From School Library Journal
Grade 5–7—Einstein, a 13-year-old Twinkie addict/blogger, is dreading his upcoming stay at Camp Creepy Time, even though the brochure shows gourmet meals, horseback riding, and a sparkling lake. Of course, his clueless parents believe the claims of this glossy leaflet, so they send him off and look forward to a carefree summer alone. For Einstein, though, things get very creepy very quickly, from campers in monster costumes to a godforsaken location (the ramshackle buildings are surrounded by a vast desert full of nocturnal predators) to evil staff members who serve horrible food and dispense mysterious salt tablets, which have hideous consequences for the campers. The authors have a way with words and are on target for the type of sarcastic humor that will amuse some children. But the plot structure just seems to pile events on top of events, with no rhythm or dynamic sense and deteriorates into a hodgepodge of monsters and aliens. Einstein's main emotion seems to be resentment, making it hard for readers to relate to him. Without an emotional core and much focus, the book makes one appreciate those who do this type of story well, such as Bruce Coville and Daniel Pinkwater. Suggest Kate Klise's Letters from Camp
(Avon, 1999), whose villains are both subtler and scarier.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
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Much to his horror, 13-year-old computer nerd and Twinkie aficionado Einstein P. Fleet finds himself bused off to spend eight weeks at Camp Creepy Time, in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Einstein is definitely not an eager camper, but clearly other things are also amiss: everyone arrives wearing monster costumes; the adults in charge are sadistic; and Einstein's only real friends turn out to be a ghost and an alien. The three join forces to try and outwit the counselors before all the campers are shipped to an intergalactic zoo. The Gershon siblings' first novel should appeal to young readers in search of the wacky and ridiculous. Characters are exaggerated and mostly one-dimensional; much of the humor revolves around bodily dysfunctions; and a few stray plot points (such as the Valley Girl twins who get lost in the desert) seem to go nowhere. Still, this is an entertaining, quick read. A Web site is promised. Weisman, Kay