The war between nerds and jocks is on in Weissman’s follow-up to Nerd Camp (2011).
The only thing geeky Gabe and sporty Zack have in common is the fact that they’re stepbrothers. When a wildfire wreaks havoc on the woods that are the site of both brothers’ summer camps, the sports camp is forced to share grounds with the scholastic camp across the lake. As temperatures rise, the two factions come to blows as only kids can, with name-calling and pranks flying back and forth with no end in sight. The author uses this conflict to teach a valuable lesson of understanding, seeming to aim for a Munich for preteens. Gabe and Zack make for generic protagonists; there’s more interest to be found with the colorful supporting characters. There’s so much time spent on the conflict, readers may wish there was more time spent just hanging out in the fun summer environment the author’s built. The book’s biggest weakness is the author’s heavy hand, which gives thematic points to everything going on but stops just short of underlining and highlighting them.
Obvious and preachy, this camp story is nothing worth writing home about. (Fiction. 9-12)