Sometimes when I’m trying to figure out which booktalk to include next on this podcast, I look through my backlog of titles and I look at the categories on the website to see which subjects could use a boost. So on the one hand, I now definitely know that I need to include some more books that fall into the fairy tales, homosexuality, novels in verse, teenage pregnancy, and zombie categories. On the other hand, I hadn’t talked about a “survivor story” in a while, and The Goats by Brock Cole definitely fits into that category.
This was a book that I first read years ago when I was back in library school, and the good news is that it’s a compelling story that aged well. As opposed to a book like The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen, a PHENOMENAL story about a girl who is kidnapped and proceeds to type out letters on her portable typewriter and …
What do you mean, “What’s a typewriter?”
Anyway, as you probably figured out by my episode on Killing Mr. Griffin, I’m a huge fan of books whose covers have evolved while their contents have remained timeless. While most teens won’t be familiar with the sleepaway summer camp experience, much less one with an island strategically nearby, ALL teens can understand what it feels like to be victimized and humiliated. And all teens will want to find out what happens to Howie and Laura, two victims who aren’t as weak as they first appeared.
Howie and Laura had been taught a lesson. The lesson was, “You are not popular.” The other boys and girls at their summer camp chose the two of them to be part of an annual tradition. Howie and Laura were stripped of their clothes, tied up, brought over to Goat Island, and left there. Every summer the same thing happened to one boy and one girl, and every summer everyone got a big laugh. But this summer will be different, because Howie and Laura aren’t as weak as everyone thinks they are. They make a plan that they won’t be there the next morning for the other campers to laugh at – they’re going to escape from Goat Island. This summer, Howie and Laura will teach a lesson of their own.