Tuesday 1 November 2022

The Fort - Gordon Korman

The Fort
Gordon Korman
ISBN 9781338629149
eISBN 9781338629156

This story is Gordon Korman’s 100th book. Yes you read that correctly, his hundredth book. My introduction to Korman’s works was the 39 Clues back in 2009. Since then I have read 16 of his books. Hardly a drop in the buck, but with each one I read I am entertained and often challenged. My son often reads these books to me or with me. We used adaptive technology and listened to this one together on a road trip. 

My son and I started reading Gordon Korman books together a few years ago, prior to that I had a read a few of his contributions to the 39 Clues. We have mostly been reading his more recent titles. This book has been on our wish list wince we saw it announced, and thankfully it released simultaneously in Canada and the US so we did not have to wait for it this time. Korman truly a master of the Middle Grade and even Young Adult genres, his books are amazing for kids, tweens and teens. And even some of us older readers. C.S. Lewis in On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature stated: “It is very rarely that a middle-aged man finds an author who gives him, what he knew so often in his teens and twenties, the sense of having opened a new door.” I said in a previous review that Korman accomplishes that in this and all of his other books I have read. This was another amazing read! It deals with some pretty heavy subjects, but subjects in almost every school in North America is dealing with. The description of this books is:

“From the bestselling author of RESTART, the story of a middle-school “band of brothers” — five friends who need to stick together after they set up a hideout in an abandoned bomb shelter and discover that the only way to be true friends is to reveal their secrets and help each other out.

The morning after Hurricane Leo rips through the town of Canaan, residents awaken to widespread destruction — power outages, downed branches, uprooted trees, broken windows and damaged roofs. Four eighth-grade friends — Evan, Jason, Mitchell, and CJ — meet to explore the devastation. The tight-knit group is dismayed to find that Evan has brought along a stray — Ricky, who is new to their town and school, and doesn’t have any friends yet.

Ricky is the one to find the strange trap door that’s appeared in the middle of the woods — the door to an old bomb shelter, unearthed by the hurricane. Inside, the boys find a completely intact underground lair, complete with electricity, food, and entertainment (in the form of videocassettes). The boys vow to keep the place’s existence to themselves.

Things soon get tense. Some bad locals keep snooping around. And what started out as a fun place to escape soon becomes a serious refuge for one of the kids who is trying to avoid an abusive home situation. In order to save the shelter, the friends must keep its secret... and in order to save themselves, they’re going to have to share their individual secrets, and build the safest place they can."

As like many other volumes by Korman this book is told where the Chapters are alternating first person accounts. From the point of view of four long time friends and a new kid at their school and city: Evan, Mitchell, Ricky, C.J., and Jason. The chapters are:

 One: Evan Donnelly
 Two: Mitchell Worth
 Three: Ricky Molina
 Four: C.J. Sciutto
 Five: Jason Brax
 Six: Evan Donnelly
 Seven: Ricky Molina
 Eight: Mitchell Worth
 Nine: Evan Donnelly
 Ten: Jason Brax
 Eleven: C.J. Sciutto
 Twelve: Ricky Molina
 Thirteen: Evan Donnelly
 Fourteen: C.J. Sciutto
 Fifteen: Mitchell Worth
 Sixteen: C.J. Sciutto
 Seventeen: Luke Donnelly
 Eighteen: Jason Brax
 Nineteen: C.J. Sciutto
 Twenty: Mitchell Worth
 Twenty-One: C.J. Sciutto
 Twenty-Two: Ricky Molina
 Twenty-Three: Evan Donnelly
 Twenty-Four: C.J. Sciutto
 Twenty-Five: Mitchell Worth
 Twenty-Six: C.J. Sciutto
 Twenty-Seven: Ricky Molina
 Twenty-Eight: Evan Donnelly
 Twenty-Nine: Jason Brax
 Thirty: C.J. Sciutto
 Thirty-One: Jason Brax
 Thirty-Two: Evan Donnelly
 Thirty-Three: Mitchell Worth
Author’s Note
About the Author

As mentioned this story deals with some pretty heavy subjects. An physically abusive father, parents who abandoned their kids at their grandparents because of drug addiction, being a new kid in town and at school. A town that is in the beginning recovering after a tornado. The friends find a hidden bomb shelter in the woods and their lives changes in ways they never expected. At first it is just a cool place to hang out; they can eat canned food from the last century, watching an old tube television, with VHS tapes, and learning to use records. But soon it becomes a refuge. One is trying to keep it secret from his girlfriend who is becoming more and more difficult. One is hiding it from his older brother and his thug friend. And one is keeping a secret from the others, that is the most important at all.

