Camp Dork

240p. (Pack of Dorks: Bk. 2). Skyhorse. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781634501811; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781510701793.
Gr 3–7—Lucy and her pack of friends are back. It's the summer after fourth grade, and Sheldon convinces the whole group to attend two-week Camp Paleo, where they can dig fossils and live like cavemen. At the last minute, Lucy's not-a-boyfriend Sam backs out for another opportunity, but Lucy, April, Amanda, and Sheldon still go. Lucy's grandma also comes along as a cook for a neighboring camp. Camp Paleo is full of classic summer camp experiences: mosquito bites, snoring bunkmates, soggy mountain pies, and the opportunity for young people to experiment with who they are outside of the expectations of everyday friends and family. Lucy is uncomfortable seeing her reliable friends in a new way. This mounting awkwardness adds to her discomfort at the camp. A spark between the grouchy camp director and Lucy's grandma gives Lucy the idea that she needs to pair everyone off to make them happy. Of course, none of her plans pan out and her meddling results in her becoming further alienated. To put everyone further on edge, a thief is stealing valuables from the campers and a secret blogger is posting an advice column and gossip about camp goings-on. This book wanders a bit more than its predecessor but shares its strengths. Vrabel has a rare talent for expressing the tenderness, frustration, awkwardness, confusion, and fun of growing up.
VERDICT In Vrabel's capable hands, the ups and downs of adolescence shine through with authenticity and humor.

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