Brain Camp

Brain Camp

3.6 3
by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, Faith Erin Hicks
     
 

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Neither artistic, dreamy Jenna nor surly, delinquent Lucas expected to find themselves at an invitation-only summer camp that turns problem children into prodigies. And yet, here they both are at Camp Fielding, settling in with all the other losers and misfits who’ve been shipped off by their parents in a last-ditch effort to produce a child worth bragging

Overview

Neither artistic, dreamy Jenna nor surly, delinquent Lucas expected to find themselves at an invitation-only summer camp that turns problem children into prodigies. And yet, here they both are at Camp Fielding, settling in with all the other losers and misfits who’ve been shipped off by their parents in a last-ditch effort to produce a child worth bragging about.

But strange disappearances, spooky lights in the woods, and a chilling alteration that turns the dimmest, rowdiest campers into docile zombie Einsteins have Jenna and Lucas feeling more than a little suspicious . . . and a lot afraid.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This story by First Second veterans Kim and Klavan, who wrote City of Spies, is unconvincing in both plot and characterization. Lucas and Jenna are both supposed underachievers in an overachieving world--Jenna’s sister attends Yale at age 14--but though we’re told again and again, their dialogue and actions don’t bear this out. Dragged off to a place called Camp Fielding to explore their “potential,” they encounter a mish-mash of mysteries, none of which attain clarity. Among the clues: the smartest campers have left their cabins; girls sprout strange growths on their foreheads; a dead bird is found outside a cabin, all of which leads Jenna and Lucas to their discovery of the missing campers in a barn and some odd nefarious activities by camp directors. When the camp director admonishes, “We’re only trying to help you, Lucas… Do you really want to end up in prison like your dad?” it’s just one example of the heavy-handed exposition that mars the story. While readers may be pulled along by Hicks’s bright and expressive drawing, the workmanlike writing and rushed plotting won’t do much to keep them engaged. Ages 11-up. (Aug.)
VOYA - Susan Hampe
Lucas is a delinquent running with the wrong crowd who doesn't care what his mother thinks. Jenna just doesn't satisfy her parents' expectations or impress their friends. When Lucas and Jenna's parents are presented with an invitation to send them to Camp Fielding, a plain-Jane-to-prodigy makeover camp, their parents don't take long to make their decision to ship them off. Upon arrival they find it to be a typical summer camp: bad food, no snacks, strenuous mental tasks, and grueling physical activities. It isn't long, however, until Lucas and Jenna begin to notice something strange, something that none of the counselors and most of the other campers don't seem to notice. The two decide to take action and discover the truth about Camp Fielding, but is it too late? Brain Camp begins as a familiar summer camp story but takes a turn somewhere in the woods, re-emerging as the X-files at summer camp, an amusing sci-fi/mystery hybrid that may churn a few stomachs. Though Jenna and Lucas are a rather typical offbeat pairing, they are still a fun duo to follow as they try to get to the bottom of Camp Fielding. The art is very well done and complements the story, depicting it exceptionally well. This book is a great read—another great title from publisher First Second. Reviewer: Susan Hampe
VOYA - Lucas Stanfield
I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel, created by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Hicks. The protagonists, Jenna and Lucas, are sent to a summer camp that turns trailer trash into rocket scientists. But is all as it seems at Camp Fielding? If you enjoy adventures, or winged mammals linked to enhanced psychological performance, this is the graphic novel for you. Reviewer: Lucas Stanfield, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
Tough kid Lucas and slacker Jenna are sent by their parents to a mysterious summer camp called Camp Fielding, billed as a summer camp designed to turn losers into winners. Lucas and Jenna are not very impressed with each other at the start, but they begin to bond as they realize that something is not right with Camp Fielding or the other campers. Their bunkmates transform from being normal kids to becoming Stepford-like students, almost overnight. Other kids have strange growths sticking out of their foreheads. And some kids just disappear. Lucas and Jenna are determined to solve the mystery, but what they find is beyond anything they can comprehend. Camp Fielding is not a camp for losers: it is a hatchery for a race of bird-like aliens. The campers are being used as hosts to grow aliens, and the process makes the campers geniuses, if it does not kill them. Lucas finds an unfinished formula for an antidote to the alien implants scratched under a bed in his cabin. After many a chase, close call, and a brief separation which makes both Jenna and Lucas realize that they were meant for each other, the two manage to create an antidote and put it in the camp's pool, just in time to save the campers, thwart the aliens, and save the day. This graphic novel is a cross between a traditional boy-meets-girl camp caper and a horror movie. It is creepy, weird, and very engaging. The plotting is excellent, and the combination of horror, suspense, and love story are likely to interest a much broader audience than any one theme alone. Illustrations support the plot well and offer a great, if revolting, view of the aliens. Recommended for ages ten and up. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A quick and quirky graphic novel with a bit of an identity crisis. Two misfits, Jenna and Lucas, are sent to a summer-camp-of-last-resort by their respective, exasperated parents. Despite some hate-at-first-sight, the pair, in a predictable fashion, soon start up a friendship and eventually fall for one another. Unfortunately, something funny is going on at Camp Fielding: some kids disappear while others become suspiciously more intelligent. This is a fun story, one that moves well and is illustrated with excellent full-color artwork. But there is one issue that prevents the book from receiving top marks. Brain Camp appears to be targeted to a tween audience; the majority of it would be perfectly at place in a "Goosebumps" novel, complete with snappy banter, suspicious goings-on, and a handful of kids who save the day. Similarly, the book's artwork would also appeal to younger children. However, a few scenes, including one wet dream sequence complete with stained underwear, place it in the teen section.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
Ever wonder what would happen if the men of Stepford conferred with evil aliens and decided to open a summer camp? Dubbed "losers," immature Jenna and delinquent Lucas seem to be perfect candidates for the mysterious Camp Fielding, which guarantees "to prepare any child for the SATs and beyond." Most of the campers are well behaved, obedient and intelligent; in their spare time, they enjoy solving equations and learning the bucolic camp's giant maze. However, as Jenna and Lucas settle in at the camp, they begin to notice that things aren't quite right: Campers keep disappearing, and every day more of the kids go from being surly or stupid to downright perfect campers. A little snooping leads them to a disgusting and horrifying discovery about the camp, but can Jenna and Lucas impede their own transformations before it's too late? Kim and Klavan offer a sly social commentary with a fizzy dash of stomach-lurching horror. Hicks's chunky art goes to town with the revolting possibilities. Smart, disgusting fun. (Graphic suspense. 13 & up)
From the Publisher

