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Dan Versus Nature
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Dan Versus Nature
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From screenwriter Don Calame comes another outrageously funny and raunchy tale of teen boys whose plans go awry — this time, on a survivalist camping trip.Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his...
From screenwriter Don Calame comes another outrageously funny and raunchy tale of teen boys whose plans go awry — this time, on a survivalist camping trip.Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his...
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  • From screenwriter Don Calame comes another outrageously funny and raunchy tale of teen boys whose plans go awry — this time, on a survivalist camping trip.

    Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his time creating graphic novels inspired by his dream girl and looking out for his mom as she dates every man in the state of California. Then his mom drops a bomb: she and her latest beau, Hank, are engaged, and she's sending her "two favorite men" on a survivalist camping trip to "bond." Determined to trick Hank into showing his true — flawed — colors on the trip, Dan and his nerdy germaphobe best friend, Charlie, prepare a series of increasingly gross and embarrassing pranks. But the boys hadn't counted on a hot girl joining their trip or on getting separated from their wilderness guide—not to mention the humiliating injuries Dan suffers in the course of terrorizing his stepdad-to-be. With a man-hungry bear on their trail, no supplies, and a lot of unpleasant itching going on, can Dan see his plan through now that his very survival depends on Hank?

About the Author-

  • I grew up in Hicksville, (that's right, Hicksville) New York. It's a town on Long Island that's basically Levittown-light. We had all the charm of the 1950s' cookie-cutter houses without the posh Levitt name.

    My mother, brother, sister, and I lived with my grandmother on Arrow Lane, a block and half away from Parkway Pool where my sister and I took swim lessons and practiced with our swim team.

    It was my mother and grandmother who instilled a love of reading in me. They always had a Stephen King or a James A. Michener novel going. Christmas and birthday presents were often Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, or Lloyd Alexander books.

    I must have been around nine when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. My first story was a very bad one called "The Battle Between Earth and Mars" (or some such). Many of the characters and storylines were borrowed from Star Wars and Star Trek (certainly not recommended). Upon reading the tale, a friend of the family suggested I try making up my own stories and, oddly enough, it completely freed up my imagination. I haven't stopped writing since (though, for a brief period of time I flirted with the idea of being a rock-and-roll god).

    After university, I moved to Los Angeles and started writing screenplays. I wrote them, but nobody read them. I wrote more of them. And still, nobody read them. In the meantime I got my teaching certificate through the LAUSD Intern program and taught third, fourth, and fifth grade.

    After years (approximately six) of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get some writing in before work, someone finally read one of my scripts and bought it. Since then I've worked with Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios, the Disney Channel, and Lionsgate.


    Swim The Fly is my first novel and, as far as writing goes, it's the project I am most proud of. I had an enormous amount of fun working on it (even though, had it not been for my wife's persistence, it probably wouldn't exist).

    Though none of the things that happen in the book actually happened to me, I used a lot of my memories growing up (in Hicksville) and being on swim team for inspiration.

    My writing process is fairly simple: tea, headphones, music, a thousand words a day, try to make myself laugh.


    Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

    1. I spend far too much time teaching my dog silly tricks.

    2. I collect game-worn hockey jerseys (yup, the smelly, sweaty jerseys that professional hockey players wear)

    3. It took a great deal of practice (and much coaching from one of my best friends in junior high) but forever more I can make fart sounds with my hands.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 1, 2016
    In this laugh-out-loud gross-out comedy, 16-year-old Dan Weekes is forced to participate in a survivalist camping trip with his mother’s new fiancé, and his attempts to sabotage the bonding experience go hilariously, horribly awry. Dan would rather draw comics than catch and cook his own dinner, and he certainly doesn’t want handsome dentist Hank to become his new father. So Dan and his best friend Charlie launch an all-out campaign of terror designed to drive Hank away. But as the trip becomes a nightmarish struggle to elude hungry bears and survive in the wilderness, it’s Dan who suffers the most, from food poisoning to poison ivy and wasp stings in unwelcome places. If their ragtag group—which also includes a hyper-smart, no-nonsense girl named Penelope—is to make it, they’ll have to work together. Calame (Call the Shots) utilizes every juvenile humor trick in the book (body odor, flatulence, awkward sex jokes, regurgitation) to draw guilty laughter from Dan’s onslaught of shameful experiences. The result is coming-of-age by way of catastrophe. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2016

    Gr 10 Up-Dan Weekes, a budding graphic novelist, and his geeky, germophobic best friend, Charlie, are just trying to survive high school, their main goal being not getting beat up by the jocks. Meanwhile, Dan's mother has made a point of dating almost every man in California. Then she meets Hank, to whom she gets engaged before Dan even meets him. The teen's first impression is that Hank is the living version of Wolverine, leaving him checking his hand for fractured bones after their initial handshake. For Dan's 16th birthday, his mom gets him two tickets to go on a wilderness adventure to bond with Hank. To make matters worse, Dan is assigned to take Baby-Real-A-Lot (a mechanical baby) the same week as the trip. Dan convinces Charlie to go on the trip, with Charlie coming up with a series of increasingly raunchy pranks designed to scare Hank off from marrying Dan's mom. Calame throws a twist in when Penelope, a smart and adorkable teen, and her mother end up on the same trip. Full of uproariously funny scenes and foul language typical of today's teens, this is a journey through the wilderness that readers will never forget. The pranks include doctored-up chili, doe urine, rainbow barf, and an unplanned stalker. Under the surface, Calame touches on deeper issues, including Dan's absent father, Hank's own father issues, jealousy, and expectations of what makes a family. VERDICT Perfect for the most reluctant of readers, this book is a sure-fire hit.-Erin Holt, Williamson Cty. P.L., Franklin, TN

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2016
    Dan and his stepfather-to-be go on a hike in the woods to bond. Dan has endured a revolving door of maternal boyfriends ever since his father left, counting on his mother's poor track record to end things before they got too serious. But when new beau Hank comes over for dinner and announces their engagement, Dan starts to panic. Dan's mother arranges for the two guys to go on a survivalist camping trip so they'll get to know each other, and indoor kid Dan wants nothing to do with it. With his friend Charlie tagging along, Dan plans a deluge of pranks to scare Hank off for good. The premise has been grist for many a previous comedy mill, and readers will likely be able to see every plot development a mile away--and they do feel miles away. Vomit jokes and bathroom humor abound, and while they may have a place in a book for middle schoolers, the frank language and sexuality here make this a teen book with a 12-year-old's sense of humor. Dan himself feels like a slightly older Greg Heffley, oozing self-interest, which makes it hard for readers to care about the transformation the camping trip will inevitably bring about. Both derivative and pandering. (Fiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2016
    Grades 7-10 Sixteen-year-old comics artist Dan Weekes and his nerdy best friend, Charlie, are headed for a week-long wilderness survival adventure with Hank, his mother's fiance; she wants the trip to be a bonding experience between son and future stepdad. Her track record with men is not promising, however, and Dan is worried about Hank's commitment. Charlie, on the other hand, senses opportunity: this wilderness jaunt is the perfect time to sabotage the relationship and upcoming marriage via lots of diarrhea, vomiting, body odor, embarrassing questions, and, well, the unexpected survival realities of a lost wilderness guide, a people-tracking black bear, and a crashed rescue planethink Gary Paulsen meets Captain Underpants. Technology in the form of a perversely adapted Baby-Real-A-Lot (a lifelike doll that mimics a real baby), scatological and reproductive humor, and teenage boy sexual fantasies team up with tense backwoods situations to create a perfect middle-school read. Be prepared for lots of in-the-stacks snickering.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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