Don’t Get Caught, by Kurt Dinan, is the perfect book for people who love thrillers (like me), but find themselves full of anxiety because of, well, everything, and want a fun read. I’m not sure who recommended it to me, but I’m eager to recommend it to you.
From the publisher:
10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. —Chaos Club
When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…
Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students—who also received invites—are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.
Let the prank war begin.
Don’t Get Caught is billed as Oceans 11 meets The Breakfast Club, and I think that’s spot on. The stakes are very real for the Max and his friends, but compared to everything else going on in the world, they’re refreshingly low, which allowed me to breeze through this in no time. This group isn’t starting a revolution in Panem. They’re just pulling pranks, and trying to avoid getting caught.
The humor is great, and it’s a pleasure to watch Max vacillate between being the person he thinks he is (“Just Max”) and being the cooler, braver, more popular person he wishes he were (“Not Max”). We’re all familiar with the struggle for identity, trying to figure out who we are. Dinan provides Max lots of opportunities to try out a different approach before he has to make a decision.
Don’t Get Caught is Kurt Dinan’s debut novel. By day, he works as a high school English teacher, and his familiarity with how teenagers behave and interact in school and with teachers and administrators adds authenticity to the story.
Although Don’t Get Caught came out in 2016, I highly recommend it as a antidote for what’s plaguing our collective psyches in 2020.