I Have a Bad Feeling About This

I Have a Bad Feeling About This

3.0 2
by Jeff Strand
     
 

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Wilderness Survival Tip #1
Drinking your own sweat will not save your life. Somebody might have told you that, but they were trying to find out if you'd really do it.

Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors—but that doesn't make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly,

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Overview

Wilderness Survival Tip #1
Drinking your own sweat will not save your life. Somebody might have told you that, but they were trying to find out if you'd really do it.

Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors—but that doesn't make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn't agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp.

Strongwoods isn't exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the "camp director" is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry's sure he saw a sign written in blood...

Wilderness Survival Tip #2
In case of an avalanche, don't despair. You're doomed, but that's a wicked cool death.

Wilderness Survival Tip #3
If you're relying on this book for actual survival tips, you're dead already.

Praise for Jeff Strand's A Bad Day For Voodoo:

"A delightfully ludicrous read."—School Library Journal

"Just the thing for teen wiseacres."—Booklist

"[A] free-wheeling dark comedy that starts off running and doesn't stop until all plausibility is exhausted. Sam Raimi fans should eat it up."—Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
In this gleefully over-the-top, wickedly funny adventure, Strand (A Bad Day for Voodoo) pits several teens against the hazards of an extreme survival camp and a band of thugs. Sixteen-year-old Henry Lambert is sent to Strongwoods Survival Camp after his father decides he needs to be more of a man. What Henry discovers is a place with horrible food, an unspeakable outhouse, and a gun-toting nutjob of an instructor. When the end-of-camp paintball exercise is interrupted by violent criminals looking to collect on a debt, Henry and his fellow campers—as well as Monica, a resourceful girl from the music camp down the road—are thrust into a life-and-death struggle. The battle seesaws from frantic to slapstick (guns, arrows, fake grenades, and frying pans are all used), and Henry tries to find his inner action hero—as witnessed by the framing sequence involving the horribly exaggerated movie made after the fact. Strand balances action with laugh-out-loud humor, making this a thoroughly entertaining not-quite-coming-of-age tale. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephanie Kip Rostan, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Humor and hijinks are the name of the survival game

The short chapters, writing style, and humor make this a good choice for reluctant readers. Give this one to fans of the Home Alone movies and readers who love caper stories." - School Library Journal

"It's... funny, and the gags turn in unexpected directions and would do Saturday Night Live skits proud." - Kirkus

"In this gleefully... wickedly funny adventure, Strand balances action with laugh-out-loud humor, making this a thoroughly entertaining not-quite-coming-of-age tale... Strand balances action with laugh-out-loud humor, making this a thoroughly entertaining not-quite-coming-of-age tale." - Publishers Weekly

"Strand couples a rapid patter of well tuned gags and teen banter to a plot marked by sudden violence and intervals of intense terror. It's humor of a knee-slapping, yet decidedly edgy kind." - Booklist

"Teen boys will love the humor of this book. It is a fun, quick read that teens will pass on to each other." - VOYA Magazine

"Rip-roaring funny and a delight for any teen reader, this book will be breezed through with its non-stop action and hilarious content. Any kid is going to eat it up like the candy hidden under their bed and scream for more." - Hook of a Book

"I really needed a book like this. Something fun, enjoyable and entertaining. To laugh all the way through a book is a great accomplishment and I truly have to commend the author for his ability to carry that speed and endurance." - My Never Ending List

" Grand and company arrive right in the middle of Strongwood's Survival Games, and the stage is set for a bizarre, hilarious melding of LORD OF THE FLIES, SURVIVOR, THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIARY OF A WIMPY KID." - Horror World

