HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2021. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062798893.
Gr 3-5–Jett Barnov is the most spoiled kid in Silicon Valley, and he is always getting into trouble. Finally, his father sends him to a retreat at The Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness in the middle of Arkansas. This retreat, complete with no meat, no pets, and worst of all, no screens of any kind, is meant to help Jett get his act together. As a notorious bad boy, Jett wreaks havoc throughout the retreat; but then he finds a strange lizard, and entices a few other kids to help take care of it. Together, they uncover some mysterious happenings at the oasis, and link them to the unknown lizard and enigmatic millionaire in town. This plot-driven, intriguing story is told through the viewpoints of four characters, so readers are likely to find one who resonates with them. The four narrators have well-developed personalities, although some of the secondary characters are flat and mostly used to move the narrative along. The antics are sometimes over the top but always amusing, and young readers will sympathize with the lack of access to daily creature comforts. Though not expressly a humor title, Korman also sets up some very silly situations, in his typical fashion.
VERDICT This fast-paced, funny friendship story will delight realistic fiction readers and fans of Korman’s work. A suggested purchase for middle grade collections.

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