Call the Shots by Don Calame (pub date 9/11/12)
Another YA treat that I picked up from BEA! This one is part of a series but it can be read on its own. I haven’t read any of Calame’s previous books but Call the Shots is a self-contained story and I was able to pick up on the characters pretty quickly.
Coop, Sean, and Matt are fifteen, best friends, and always coming up with new schemes. When wise-cracking Coop hears about an upcoming indie horror movie festival, he knows he can make a movie that’ll win the top prize. At first his friends aren’t interested, but then Sean finds himself in a situation in which he needs cash fast, and decides to go in on the project. With movie-buff Sean as the screenwriter, the three boys begin working on their idea for the next big horror flick: a monster movie featuring zombie/vampire/human/chimp hybrids. All they need is start-up funds, actors…and a camera.
Soon the project becomes more complicated than they had imagined. Between borrowing money from Sean’s stoner uncle, and using his psycho girlfriend’s camera on the condition that she star in the movie, the guys start to wonder if they’ll ever finish their masterpiece. At the same time, Sean is dealing with an unrequited crush on a girl at school, a drama teacher with too many suggestions for his screenplay, and a twin sister who hates his guts.
I really enjoyed this cute and funny story. It has great comedic timing, and realistic characters. I think it’s harder to write teenage characters than some people think; they can sometimes sound too adult or too childish. But the boys’ witty dialogue felt very natural to me. Due to its rough language and drug references, this is definitely a book for older teens. And if you’re an adult who enjoys YA, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this book.