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Literature / The Fort (2022)

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The Fort is the one hundredth Gordon Korman novel and a piece of Realistic Fiction Middle Grade Literature about five teenaged boys who find a luxury bomb shelter in the woods and use it to goof off and escape from their problems. Evan lives with his grandparents and has a Delinquent brother who is starting to follow the footsteps of their petty criminal parents and senses Evan may have access to valuables to steal. C.J. is being abused by his stepfather and hides this by injuring himself in deliberately botched daredevil stunts. Mitchell has OCD and a mother who is working three jobs and can't afford for him to see his old therapist. Jason's parents are having an ugly divorce and try to use custody of him to get back at each other, and his girlfriend is the daughter of a cop and may disapprove of how he's using the bunker. Ricky is studying hard to get into a better school, while his peers are reluctant to accept him due to feeling he thinks he's better than them. Many of these personal issues converge as the fort's days of being secret draw to a close.


  • Custody Battle: Jason's parents are fighting bitterly over how much custody time and child support money his mother gets.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Mitchell feels abandoned by his old therapist and throws darts at a newspaper clipping of the doctor.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Jason's parents are fighting bitterly over everything they own (and how much custody time and child support money his mother gets). When he takes their cactus to the fort, they accuse each other of stealing it even though they never cared about it before.
  • The Elites Jump Ship: The bunker the kids find has lots of food, records and movies inside and was built about forty years ago by an eccentric millionaire, who evidently didn't plan on sharing it with anyone else in his life, since no one else knows about it. There's also a video cassette with recorded insults for any potential foreign invaders who might have found the bunker if he died before making it there.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: A Moral Myopia version occurs when Marcus learns that Luke and Jaeger have been following and threatening his stepson C.J. He goes ballistic and nearly strangles Jaeger to death. It would be an awesome (albeit terrifying) Papa Wolf if not for the fact that Marcus has been abusing C.J. for years, almost on a daily basis, and has sent him to the hospital multiple times.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In one of the last scenes, Evan's grandmother makes spaghetti for everyone, but their enjoyment of the dish vanishes when she mentions that she makes the sauce with herbs that the local therapist grows. Mitchell has been peeing on those herbs every night out of bitterness that the therapist stopped seeing him. They calm down after learning that the herbs are thoroughly cleaned before being made into sauce ingredients.
  • I Choose to Stay: At the end, Ricky passes a test to get into a better school similar to the one he started out in, at the end but decides to stay at his current school with his new friends.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Ricky is very uncomfortable watching a Home Depot manager scream at an employee for giving Ricky the wrong color paint and wants to just take the wrong color to spare the man any further abuse and embarrassment, before getting distracted when he recognizes the manager as his friend C.J.'s stepfather and has a "Eureka!" Moment about C.J.'s constant injuries.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Evan and Luke's grandparents took them in after their petty crook parents went to rehab and then abandoned them after being released.