Coming-of-age story meets conspiracy thriller at a summer camp in a post–climate-catastrophe world.
During his first full day at Camp Eden Owen drowns. In the 10 minutes he's underwater before lifeguard (and Owen's crush) Lilly rescues him, he survives by sprouting gills. Camp Eden exists in a distant future wrecked so severely by global warming that it must be contained in climate-controlled BioDome. Owen's disastrous introduction to the camp is normal for him—he isn't a privileged full-time dome resident, but a kid who won a lottery to attend camp, socially awkward and physically weak. Lilly warns him not to reveal his gills to the staff and invites him into the counselor-in-training clique for secret swims with their shared mutations. Investigating the camp—why would letting the camp director know about the gills be dangerous?—leads to his discovery that the dome is close to failing, as well as hints at a larger scheme that will doom or save the world. The conspiracy hinges on Owen. Minor social conflicts fail to ramp up enough tension until the long-awaited main plot begins in earnest—more than halfway through—bringing high stakes. The plot suffers from the pacing, but it ends with a big finish.
Between Owen, likable in his thoughtfully awkward way while evolving into a hero, and the lovingly crafted setting, Camp Eden offers summer escapism. (Science fiction. 11-17)