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By B. A. Frade
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- Trade Paperback $5.99 $7.99 CAD
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 24, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Kaitlyn and Noah are arch-enemies at their summer camp, and with good reason. They are rivals in everything, and both are determined to come out on top. But when they suddenly start to see double and it turns out that their camp counselors have doppelgangers running amok, they have to work together to get to the bottom of the strangely replicating counselors and save their camp from the Scaremaster–who seems to be pulling the strings from inside the pages of his creepy book. Will Kaitlyn and Noah learn that it takes two to outwit the Scaremaster and save their campmates, or will the clones win this round?
For fans of Goosebumps, Eerie Elementary, and the Haunted Library series, B.A. Frade brings frightfully funny tales to life in this thrilling new series.
I warned you.
"This is your fault." I was so mad it felt like my blood was on fire. I clenched my teeth and hissed, "You're always joking around, Noah." With big, clumping footsteps, I marched past him on the way to the dining hall. "Someday, someone's going to pull a prank on you, and we'll see who's laughing then!"
My hair matched my mood. It was out of control.
I tucked a stray long dark brown strand under my Camp Redwood Vines logo cap and stared back at Noah over my shoulder. We'd been told to hurry, but he wasn't even trying to keep up with me.
"Whatever," Noah muttered, shuffling his feet in the dirt.
It was only the first week of camp, and I knew that this was already his second kitchen assignment. The first one was just one day, by himself. This time, I was being forced to come along. And it was for three whole days. A total waste of what should have been a fun weekend!
"I'm not going to apologize," Noah said, keeping his casual pace. "You didn't have to follow me to the boat dock. You didn't have to hide in the trees while I drilled those holes in that cabin's rowboat. And for sure, you didn't have to turn me in to the counselors!"
"You didn't deserve that trophy." I stopped and turned around to stare at him. Noah Silvetti was so infuriating! "You cheated."
"It's camp, Kaitlin," Noah said, finally catching up with me. "Not the Olympics." He raised one eyebrow. "Who do you think you are? Nancy Drew?" Noah laughed at his own joke, adding, "Kaitlin Wang, Girl Detective."
With a huff, I rotated on my tennis shoe heel and stomped toward the dining hall's back doors. I didn't care if he followed me or not.
I didn't deserve this.
Here's what happened:
It was very late when, through my cabin window, I saw Noah sneak out of his cabin and head toward the boathouse. I crept after him to find out what was going on, but he was far away and I couldn't see in the dark, so I gave up and went back to bed. I didn't actually figure out what he'd done until after the rowboat sunk in the middle of the lake. Noah was lucky that all the kids followed the rules and were wearing life vests, or it could have been a disaster. As it was, twelve boys struggled to swim to shore while Noah's cabin's team, laughing and pointing, crossed the finish line and claimed the trophy.
I was going to be an investigative journalist someday. And I knew that telling what I'd witnessed was the right thing to do.
So how was it possible that I was being punished too?
Director Dave said I shouldn't have been out after curfew.
Seriously? If I hadn't secretly investigated, when the cabin's boat sank, no one would have known who was responsible. I deserved a medal, not KP. Kitchen Patrol was a task given only to the worst rule breakers, and that was not me.
Director Dave actually said, "Kaitlin, I'm glad you told me what you saw, but you know better than to leave your cabin at night. Yours was a lesser crime but still a violation of camp rules." I kept replaying those words over and over in my head. "A violation of camp rules…" Did he know me at all? I was helping! I'd never intentionally violate any rules without a good reason.
For Noah, three days in the kitchen was a second-strike violation. And even though this was my first "crime," Director Dave wanted to prove a point, so here I was walking with Noah toward our joint punishment.
I opened the door to the kitchen just wide enough for me to slip through and let it slam back in Noah's face. The wire screen reverberated with a bang against the rusty hinges, barely missing his nose.
