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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unteachables, Gordon Korman, comes a hilarious middle grade novel about a group of kids forced to "unplug" at a wellness camp—where they instead...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unteachables, Gordon Korman, comes a hilarious middle grade novel about a group of kids forced to "unplug" at a wellness camp—where they instead...
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  • From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unteachables, Gordon Korman, comes a hilarious middle grade novel about a group of kids forced to "unplug" at a wellness camp—where they instead find intrigue, adventure, and a whole lot of chaos. Perfect for fans of Korman's Ungifted and the Masterminds series, as well as Carl Hiaasen's eco mysteries.

    As the son of the world's most famous tech billionaire, spoiled Jett Baranov has always gotten what he wanted. So when his father's private jet drops him in the middle of the Arkansas wilderness, at a place called the Oasis, Jett can't believe it. He's forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids, who he has absolutely no interest in hanging out with.

    As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby-lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can't help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange.

    Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince everybody that he is no longer just a spoiled brat who is making trouble?

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 2, 2020
    After one too many escapades, Jett Baranov, 12-year-old heir to a Silicon Valley empire, is shipped off to the Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness in Arkansas, where, stripped of technology and subjected to vegetarian food and yoga, he’s expected to mend his ways. Jett isn’t so easily thwarted, however: if he can’t get kicked out, he’ll bend every rule to breaking, even going into the candy-smuggling business to disrupt the program’s routine. After fellow attendee Grace Atwater, who actually enjoys the retreat, finds a stray lizard, Jett joins her and others, including Brooklynne Feldman, resident girl of mystery, and allergic-to-everything Tyrell Karrigan, in caring for the illicit pet and sneaking out to a nearby town. When the group discovers inconsistencies in the Oasis’s management style, Jett must overcome his own reputation as a troublemaker and expose a cunning mastermind. Korman injects his signature dry humor throughout, but Jett’s persistent obnoxiousness can drown out the other alternating first-person narratives, and many of the story’s twists are telegraphed early on, resulting in an entertaining if predictable arc. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2020

    Gr 3-5-Jett Barnov is the most spoiled kid in Silicon Valley, and he is always getting into trouble. Finally, his father sends him to a retreat at The Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness in the middle of Arkansas. This retreat, complete with no meat, no pets, and worst of all, no screens of any kind, is meant to help Jett get his act together. As a notorious bad boy, Jett wreaks havoc throughout the retreat; but then he finds a strange lizard, and entices a few other kids to help take care of it. Together, they uncover some mysterious happenings at the oasis, and link them to the unknown lizard and enigmatic millionaire in town. This plot-driven, intriguing story is told through the viewpoints of four characters, so readers are likely to find one who resonates with them. The four narrators have well-developed personalities, although some of the secondary characters are flat and mostly used to move the narrative along. The antics are sometimes over the top but always amusing, and young readers will sympathize with the lack of access to daily creature comforts. Though not expressly a humor title, Korman also sets up some very silly situations, in his typical fashion. VERDICT This fast-paced, funny friendship story will delight realistic fiction readers and fans of Korman's work. A suggested purchase for middle grade collections.-Ellen Conlin, Naperville P.L., IL

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2020
    The spoiled son of a Silicon Valley tech magnate is forced to spend the summer at a wellness retreat with no meat and no phones--and something fishy going on behind the scenes. The last thing 12-year-old Jett Baranov wants to do is meditate at the cultlike Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness in Arkansas. He reluctantly befriends some of the other kids after Grace Atwater, an Oasis poster child, finds a strange lizard. Together with Tyrell Karrigan, who suffers constant allergies, and Brooklynne Feldman, who actively avoids the retreat's activities, Grace and Jett care for the lizard and start making secret trips to the nearest town. They discover an eccentric gangster's mansion and learn that everything might not be completely peaceful at the Oasis. The pieces come together in a mystery that touches, a bit incongruously, on the supernatural. Jett and his friends jump in to save the largely out-of-touch or even downright neglectful adults in an exciting climax of fireworks and alligators. The major detraction from this fun romp is the fact that none of the characters are particularly likable: The main cast of children includes a spoiled brat, a goody-two-shoes, and a doormat. Jett matures a little over the course of the story but not enough to make the indulged billionaire's son truly sympathetic. Characters default to White. A fun, low-tech summer adventure. (Fiction. 8-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from December 1, 2020
    Grades 5-7 *Starred Review* Using multiple narrators, Korman assembles a decidedly unappealing cast for a provocative take on the redemptive power of friends and pets. Dispatched by his internet mogul dad to a no-electronics wellness camp in deepest Arkansas after a series of dangerous pranks, bad boy Jett immediately dedicates himself to getting kicked out by breaking every rule and alienating everyone there. Rescuing a small but aggressive lizard from the camp's hot spring forces him to tone down his campaign, though, because he needs help not only keeping "Needles" hidden (the camp has a "no pets" rule), but since it, too, is repelled by the camp's all-veggie cuisine, finding a way to sneak out to the tiny town a few miles upriver for provisions. Enter an unlikely trio of preteen allies: self-righteous new ager Grace, hyperallergic sycophant Tyrell, and oddly secretive Brooklynne. What sets up as a (relatively) conventional camp story, however, swings into a wild loop with Jett's discovery that Ivory Novis, the camp's charismatic meditation "pathfinder," is hypnotizing adult guests. The stage is set for an awesome climactic night of chases, captures, and explosions--all of which leave Jett at least a tad less lonely, angry, and self-absorbed. Readers still won't be inclined to like him much, but they might be willing to cut him a little slack.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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