Wednesday, March 16, 2016

VOYA Magazine: DON'T GET CAUGHT Review

I thought I'd share this (awesome) review I just received from VOYA Magazine.

4Q 4P J S
Dinan, Kurt. Don’t Get Caught. Sourcebooks Fire, 2016. 336p. $10.99 Trade pb. 978-1-4926-3014-2.

Adolescent prank wars summon up all the ingenuity, madness, and vengefulness with which adolescents wrestle. Sixteen-year-old narrator Max Cobb and four of his classmates fall for a prank that leaves them looking guilty on top of a just-vandalized school water tower when the security guard turns on the spotlight. Ridiculed as the “Water Tower 5,” they blame the anonymous Chaos Club, a decades-old school institution with a reputation for legendary pranks. Max sees himself as gullible, boring, ordinary—“Just Max”—but with considerable knowledge of heist movies. Heist rule #7 is “Always get payback.” The Water Tower 5 use a series of outrageous pranks, hoping to draw out and expose the Chaos Club members. As the pranks escalate beyond clever raunchiness into meanness, Max has serious reservations. By the time he renounces the prank war, he has survived suspension, arrest, and a major double-cross, but he is sure about his own values.
The other members of the Water Tower 5—two girls and two boys—are well drawn. Each contributes a realistic backstory and personal flavor to the plot. Teen readers will delight in the way such totally different individuals begin to cooperate to triumph over their wrongs. Several of the adult characters, especially the vice principal, are exaggerated fascist stereotypes, so it is easy to root against them. Although the pranks never quite lose their clever charm, they do cost two adults their jobs. In the end, readers will have to detach themselves from the Water Tower 5, and they may also feel double-crossed by a late plot surprise.—Katherine Noone

Hard to imagine it being better written.
Better than most, marred by occasional lapses.
Readable, without serious defects.
Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q.
Hard to understand how it got published, except in relation to its P rating (and not even then sometimes).
Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday.
Broad general or genre YA appeal.
Will appeal with pushing.
For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject.
No teen will read unless forced to for assignments.
Grade Level Interest
Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
Junior High (defined as grades 7-9).
Senior High (defined as grades 10-12).
Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.
Graphic Novel Format

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