I heard Noah grunt as he pulled open the screen door for himself and stepped into the hot, sweaty room. It was a hundred degrees outside. In the kitchen, it had to be double that. A drop of sweat rolled down my forehead, and when I peeked back, I could see that Noah's dark hair was glistening with perspiration. He wore his hair so short that I could see that his forehead gleamed, and his ears, which were too big for his head, looked shiny.
I was glad I had the hat. My cheeks were flushed from the heat. I was sure I was melting.
"Welcome, Noah." A young woman greeted him first. Then me, "And Kaitlin."
"Where's Spike?" Noah asked her. The cook lowered her eyes at him as if she didn't know what Noah was talking about, so he went on, "Spike? The usual cook? Big guy. Tattoos." He rubbed a hand over his arm and across his neck to show where Spike's tattoos were located. "He made me peel potatoes on Tuesday."
The cook continued to look at him with a blank expression that revealed nothing.
I knew Spike. All the campers did. We treated him with equal parts gratitude for the food, which wasn't all that bad, and fear that we might get KP and have to work for him in the kitchen someday. Rumors were he learned to cook in prison. We'd heard that he ran the camp kitchen just like the prison one. Scary.
Looking at this new cook, I was relieved that Spike was out. If we were lucky, maybe he was gone for the whole weekend.
There was a glint in the cook's golden eyes when she said, "There's a lot to do. I need to start preparing dinner." Her midnight-black hair was so dark it looked purple under the fluorescent lights. "You two should get started."
We were each given a pair of plastic gloves and a large white garbage bag. She pointed through a pair of swinging saloon-type doors into the dining area.
I glanced at Noah. I felt a little bad for him because he'd clearly done this before.
"When you're finished, I have other tasks for you." Her voice held an edge that gave me the chills. I wondered what "other tasks" meant and found that I'd changed my mind. I sort of wished that Spike would come back.
"Trash, trash, trash," Noah muttered as I followed him into the main room, where we ate all our meals at long tables, seated by cabin.
I surveyed the situation and moaned, "There's always so much garbage at camp."
Campers were supposed to bus their own plates after meals. But there were always things left over: napkins, wrappers, paper cups. It was like they half cleaned and left the rest, knowing, if they waited long enough, Noah would eventually be there.
I couldn't help but notice that the cook was grinning to herself, lips turned up ever so slightly at the edges, as she disappeared back through the doors into the kitchen.
We walked in silence around the edge of the mess hall, collecting paper products and leftover food. "So…" I was still mad, but staying quiet wasn't my way. "Why'd you cheat? Didn't you trust your team to win fairly?"
"I'm not talking to you," Noah retorted. "I don't know who you'll tell."
"That's not fair," I countered. "You were the one who got us both in trouble."
"You have no sense of humor," he said, voice rising. "The boat prank was hysterical!"
I grabbed two broken pencils, a frayed friendship bracelet, and a half-eaten sandwich from the floor. Dropping all that in my trash bag, I said, "It wasn't hysterical. It was dangerous and dumb."
Noah grabbed a paper cup off a table and tossed it at my head. "You're ruining my fun." I swerved left, and the cup missed, landing softly on the floor by my foot.
"We're even, then, because you're ruining my fun!" I picked it up and wadded it in a ball. "Here." I threw the cup up and smacked it with the palm of my hand. The cup flew at him with such force and precision that it bounced off his forehead. "Ha!" I took a small curtsy. "You're looking at the captain of the middle school tennis team and twelve-year-old regional Slam Jam champion."
"La-di-da," Noah mocked. "I'm on the all-state improvisational comedy team."
"Really?" For someone who considered himself a master at being sneaky, Noah was shockingly easy to read when he was lying. "Wait. I don't believe you."
I was surprised when he answered honestly. "Well, I could have been. I was up for the team, but my parents couldn't take me to the final tryout." He went on, revealing, "They're tree huggers. Seriously, if you look up the word online, you'll find my parents hugging trees. They are always out in the woods, finding themselves, or writing books on berries, bugs, or leaves." He added in a softer voice, "I have a nanny, but she doesn't drive."
