A rich socialite discovers her dragon-slaying heritage in an urban fantasy written under a pseudonym.
Sixteen-year-old Tori Hampton is a pampered politician's daughter. Although she's grown up surrounded by important people and attending the right schools, she's always had one odd fascination: dragons. This obsession makes her shun luxurious summer trips for St. George and the Dragon Camp, a summer camp with an ironclad theme. After embarrassing herself in front of her two potential romantic interest with a classist faux pas, Tori discovers that she's not just attending Dragon Camp, she's been assigned to the super-secret Advanced Camp. They test her athletic ability, archery, marksmanship and horsemanship, all things that Tori is generally wonderful at—yet, somehow, the other advanced campers aren't impressed. After all, they've been coming to camp to train for years, and they all have superpowers. Through painfully clumsy bouts of exposition, the resident wise-man archetype, camp director and medieval-studies professor Dr. B, reveals that Tori is also genetically gifted via an alchemy-created liquid gold that, when drunk, alters DNA to give dragon-fighting powers. The fish-out-of-water rich-girl device is surprisingly effective once the characters start developing and campers take on the threat of the Overdrake family, which controls dragons as weapons. The ending screams sequel.
Frustratingly ridiculous and sometimes sloppy, but also enjoyably campy—redeemingly so. (Fantasy. 12-17)