What's worse than a cabin full of surly, tech-deprived teenaged boys forced into six weeks of rustic summer camp? Well, at age 15 Ariel has already survived a civil war, refugee encampment, and relocation. Camp can't be THAT bad.
I adore Andrew Smith's books, and this one is no exception. It's got 4 main storylines: Ariel's past, Ariel's present, an arctic exploring vessel circa 1880, and a crazy guy with a bomb. They're woven together and build toward a climax that you're never quite able to put your finger on, as a reader.
The cover is super creepy on this one - it's a black bird beak holding a bomb ... or is it an EYE watching you?! And it's filled with wonderfully unusual - and yet typically Andrew Smith - kind of characters: a suicidal pet bird, the kid who pretends he's listening to his iPod through wads of toilet paper in his ears, horny teenagers with a million euphemisms for masturbation.
And while it's very, very funny it's also quite dark, even a bit bleak. Business ethics, cloning, de-extinction, war, and more. Highly recommended.