As I was reading this book, I laughed out loud so often that my son — who normally “tunes out” the rest of the world when he reads — actually found it distracting to read in the same room as me. He kept asking me, “What’s so funny?” And, though I explained that I didn’t want to stop to share every joke that made me laugh, I offered to start over and read the whole book aloud. He declined the offer because he was determined to finish the book he was already reading, but I think he may go back and read it himself because he loved the passage I felt compelled to read aloud (about Henry’s wish list of weapons with which he could have protected himself).
Strongwoods Survival Camp was like an even more ridiculous version of Camp Green Lake (from Holes by Louis Sachar). Rather than being a forced-labor juvenile detention center, though, this survival camp was advertized as a way for parents to voluntarily toughen up their “wuss” sons. The guy who ran the camp, Max, was basically a crazy drill sergeant, and the survival activities and games he designed were way over the top. I think a lot of parents will probably appreciate the lack of harsh language and/or sexual situations, though I feel compelled to warn sensitive readers about the actual killers who make an appearance before the end of camp. Fast-paced action, lots of humor, and short chapters punctuated with wacky “Wilderness Survival Tips” combine to form a zany adventure story that’s appropriate enough for younger teens and tweens but entertaining enough for adults.