Can Cam hit 50,000 subscribers on his game stream? Not with distractions like schoolwork.
In Slacker (2016), Cam Boxer tried to perpetuate his video game “lifestyle” by starting a fake do-gooder club at school; then everyone joined the Positive Action Group. Now it’s so successful (and the eighth-grader is such a hero) that he has no time to game. He and his best friends, Chuck and Pavel, devise a scheme to convince the student body that Cam is failing and needs to study instead of running the P.A.G. This works, and Cam’s stream takes off, especially after Cam starts playing a rare, early-release copy of “Guardians of Geldorf.” But then his classmates, worried about their hero, start offering homework help; a mysterious stalker comes to town; and Chuck’s budding relationship with P.A.G. second-in-command Daphne threatens both the game streaming and the three boys’ friendship. This sequel, narrated, as before, by the threesome and a few others by turns, is more of the same. Cam is no more likable, as he lies and cheats his way to unearned success. Nothing here is actually believable—a Zorro mask would not hide Cam’s identity—and a twist about questionable content in the game’s early release is profoundly unexciting. As before, the cast defaults to white, with diversity largely cued via naming convention.
Fans of Korman’s school stories and caper novels may find this fluff just fun enough. (Fiction. 7-11)