cover image Camouflage


Gloria Miklowitz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $16 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201467-4

In this overdrawn yet thrilling high drama, 14-year-old Kyle is fed up with his overprotective mother and her ""cop"" boyfriend and is eager to take off to Michigan to spend the summer with his father. However, his Midwest vacation takes on nightmarish proportions as the teenager is drawn into his father's circle of friends, a group of right-wing militants prepared to take the law into their own hands. Miklowitz's (Standing Tall, Looking Good) taut narrative traces Kyle's descent into a world ruled by hatred, racism and violence. Kyle's father, after presenting his son with a camouflage suit (""Back home, if [Kyle] wore this, he'd be the envy of all his friends!"") and teaching him how to shoot a gun, leads his son into battle against officials ready to foreclose a neighbor's farm. Once Kyle realizes that bloodshed and destruction are in store, it is too late for him to back out. This action-packed drama challenges readers to examine conventional notions of freedom, loyalty and manhood. Kyle's emotional turmoil is genuine, even if events (e.g., the bombing of a government building) appear extreme and characterizations (e.g. ""If he was going to have friends... he better go along with the flow, bite his tongue and not judge,"" are Kyle's thoughts when he meets a teen leader), occasionally superficial. Hearts will be racing as Kyle desperately seeks escape from external and internal warfare. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)