In Dinan’s debut novel, Max Cobb and four other Asheville High School students are out for revenge after being caught on the vandalized town water tower, a setup by the school’s notorious Chaos Club.
Enough is enough. Max is tired of being Just-Max, a nobody stuck in “a stupid, boring life”—“Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life, Mr. I’m So Lame the Career Interest Survey Recommended ‘Worker’ As My Future Profession.” Now he and the Water Tower Five are on a mission to take down the Chaos Club after falling victim to a humiliating prank. Planning to fight Chaos with chaos, Max, Ellie, Malone, Wheeler, and Adleta, step up. “The pin’s pulled and the grenade heaved,” says his new alter ego, Not-Max. Fake business cards, a fake Chaos Club website, plenty of high school humor involving puke, boners, a naked and anatomically correct mannequin, an ever expanding list of heist rules, self-consciously pompous code names, and a satisfyingly complex and unpredictable plot will keep readers involved and amused. And just when the tale threatens to wilt under the accumulation of so many sleazy machinations, it turns out that Max has developed a conscience and the strength to stand up to the devil herself. “Game on,” the story ends, hinting at a possible sequel. The cast is not notably diverse.
This caper comedy about an Ocean’s 11–style group of high school masterminds will keep readers guessing. (Fiction. 12-16)