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?
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Candlewick
Three and a half stars: The camping trip from hell that will appeal to teenage boys.
Dan Weekes is doing his best to survive high school. He takes refuge in his sketchbook where he creates graphic novels, starring the girl of his dreams, Erin. Strapped to his watch, is his father's broken Timex, the only thing he has from his father who vanished eight years ago. Since his dad left, Dan's mom has dated a string of bad guys. When his mom introduces Dan to Hank, he isn't concerned, but then when they announce their engagement, Dan's world trembles on its axis. Things get even worse when his mother send Dan on a week long survivalist camping trip with Hank. Dan insists that Charlie, his best friend, accompany him. Charlie and Dan cook up a plan to sabotage Hank so he will leave, but they aren't prepared for the mayhem that awaits them. Will Dan survive the wilderness?
What I Liked:
- Dan Against Nature is a book that will appeal to a certain audience, mainly teenage boys. Even though there is plenty of gross humor and embarrassing pranks, I still found myself giggling. If you like books that feature teenage boy narrators and you can handle boyish humor, this is a fun one to take on.
- The two man characters, Dan and Charlie, are the type of underdog characters you can't help but cheer for. They are small, scrawny, shy, awkward and bullied. Dan is a talented artist, while Charlie is a brainiac. Together they cook up and pull of some outlandish pranks and schemes all in order to get Hank, Dan's future step dad to run away. I was pleased to see by the end of their adventure, they both had grown and they were more confident. I also liked the way the situation with Hank was handled. I appreciated the growth and maturity.
- The humor is what make this book. Yes, it involves a lot of boyish pranks, and plenty of bodily humor such as vomit, farts, explosive diarrhea, etc. There is also the classic wiping your behind with poison ivy, and plenty more embarrassing situations that will have you laughing out loud. This book will definitely appeal to the teenage boy, but if you aren't afraid to take on a bit of crude humor and outlandish pranks, you will get a kick out of this.
- There is even a bit of a romance, though it isn't the typical swoony, melt your heart type. It is what you would expect from a romance when you have immature teenage boys involved. Still it was funny to see the two characters come together and bond over their shared interests.
- I liked watching the rag tag group survive in the wilderness. It ends up being a survivalist story, and even though the situation was dire at times, it always remained upbeat and funny.
- The ending is satisfactory, all the story lines are tied up neatly, and there is no cliffhanger or unresolved issues.
And The Not So Much:
- It is best to go into this one not expecting it to be realistic. Some of the things that happen in the wilderness get to be a bit far fetched: the bear, the exploding plane, the survivalist guide taking off with the mother to get it on, leaving the others behind, etc. As the story progressed it got more and more outlandish, until I was rolling my eyes, especially when it came out the bear.
- I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more development with the romances. I was hoping for more depth and so forth, but I am a girl, and I am not the select audience.
- Some of the pranks get to be a bit much, and if you can't handle boyish, bodily humor, this is not a book for you.
- This is a book I would highly recommend reading on an ereader because the author includes a plethora of brainiac words that I had to look, and I have an expanded vocabulary. I guarantee the average teenage boy will have no clue when the encounter these words, and while they served a purpose, they are over the top.
Dan Vs. Nature is a book that will appeal to teenage boys, but any reader can enjoy it if you are willing to endure some crude humor. I found myself laughing at some of the ridiculous plights, and I was entertained even though I am not the target audience. The story falters a bit though with lack of realism, but it is still fun.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.