Don Calame + Teen Readers = Hysterical Laughter

BookendsLynn: I know the Spotlight on Humor was last month but I can’t seem to move on, especially now I’ve just collapsed after reading Don Calame’s latest hilarious book, Dan vs. Nature (April 2016). I’ve laughed so much I’m a wreck—and I’m not even the real audience. Hey, I’m not trying to stereotype anyone but please remember my household has been, and continues to be, dominated by the Y chromosome. I’ve spent years subjected to what males think is funny and I’m here to say that Don Calame GETS the boys I know. Females will laugh at this too, witness my reaction, but I’m here to tell you that Calame’s books = teen boys laughing hysterically.

I’ve spent years subjected to what males think is funny and
I’m here to say that Don Calame GETS the boys I know.

Dan vs. Nature by Don CalameDan has watched his mom make bad choices in men as long as he can remember. Even his own dad was a bad choice. Fortunately, none of them have stayed around—until now. Now she has fallen hard for a dentist named Hank who resembles a well-dressed Wolverine AND they are going to get married! In a very unwelcome surprise, Dan’s mom has set up a wilderness camping trip for Dan and Hank so they can bond. Dan decides to enlist his best friend, Charlie, the ultimate nerd and germophobe, to come along and sabotage the trip. Charlie is full of dirty tricks, all designed to show Hank that fatherhood is not in the cards. As he puts it, “It’s uninterrupted freak-out-the-future-stepdad time.”

And off they go, complete with a nearly toothless wilderness guide, and a gung-ho mom and her sarcastic-but-hot teenage daughter. Add Charlie’s repertoire of nasty schemes and a hungry, persistent bear and, well, you get the picture. If you’ve read any of Calame’s books before you won’t be surprised to learn that the dirty tricks mostly backfire on Dan or that disgusting bodily fluids, poison ivy in the most awkward places, barfing, embarrassment, wasp stings and crashed planes all figure in the crazy plot. Raunchy, gross, laugh-till-you cry, well, trust me, just hand this a teen boy and watch the laughs roll.



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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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