Saturday, March 1, 2008

BOOT CAMP by Todd Strasser

Garrett is dragged out of his bed in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and taken to Lake Harmony, a teenage boot camp, completely against his will. His parents sent him to this behavior modification camp in order to teach him respect and self-discipline.

Garrett is an extremely bright fifteen-year-old. School has never been a problem for him. In fact, he quite often gets bored. He can finish in three days what it takes most students a whole week to accomplish. So, he doesn’t always go to school. Instead he goes to museums or the park to play chess with the old men.

The main reason Garrett’s parents sent him to Lake Harmony though, is Sabrina. Sabrina was one of his teachers until his parents found out about their relationship. His parents got her fired, but didn’t want to go to the police because they didn’t want the story to go public. His mother is always afraid of how things will look to others. Garrett doesn’t stop seeing Sabrina and even begins to stay at her house overnight. His parents feel that Lake Harmony is the only way to break off the relationship.

At Lake Harmony, Garrett experiences isolation, torture, and both physical and mental abuse. His resists the attempts of the staff to brainwash him into thinking he is wrong about everything. Garrett doesn’t accept the fact that just because his parents are paying $4000 a month for him to be at Lake Harmony, they are right about everything.

It is clear Todd Strasser has done a lot of research on the topic of behavior modification programs for teens. There is an afterword describing some of what he discovered and more importantly, a reference list of materials he used to put together his research for the book. Even though the story wraps up a little too quickly and a little too neatly in the end, it is a story that makes you think.

If you want to know if Garrett can make it through with his self-esteem intact? Read BOOT CAMP by Todd Strasser.


  1. Karin,
    Thanks for adding me. Yea, I like this blogspot thing, too. It's a much better place to recommend to my students.
    BTW, I just tried to visit Siobhan Dowd's website (author of The London Eye Mystery) and it says she died in August. Shocker! I emailed in late spring or early summer last year to say how much I liked A Swift Pure Cry. I wanted to do the same for the new book. Bummer, that's a shame. Her books will be missed.

  2. Wow! Sounds intense! My kind of book! :)


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