For our second Summer Reads book, I chose The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson because it takes place at a summer camp. And not just any summer camp but one in the middle of a post apocalyptic world on it’s last legs.

Plus, Atlantis. What’s not more awesome than Atlantis? I think YA needs more Atlantis books. I will read all of the Atlantis books. If you know of any, please let me know.

The Lost Code, the first in the Atlanteans Trilogy, is like a summer read out of my past, with a modern YA twist. I mean, it takes place at a summer camp, like all the best R.L. Stine books. A summer camp with more going on than meets the eye, also much like an R.L. Stine book. But it also has this dystopian setting just outside the camp, giving it this weird feeling because everyone in the camp knows it’s a lie, a lie that cannot last.


The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.

I thought the world building here was excellent. Like, a summer camp out of the 1990s smack dab in the middle of post-apocalyptic world where the Earth is tearing itself apart shouldn’t make sense, but it did. And it worked. And I liked that you never quite knew everyone’s motivations or loyalties.

Now, all that being said I did have a couple things I didn’t like. The plot moved along rather slowly and while it was nice to build the mystery of everything I really just wanted the characters to DO something. And the main character, Owen Parker, read a little young to me. I don’t remember if his age was ever mentioned, but he was among the older campers. And, age aside, he read (to me anyway) like the main character of a middle grade novel. While most of the characters around him read like young adult characters.

Does that even make sense? There was nothing wrong with his characterization, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from a young adult post-apocalyptic novel. I’m hoping he grows more with the books, and we see him become “older” and more of a leader. We got to see glimpses of this near the end of The Lost Code, but I would’ve liked more.

Leech, one of Owen’s mysterious cabin mates and a bit of a bully, was a very interesting character. I liked how he seemed to have the best situation out of anyone in the camp but things weren’t all that they seemed in his life. I’m really, really looking forward to seeing more of him in the rest of the series.

As for the love interest, Lilly, I liked that she was a little older and had probably the most personality of any of the characters in this book. I really enjoyed her story and how out of place and out of time she felt. She kind of represented the whole camp that way. A thing from the past that did not fit into the world surrounding it. I’m not quite sure where I hope her story goes. I liked that she wasn’t automatically part of the mythology but she still could be. Though, I can also see this leading to a love triangle in future books and I’m not cool with that at all.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

So, while this isn’t necesarily a beach read like Christine’s pick for the week, it is the perfect book to take to summer camp. It will have you second guessing everything from the camp nurse to the juice you drink to the sun screen they make you put on. A perfect, mysterious summer read.

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