Second Look: Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, & Faith Erin Hicks

I’m showing more graphic novel love!

The Story: Underachievers Jenna and Lucas are sent to a special camp by their parents in the hopes it will smarten them up. When Jenna and Lucas get there, they notice some odd occurrences: other underachievers are suddenly brilliant, campers being brainwashed, secret scientific labs in the middle of the woods, kids going missing, coughing up feathers… you know. That sort of thing. When Jenna and Lucas try to get to the bottom of the bizarre behavior, they piece together that not all is what it seems at Camp Fielding. Of course, no one will believe them (namely, their parents) and when it seems everyone in the camp has been “changed” but them,  it may only be a matter of time before they find themselves in hot water, too.

The Low Down: This book would definitely go under the category of “gross out books,” though I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. It was pretty formulaic… kids get sent away, they notice something wrong, grown-ups won’t believe them, and they find themselves in a perilous situation and hope to find a clever way out of it. What is NOT normal is the reason behind the mystery. It’s creepy, nefarious, and GROSS. I will definitely give it points for uniqueness in that department. As always, though, you’re not getting any spoilers out of me.

The artwork is well done. Nice, clean drawings enhance the story and having a graphic representation of the story’s resolution makes it eerily disturbing.

Though the meat of the story can easily be understood by younger teens, a randomly placed wet dream (literally) and Jenna getting her first period might make some younger teens a bit uncomfortable. Both scenes are implied and and are not explicit, however.

The Bottom Line: Brain Camp is an entertaining story. The mystery kept me quickly turning pages wondering what would happen next. I was dying to get to the end to find out what was actually happening to the campers and how (or if) Jenna and Lucas would fix it. The artwork was nicely done and gave great visuals to match the storyline.

OFFICIAL RATING: 7/10

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