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Julia Bowersox
Nerdy, geeky, video-gaming sixteen-year-old Henry gets sent to a teen survival camp by his parents. He is shipped off with his best friend, Randy. Comedy ensues as the five campers seriously lack survival skills. This is mixed in with the sarcastic humor and frustration of their rough and tough camp leader, Max. During a solo sleep-out in the woods, Henry meets and immediately falls for Monica from the nearby band camp. During the camp’s concluding Wilderness Games, teens are in the woods hunting each other down with paint guns, Hunger Games style. Uncoordinated Henry gets shot and is out of the game within minutes. A twist picks up the pace at camp when goons wanting to collect money end up murdering Max, and Henry gets caught being a witness. The story becomes a comedy of errors as the teens and Monica battle to overthrow the thugs Three Stooges style via biting, frying pans to the face, nose pinching, and rock throwing. Concurrently, the half-chapters in the book add foreshadowing and humor as they are snapshots of an action movie being made about the happenings of Henry’s tale. Teen boys will love the humor of this book. It is a fun, quick read that teens will pass on to each other. Reviewer: Julia Bowersox; Ages 12 to 15.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Humor and hijinks are the name of the survival game for 16-year-old Henry Lambert. He is the consummate geeky gamer, and, according to his father, Henry's masculinity could use a boost. Thus, Henry finds himself shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp alongside his similarly nerdy best friend, Randy, and three other boys. The camp director, Max, is the typical drill instructor doling out challenges and punishments to whip the boys into fighting shape for the Strongwoods Survival Games. The antics are increased even more when a man named Mr. Grand and his thugs show up to collect on a debt and the boys find themselves having to put their survival skills (or lack thereof) to good use. A girl from the neighboring music camp adds a dash of romantic drama. Readers immediately learn that the events at Strongwoods are later made into an action film straight out of Hollywood; the story is told by alternating between Henry attending the movie's premiere and the book version of what actually happened. While the plot and characters are fairly predictable, it works. Purposefully bad wilderness survival tips at the end of each chapter add a bit of sarcastic comedy. The short chapters, writing style, and humor make this a good choice for reluctant readers. Give this one to fans of the Home Alone movies and readers who love caper stories.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-15
Survival camp? How can you not have bad feelings about that? Sixteen-year-old nerd (or geek, but not dork) Henry Lambert has no desire to go to Strongwoods Survival Camp. His father thinks it might help Henry man up and free him of some of his odd phobias. Randy, Henry's best friend since kindergarten, is excited at the prospect of going thanks to the camp's promotional YouTube video, so Henry relents. When they arrive at the shabby camp in the middle of nowhere and meet the possibly insane counselor (and only staff member), Max, Henry's bad feelings multiply. Max tries to train his five campers with a combination of carrot and stick, but the boys are not athletes, let alone survivalists. When a trio of gangsters drops in on the camp Games to try to collect the debt owed by the owner, the boys suddenly have to put their skills to the test. Too bad they don't have any—at all. Strand's summer-camp farce is peopled with sarcastic losers who're chatty and wry. It's often funny, and the gags turn in unexpected directions and would do Saturday Night Live skits proud. However, the story's flow is hampered by an unnecessary and completely unfunny frame that takes place during the premier of the movie the boys make of their experience. The repeated intrusions bring the narrative to a screeching halt. Without that frame, this would have been a fine addition to the wacked-out summer-camp subgenre. (Fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402284557
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
03/01/2014
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
114,958
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Is your son a scrawny little wuss?" asked the man on the YouTube video.

Henry felt like he was getting a sunburn from the eyes glaring at him through the computer. Wuss? Nerd, sure. Geek, yeah. Dork, not since fifth grade. Not always operating at maximum courage levels, he could accept. But wuss was definitely going too far.

The drill-instructor narrator was bald, dressed in camouflage, and had biceps as big as a standard-sized human head. The camera zoomed in on his face and Henry could see the vein pulsing on his forehead, like he had an angry worm in there. "It doesn't have to be this way!" the narrator said, his voice echoing dramatically. "We can Fix! Your! Son!"

On the screen, a line of boys walked through the woods. One of them tripped. Another one walked into a tree branch. A third started frantically slapping at something that had crawled down the back of his shirt. The muscular man stepped into the frame and shook his head.

"Disgraceful, isn't it? It would make me want to cry, except Men! Don't! Cry! At least not after they've gone through-"

There was a whoosh and then a loud clank as the following words slammed onto the screen in manly steel letters: STRONGWOODS SURVIVAL CAMP!!! The words exploded.

It was kind of a cheesy explosion. Henry could have done a much better one on his own computer. Unfortunately, he didn't think that his dad was making him watch this video to get his opinion on the quality of the special effects.

"Two weeks at Strongwoods Survival Camp is all it takes to turn your cowardly lion into a fearless panther! He will learn how to stand up for himself...and how to survive! Whether it's school or the zombie apocalypse, our graduates fear nothing!"

A small caption read "Disclaimer: Zombie apocalypses are fictional and not part of the Strongwoods Survival Camp curriculum."

"We teach archery!" A shot of an arrow hitting a bull's-eye.

"Hand-to-hand combat!" A kid punched a bigger kid in the face, apparently knocking him unconscious with one blow.

"Water transport!" A fearless kid rode a canoe through violent rapids.

"Hunting!" A kid strangled a deer, though a caption read "Re-enactment. Do not attempt."

"And more! More! More!" The camera zoomed way too close to his face. "Strongwoods Survival Camp!" the man shouted, getting a bit of saliva on the camera lens. "Register your scrawny wimp of a son today!"

Henry's dad turned to face him. "So what do you think?"

Henry stared at the screen for several seconds before he spoke. "This is a joke, right?"

"No, it's real, and we think it would be good for you."

"See, I was kind of thinking the exact opposite. Literally. The exact opposite. One hundred and eighty degrees."

"You mean three-sixty."

Henry shook his head. "One-eighty. Three-sixty brings you back to where you started."

"Oh, you're right."

"Maybe you need geometry camp."

"Maybe you need to stop being a wise guy. Your mother and I just want what's best for you. This could be a life-changing experience."