The characters are wonderfully written. And though parts of the story are heard to read, and figure out what is really happening it is a very important book. At the end of the volume is a wonderful letter from Korman on this the publishing of his 100th novel, that is well worth the read.  I am certain it will help young readers find their own voice, and maybe even older people who have not shared pasts huts and abuses. It is a very moving story and one that will leave a mark, a good mark on the hearts and minds of those who read it! 
It is another amazing read from Korman’s masterful pen!  

Books by Gordon Korman:
MacDonald Hall Series:
The Wizzle War (1982)
         (formerly The War With Mr. Wizzle)
The Zucchini Warriors (1988)
Light’s Camera, Disaster (1991)
          (aka Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood)
The Jokes on Us (1995)
          (formerly Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall)

Bugs Potter Series:

Jeremy Bloom Series:
The D−Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1992)
The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1996)

Monday Night Football Series:
The Quarterback Exchange (1997)
Running Back Conversion (1997)
Super Bowl Switch (1997)
Heavy Artillery (1997)
Ultimate Scoring Machine (1998)
NFL Rules! Bloopers, Pranks, Upsets, and Touchdowns (1998)

Masterminds Series:

Slapshots Series:
The Stars From Mars (1999)
All-Mars All-Stars/The Dream Team (1999)
The Face-off Phony (2000)
Cup Crazy (2000)
Ouch I got slapped (2023)
4-in-1 Slapshots: The Complete Collection (2008)

Nose Pickers Series:
Nose Pickers from Outer Space! (1999)
Planet of the Nose Pickers (2000)
Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker (2000)
Invasion of the Nose Pickers (2001)
4-in-1 The Ultimate Nose-Picker Collection (2006)

Island Series:
Shipwreck (2001)
Survival (2001)
Escape (2001)
3-in-1 Island Trilogy Collection (2006)

Son of the Mob Series:
Son of the Mob 2: Hollywood Hustle (2004)

Everest Series:
The Contest (2002)
The Climb (2002)
The Summit (2002)
Everest Trilogy Box Set (2002)

Dive Series:
The Discovery (2003)
The Deep (2003)
The Danger (2003)

On the Run Series:
Now You See Them, Now You Don't (2005)
The Stowaway Solution (2005)
Public Enemies (2005)
Hunting the Hunter (2006)

Kidnapped Series:
The Search (2006)
The Rescue (2006)

Swindle Series:
Swindle (2008)
Zoobreak (2009)
Framed (2010)
Showoff (2012)
Hideout (2013)
Jackpot (2014)
Unleashed (2015)
Jingle (2016)

Titanic Series:
Unsinkable (2011)
Collision Course (2011)
S.O.S (2011)

The 39 Clues Series:
Vespers Rising (2011)
The Medusa Plot (2011)
Flashpoint (2014)

Hypnotists Series:
The Hypnotists (2013)
Memory Maze (2014)
The Dragonfly Effect (2015)

Ungifted Series:
Ungifted (2012)
Supergifted (2018)

Slacker Series:
Slacker (2016)
Level 13 (2019)

Non Series Books:
Losing Joe's Place (1990)
The Twinkie Squad (1992)
The Toilet Paper Tigers (1993)
Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road (1994)
The Chicken Doesn't Skate (1996)
No More Dead Dogs (2000)
Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America (2003)
Jake, Reinvented (2003)
Born To Rock (2006)
Schooled (2007)
Pop (2009)
Restart (2017)
Notorious (2019)
War Stories (2020)
Game On (contains The Chicken Doesn’t Skate and The Toilet Paper Tigers (2021)
Unplugged (2021)
Linked (2021)
The Fort (2022)

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