This little bit of honesty was so unlike what I knew about Noah—I didn't know how to respond.
My parents were divorced but never neglectful. Both of them were overly committed to being at everything "for my sake." They didn't really like each other, and yet, they never missed a tennis match or a school presentation or anything. Noah's parents were never around while mine were always there. If they knew I had KP this week, they'd probably both come to "be with me during this difficult time." No joke.
Noah and I were finishing up, gathering the last bits of trash, when the cook popped her head out of the kitchen. Her eyes seemed golden when I'd first seen her, but now they appeared brown or blue or… I squinted. It might have been my imagination, but they kept changing.
"Dumpster's out back." She pointed toward the rear of the building. "You must stack the bags neatly inside. One of you will need to climb into the dumpster to make sure the trash is organized."
"Organized?" I heard Noah mutter under his breath. "Spike never made me organize the garbage."
The cook acted as if she hadn't heard him. "After you're done there, come find me."
If she wanted the trash organized, it would be organized. There was no way I was getting in more trouble. I hefted my full, heavy bag and headed out. "You coming?" I asked as I passed by Noah. I was determined that if anyone had to climb into the dumpster, it would be him.
"Right behind you," he said. Then he snatched my baseball cap off my head.
"Hey." I spun around to face him. "Give that back!"
Noah took off running. The big white trash bag banged against his legs as he dashed out the dining hall door and around to the large, green metal dumpster.
Tennis requires conditioning, and Noah had no way to know that I loved running. He didn't expect it when I caught up easily and leapt forward to block the way between him and the dumpster.
I rested my trash bag on the ground, put one hand on my hip, and stretched out the other. "Give me my hat."
I worked hard to get that camp hat, and I was not giving it up. I was already twelve years old, and this was my first summer at camp. There were a lot of summer camps around the lake, but Camp Redwood Vines was the smallest. I used that fact to convince my parents to send me. I assured them it would be "safe," that the counselors would know everyone and always be around, so nothing bad could possibly happen.
"Go get it," Noah said with a laugh, tossing it up and over my head. The hat landed in the dumpster.
"You're not funny!" I grit my teeth as I realized that I was going to have to be the one to climb over the side. I hefted myself up the narrow ladder attached to the huge bin.
It wasn't as gross as I expected. Neat white trash bags were piled in low rows. The cook was right—it certainly was "organized," strange as that sounded. The trash smelled bad, but at least it wasn't leaking out all over the place.
I lowered myself into the dumpster between two full bags of something so stinky I gagged. Happiness surged through me at the sight of my hat sitting on a clean cardboard box. I grabbed it and was about to quickly call to Noah to hand over the trash bags when a bit of leather caught my eye.
"Hey, Noah. I found an old book." My voice echoed a little off the dumpster walls. The discovery was so exciting I temporarily put aside that I was mad and that I didn't like him. I turned the book over in my hands. "It's an antique, I think… definitely not trash. There are these strange gash marks in the leather cover."
"Gash marks?" Noah climbed up the little ladder so he could peer into the dumpster. "Show me."
The strange thing about my discovery was that it didn't completely feel like a discovery—it was like the book was waiting for me. Sure, it was tucked between two white bags, but anyone who'd climbed into the dumpster would have easily found it there.
I studied the small brass locking clasp that stretched from the cover to the binding. Etched into the cover, beneath those long scratch marks, was a geometric design made entirely of the same size triangles, all in a deep golden color.
The book was so interesting on the outside, and I couldn't wait to see what was inside. Filled with anticipation, I pushed aside the clasp and opened the cover.
Praise for Clone Camp!:
- "Should appeal to readers who liked the Goosebumps series."—School Library Connection
- On Sale
- Jan 24, 2017
- Page Count
- 176 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers