15-year-old Luke Sheldon is academically gifted and, along with a group of his peers, he is invited to attend Camp Hope in New York State for the summer holiday, for the Well Rounded Youth Program (sic), intended to develop social skills in the exceptionally talented to the same level as intellectual ones.
The isolation and claustrophobia of the camp provide the perfect scenario for a thriller which rattles along at breakneck speed but which is liberally laced with shrewd observations of teenage behaviour: first love; male posturing; verbal bullying. Mysterious clues, left around the camp, send Luke and his friends into a frenzy of code-breaking whilst a rival faction, led by the sneeringly unpleasant Mark, tries to find the promised treasure first.
There are well-placed red herrings to wrong-foot both reader and protagonist and an astonishing and shocking twist at the end of the book. The cover is eerily garish and the whole is a package which will appeal to readers who like their books to push the boundaries of normality yet retain credibility throughout.