"More like a life-ending experience."

"This could turn you into a man. How were you planning to become a man?"

"I just kind of thought my body would keep growing."

"Henry, you're a good kid. You're smart, your grades are fantastic, and we're proud of you, but there are gaps in your life skills. This will help fill some of them."

"I'm sixteen," said Henry. "I'm way too old for summer camp. That's for little kids."

"This isn't summer camp. This is survival camp. Your mother and I don't expect you to become captain of the football team or even demonstrate mild competence at bowling, but wouldn't it be nice if bullies didn't kick sand in your face?"

"Nobody has ever actually kicked sand in my face."

"And do you know why? Because you never go to the beach. And do you know why you never go to the beach? Because you're afraid of sharks."

"So? That's a good fear! It keeps me from getting eaten!"

"But it's not just sharks. You're scared of jellyfish-"

"Which sting you!"

"Barracuda-"

"Monsters from hell."

"Lobsters-"

"Well, duh."

"Seahorses-"

"I'm not proud of that."

Okay, Henry did have a fairly long list of fears, but still...wuss was too harsh. It wasn't like he slept with a night light or peeked under the bed for tentacled monsters. He just had a healthy fear of nature's vicious predators. And seahorses.

"Halibut-"

"I never said I was scared of halibut. I said that the way they've got both eyes on the same side of their face was creepy. I didn't want to swim directly into one. What's wrong with that?"

His dad sighed. "The thing is...you could overcome these fears."

"Going out in the woods is going to conquer my fear of jellyfish?"

His father sighed. "Look, Henry, I can't force you to go. Actually, I can. That's the whole point. If you went to this camp, then nobody could force you to go to camp ever again. Don't you want strength? Don't you want self-confidence?"

Actually, Henry wanted both of those things. Though he would never, ever, ever admit this to anybody, he was always envious of the guys who could easily talk to girls or who could play team sports without embarrassing and/or hurting themselves. Not that he wanted to be a jock or anything-that would be ridiculous. Still, he was pretty sure that girls would like him once they got to know him. It would be nice to have the self-confidence to say, "Hi, I'm Henry. Wanna get to know me?" (He wouldn't say it in quite that manner of course. That was just the general concept of what he'd say if he had self-confidence.)

But he didn't want to acquire those skills at a camp with that guy in the video bellowing at him for two weeks. Henry was short, skinny, and nerdy/geeky-the ultimate prey for a noisy bodybuilder.

"Are you sure Mom wants me to go?"

"Yes."

"Then why are we talking about it when she's in Delaware for the week?"

"Your mother may not be quite as sold on the idea as I am, but she definitely agrees with the general concept...in theory."

"Do I still have to scoop ice cream when I get back?"

"Yes. Anyway, I'll give you some time to think about it, but you should go with Randy."

"Wait a minute-Randy's going?"

***

"It's gonna be the greatest thing ever!" Randy shouted, forcing Henry to hold the phone a couple of feet away from his ear. "Two weeks of awesome sauce!"

"It looks like two weeks of torture sauce," Henry said. They'd been best friends since kindergarten and Henry was used to Randy being extremely enthusiastic about things, but these things were usually related to Facebook posts rather than physical exertion. Randy got out of breath if he ate corn on the cob too quickly.

"Are you kidding me? Did you even look at the website? There are going to be survival games just like The Hunger Games in real life!"

"Seriously?"

"Yeah!"

"Well, that might be kind of cool," Henry admitted.

"This'll be the best summer of our lives."

"You understand that there won't be any girls there, right?"

"So?" Randy asked. "What difference does it make if there are zero girls at survival camp or eight hundred girls here that we don't talk to?"

"Good point. Good, depressing point."

"Anyway, there is an all-girl camp somewhere around there, although I think it's more about music and less about violence."

"Well, that's encouraging," said Henry. "Maybe we can get more dates if we ask at crossbow point. So we're really going to do this, huh?"

"I don't know about you, but I am."

"All right, all right. Then I guess I am too. But I have a bad fee-"

"Sorry, gotta go. Talk to you tomorrow."

***

"Do you realize it's two thirty in the morning?" Henry's dad asked, walking into the living room, fastening his bathrobe.

Henry kept his attention on the TV screen. "Yeah."

"Have you considered going to bed?"

"It's going to be two weeks without video games. I have to play enough now to sustain myself through that time."

"That game actually looks kind of cool."

"It is. And it's helping me build my survival skills before camp."

In this game, mummies had taken over the world, and the player's job was to kill them. It was kind of astonishing how many ways there were to kill a mummy. Though Henry could safely say that there would not be any mummy-killing exercises at camp, the dexterity and problem-solving skills he was demonstrating now would help him in real life, right?

"All right. Whatever. Have fun."

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL TIP!

Ninety-seven percent of our nation's ponds are filled to the top with piranha, which can skeletonize a cow in seconds. If you value your cow, don't shove it into a pond.

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