are mildly embarrassing, but the day the reality TV cameras arrive? Not a good day.
The white, Jewish teen’s Bigfoot-hunting—make that Wood Ape–conservationist—parents have signed the family up for Myth Gnomers, in which they will compete against anthropology geniuses from an elite private high school. The team that provides the most compelling evidence of Sasquatch’s existence wins $100,000. Skeptic Samantha is fine with the family making fools of themselves on TV; if they win, she can afford a pre-med program and her family’s home will stay out of foreclosure. The other team, with their high-tech equipment and mentor who also happens to be a contest judge, won’t make it easy. There’s snobby British-Indian Devan; Korean-American Kyle; and blonde American white girl Caroline. The future isn’t the only thing at stake: Sam’s pride is as well. She wants to prove her family aren’t middle-class nobodies. As the competition heats up, Sam is paired with snooty Devan for a challenge, during which they have to put aside their differences and work together to win points for their respective teams. Readers will see the love-story angle coming from a mile away. Samantha’s first-person narration is marked by her sarcastic, wry, and delightfully snarky humor.
“Squatching” doesn’t get any funnier than this. (Fiction. 12-18)