Fourteen-year-old Loren’s first mistake was torching the golf course. His next was trusting his mom’s slimy golf pro boyfriend when he said they were going “camping.” Instead, Loren’s mom and her vindictive beau end up dropping him off at Camp Ascend!, a run-down boot camp for wayward teens. The golf course fire was the last straw in a long line of military “maneuvers” the Green Beret-obsessed Loren carried out that finally land him in the dubious care of the “Colonel,” a professional scammer who wouldn’t know a Green Beret from a Navy Seal. The Colonel, his uber-high maintenance wife Kitty and her Neanderthal brother Donovan are the camp’s only staff, and their methods of tamping down turbulent teen behavior are less than orthodox. But they’ve never dealt with a kid like Loren, who actually has some knowledge of espionage & guerilla warfare–even if it only comes from movies. Loren proceeds to turn the camp on its ear by kidnapping Kitty, smoke-bombing Donovan, and stealing the Colonel’s Swiss bank account numbers. But Donovan, whose brain really is the size of a bottle cap, finally gets wily Loren under his ape-like paw. And that’s when the fun REALLY starts. This raucous send-up of a Dr. Phil-type teen boot camp special is a clever indictment of the pop psychology media that touts “tough love” as the answer to all teen troubles. At times Donovan’s pea-brained violent behavior is truly terrifying, but Kitty’s vapid obsession with mail-order spa products and Loren’s dumb-luck escapes help lighten the sometimes dark story. This is the perfect book for those of you who always suspected that adults aren’t nearly as smart as they pretend to be!
Dogface by Jeff Garigliano