“Bright and expressive drawing.” —Publishers Weekly

“From its shock opening right out of a horror movie, this graphic novel sets the scene for an old-fashioned scare story. . . . Well-rounded adventure.” —Booklist

“Kim and Klavan offer a sly social commentary with a fizzy dash of stomach-lurching horror. Hicks's chunky art goes to town with the revolting possibilities. Smart, disgusting fun.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A quick and quirky graphic novel.” —School Library Journal

“Excellent, and the combination of horror, suspense, and love story are likely to interest a much broader audience than any one theme alone. Illustrations support the plot well and offer a great, if revolting, view of the aliens.” —Children's Literature

“Though Jenna and Lucas are a rather typical offbeat pairing, they are still a fun duo to follow as they try to get to the bottom of Camp Fielding. The art is very well done and complements the story, depicting it exceptionally well. . . . Great read.” —VOYA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596433663
Publisher:
First Second
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,116,616
Product dimensions:
8.74(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile:
GN250L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

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Meet the Author

Susan Kim has written for more than three dozen children's TV series. This is her second graphic novel. Her first, also written with Mr. Klavan, was First Second's City of Spies. Laurence Klavan has published two mystery novels. Mr. Klavan and Ms. Kim both live in New York City. Faith Erin Hicks is the author and artist of Zombies Calling and The War at Ellsmere. She lives in Nova Scotia.

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Brain Camp 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Huh this one was a little weird. Interesting but weird. Only thing I really liked was the art. This was bad or anything but I don't know, I didn't like this as much but at the same time I found something to like which was the art. A weird read.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
This is a classic "Body Snatchers" story. Not to say that is bad, it's actually a pretty fun story. It sets up the eerie mood right from the start. But it's not just a creepy story, you get to see a real friendship grow between the two characters. The only thing holding it back is that is sticks tight to the "Body Snatcher" story arc and is fairly predictable because of it. However it is well told and expertly handled. The artwork is very stylized, you could say cartoony. But the characters are very expressive and the storytelling is always clear. If you are familiar with the Scott Pilgrim books, it is similar. Don't be fooled by the art though, at first I thought this would be a good book for little kids, but there are some mildly disturbing images and some coming of age stuff that may not be good for the littlest of ears. It is a young adult book after all. Reviewer: Chris for Book Sake The story starts off giving you a short glimpse of what's to come and then it creepily moves on from there. The parents are seduced by the idea of their children doing something, anything more than what they are doing right now and when the kids get to the camp, they start seeing the changes in the other kids as well. This "body snatchers" story is a bit odd and quirky and for those that haven't read the similar storyline before it will be something new and different in the way of graphic novels for them. This is definitely not a superhero graphic novel, which I appreciate. All of the art is well done and following the story along was always easy. Sometimes I have trouble figuring out which word balloon I should be reading next, but everything flowed perfectly in this one. This should be a fun one for young readers that are looking for an offbeat read. Reviewer: Jessica for Book Sake
SAMPLE_53 More than 1 year ago
The book I just read was brain camp. It was very awesome for me. The book has a lot of detailed things in it. It was written by like three different people their names are Susan Kim Laurence Klavan, and Faith hicks. The three main characters are Lucas, Jenna, and Dwayne. That's the first paragraph. So if like comic movies or boooks this is he one for you. my favorite parts when ythey go the woods and find that abandon hous eor shed or something. then they looke into the window and the kids are all weird looking. so if you really want this book very bad GET IT!!!!