Book Thoughts: Boot Camp by Todd Strasser


Todd Strasser

This Young Adult fiction novel is on the Great Books for Children and Teens 2007 reading list.  I’m not sure I would have picked it up if it hadn’t been assigned to me to read, but I am happy I did!

‘Boot Camp’ has absolutely nothing to do with the Army.  This story is far more sinister.  The book opens with Garrett, a 15-year old boy, being “transported” to Lake Harmony.  He’s not sure what is going on, but it is soon revealed that his parents have sent him to this camp to “cure” him of his problems.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will tell you this book is not for the weak of heart.  Author Todd Strasser cites his sources in the back of the book, explaining that the conditions and abuse Garrett endures at Lake Harmony are not just from his imagination; there are camps like this all over the United States.  Children are sent away from their homes and force to comply with “rules” meant to turn them into the child their parents want. 

Despite its dark story, this is a page turner.  The chapters are just short enough that you convince yourself that you could read just one more.  And then that chapter ends in a bit of a cliff hanger and you have to keep going!  A disturbing page turner!

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