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Brain Camp Paperback – Bargain Price, August 3, 2010

16 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, August 3, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
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From Booklist

From its shock opening right out of a horror movie, this graphic novel sets the scene for an old-fashioned scare story. A throwback to the sort of paranoia that Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives capitalized on so well, the tale follows Lucas, a tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks, and Jenna, an Asian girl who isn't measuring up to her siblings' grade averages, as they are bundled off to Camp Fielding, where they're guaranteed to become high-performance go-getters. But something very strange is going on there: counselors sneak into the cabins at night with hypodermic needles, and kids start acting like supersmart zombies. Kim and Klavan, who balanced adventure and kid's social issues so well in City of Spies (2010), do the same in another well-rounded adventure here, as the far-out (and kind of gross) climax mixes with genuine insight into dealing with parents, fitting into a new crowd, and handling the pressures of performance. Hicks' line work is cool enough to assuage older readers who might be suspicious of the summer-camp setting. Grades 7-10. --Jesse Karp

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 16 years
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Series: Brain Camp
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596433663
  • ASIN: B0057DC6L6
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,434,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brittany Moore VINE VOICE on October 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
enna and Luca's parents have had it. They want their children to start being more productive. They want geniuses. So when someone from Camp Fielding offers to take them and turn them into smart kids, each of their parents are eager to ship them off. Jenna and Lucas meet at Camp and immediately feel as though something isn't quite right. The sudden smartness and that strange building in the words make them think they need to find a way out and quick.

This was an interesting and odd graphic novel. I really liked the concept of the whole thing. I can't talk about too much without giving things away, but this is definitely worth the read. One thing I didn't care for was the minuscule love story in Brain Camp. Either add in some romance or leave it out, none of this brief intense stuff; it just seemed out of place. I could have handled if it was built up a little more (even though they only seemed to be at camp a short while). Lucas and Jenna were interesting characters and I wouldn't mind reading another story with them. Maybe they can solve other mysteries too at their next camp.

First Line:
"Elevation, 18 degrees...angle, 38 degrees...going north by north-west, it should be right over..."
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Format: Paperback
From [...]- Jenna and Lucas are losers- at least that's what their parents think. So when they send them to Camp Fielding ("America's best new educational summer camp!") for the summer, the hope is that they'll return ready to go to Yale, or at least pass the SAT with flying colors. But something amiss is going on at Camp Fielding. Why are some campers failing miserably at the strange, higher-level-thinking activities while others are succeeding beyond expectations? Why are those who are doing well acting a little too much like zombies- really smart zombies? And why are some campers disappearing in the middle of the night, after they try the odd, pink-colored ice cream at dinner? These and more questions abound as Jenna and Lucas form a reluctant friendship to figure out what's going on. The odds are stacked against them, however, as the pace picks up and they are cornered at every turn by the grim, brooding camp counselor and a mounting army of the smarter campers.

I thoroughly enjoyed this smartly-written, fast-paced thriller of a story that is probably best for fans of Goosebumps who want something more mature. One of the things I truly reveled in is that this story knows what it is- a cheesy, fun mystery where weird things are expected to happen and do- and it focuses on doing that well without trying to be more than that. Of course, in the run of doing so, there is a nice, understated satire of the labels and expectations that we place on kids and teens and how they can take these definitions to heart. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Jenna, Lucas, and their friend Dwayne bond over sharing the labels their parents and other adults in their lives have given them: "Actually, I'm secretly `bright' but for some reason I'm a real `underachiever.
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Format: Paperback
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
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By Nicola Mansfield on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: I really enjoy Canadian Faith Erin Hicks' work and just seeing she'd illustrated this book put it on my radar but once I'd read the plot I knew the story would be right up my alley.

This is a spooky, eerie, creepy, but fun little story that had the Twilight Zone theme music playing in my head at certain moments when sudden weird things were noticed. I had a great time reading this. Ms. Hicks' illustration is perfect for the theme, with her dark outlined characters, expressive faces and eyes that are always a bit too big for the heads. A full range of colour is used but the matching blue shirts of the campers are used to an added creepy effect and the startling bright monotones of sand for a flashback and green for a nightmare were very effective.

Both Jenna and Lucas end up at Camp Fielding because it is their parents last hope for them. They are both very smart but don't show it. Lucas is a slacker running with the wrong crowd and his alcoholic mother doesn't waste a moment letting him know how disappointing and stupid he is. Jenna, on the other hand, comes from a family of overachievers, both her parents are specialized doctors, her little sister is a genius planning her own specialized medical career, while Jenna just can't join the family game. She acts out, being silly, embarrassing her parents and doesn't bother to try to apply herself. Camp Fielding is an educational camp that is supposed to turn out geniuses. Both Jenna and Lucas are sent as a last resort. But things are not as they would have expected. They are only fed slop. Special campers are given ice cream treats for no particular reason. When Jenna's ice cream is stolen by another girl she finds her bunk mates are all sleeping like the dead.
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