“Andrew Smith is the Kurt Vonnegut of YA . . . [Smith’s novels] are the freshest, richest, and weirdest books to hit the YA world in years.” —Entertainment Weekly
Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of Ariel, a refugee who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel's story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century . . . and a depressed, bionic reincarnated crow.
Smith (Grasshopper Jungle) turns in another audacious performance, this time a wild tale of summer camps, adoptive families, mad bombers, masturbation slang, illegal biological research, and an icebound 19th-century ship. Ariel, a 14-year-old orphan caught up in a civil war in an unnamed foreign nation, has been brought to the U.S. by an executive from the mysterious Merrie-Seymour Research Group. Soon after, Ariel and his new stepbrother, Max, are shipped off to Camp Merrie-Seymour for Boys, "a sort of disciplinarian's boot camp a detox center for kids who were unable to disconnect from cell phones and technology." Ariel and Max aren't tech addicts, but their father is one of the Merrie-Seymour's chief scientists so the camp is free, and Ariel's stepparents hope it will help the boys bond. Meanwhile a deranged bomber meanders across the U.S. in a van holding a dangerously radioactive homemade bomb, and a horned monster, the Dumpling Man, is rumored to haunt the woods outside the camp. Fans of Smith's raunchy, profane, and provocative work will find this funny but morally serious tale deeply appealing. Ages 14 up.