Thursday, December 01, 2016

Everyman...Or Boy...Comes Through Again

Max, our main character in Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan, perceives himself as extremely unexceptional. Yet when he becomes the victim of a group prank pulled by the secret Chaos Club, he calls on his extensive knowledge of  caper movies and uses it to pull together a team to uncover the identities of those who victimized him.

Don't Get Caught reminded me of The Lottery by Beth Goobie, another book with a secret high school group holding characters hostage. But while The Lottery is dark and grim, Don't Get Caught is a clever, witty, caper story. Reading the two of them one after the other would be a good exercise in how the same material can be handled in different ways.

Interesting bit of contrast between Don't Get Caught and a number of other YA books that involve some kind of adversity teens are dealing with, bullying, say, a librarian from hell, or being victimized by pranksters. The adults in many of these books are invisible. All of them. Teachers, parents, everybody. They are either conveniently out of the way, uncaring, or clueless. This is done, no doubt, to get rid of grown-ups, so the teenagers can become the actors in the story. However, it doesn't seem realistic.

In Don't Get Caught, we have a different situation. The adults show up. They're caring. They are just unable to do anything to help their kids with bullies, librarians from hell, and pranksters. I think that's probably very realistic. The truth is adults are powerless to help their kids in many situations. That's actually a much harsher reality than taking Mom and Dad out of the picture because of marital problems or work.

Don't Get Caught's ending hints at the possibility of a sequel. I would read that.

No comments: