Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleep-away camp writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. S.C.G.E. has been a summer home to some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy! contestants), but it has a reputation for being, well, a Nerd Camp. S.C.G.E = Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads.
But, is Gabe really a geek? He’s never thought about it much, but that was before he met Zack, his hip, LA-cool, soon-to-be step-brother. Now, Gabe is worried that Zack will think he’s a nerd, not only a nerd, but JUST a nerd. A wild summer at camp—complete with a midnight canoe ride to “Dead Man’s Island”—makes Gabe realize that Zack may not be the brother he'd always dreamed of, but that doesn't mean they can't be friends.
This clever, fun summer read from Elissa Brent Weissman is full of great minor characters (like a bunkmate who solves math problems in his sleep) and silly subplots (like the geekiest lice outbreak ever). Adjust your head-gear, pack your camp bag and get ready to geek out!
Gr 4-5–Gabe, 10, is excited about getting two things he has wanted: a brother and to go to camp. The brother is Zack, the son of his father’s fiancée, who is also 10 and lives across the country in L.A. The camp is the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. Gabe wants to appear just as cool to Zack as he thinks Zack is, so he keeps the “nerd” details about camp to himself. At SCGE, the campers have lessons in the morning, then traditional camp activities in the afternoon and evening. The campers are typical kids, pulling pranks, whining about some things, and getting homesick; they just happen to be extremely bright. Gabe enjoys his bunkmates and loves everything about camp except the food. Zack is envious of Gabe’s experience, so Gabe keeps him up-to-date on what’s happening, sort of. He keeps a chart of things he can tell his stepbrother and the details that probably shouldn’t be mentioned, e.g., that they like learning the digits of Pi. The boys’ characters are well developed and although the three adults play a minor role in the story, they are civil to one another and to both boys. In addition to being a good, humorous story, the book also illustrates that kids who are bright are just kids and can enjoy a lot of different things.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
- SLJ June 2011