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Literature / The Tribe

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The Tribe is a book series by Clay McLeod Chapman.

Spencer Pendleton is just your average Middle School kid. He attends class, he's hassled by bullies, and he always has a comeback line whenever he's in trouble.

When he starts class at Greenfield Middle School, however, his life takes a VERY unusual turn. He starts noticing eyes in the ceiling. Strange graffiti all over the school. And he feels like he's being watched.

Soon, he discovers why this is. As it turns out, there's a tribe of former Greenfield Middle School students living in the building. Made up of misfits and outsiders who decided they've had enough of the academic jungle, they ran away and formed their own society in the dark corners of the school. They've taken notice of Spencer, and decided they want him to join their group.

The series has three books.

1.Homeroom Headhunters
2.Camp Cannibal
3.Academic Assassins

The series was released on May 7th, 2013.

The Tribe contains examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Spencer isn't the most popular kid in school.
  • Bamboo Technology: The Tribe makes weapons out of school supplies, like yardsticks sharpened into spears, and paparclips bent into darts.
  • Bookworm: Peashooter is stated to be really into reading. He often quotes some of his favourite books.
  • The Bully: Riley Callahan in "Homeroom Headhunters". In fact, he knew, and bullied, some members of the Tribe before they joined it.
  • Bully Hunter: The Tribe are made up of this, coming to Spencer's defense whenever Riley's about to do something cruel to him.
  • The Cavalry: Sully and the campers from the girls' side of Camp New Leaf come to save everyone from Peashooter and his Tribe near the end of "Camp Cannibal".
  • Decapitation Presentation: In "Camp Cannibal", a raccoon's head mounted on a spike is used to mark the location where the Tribe's headquarters was before they took over Camp New Leaf.
  • Downer Ending: The first two books end on a sour note.
    • "Homeroom Headhunters" ends with Spencer taking the fall for The Tribe's prank on Greenfield Middle School's Christmas assembly, and being expelled when he refuses to reveal the identities of the real perpetrators.
    • "Camp Cannibal" ends with Spencer realizing his parents didn't come with all the other kids' parents to Camp New Leaf to see if he was okay, and deciding to run away into the woods, despite Sully pleading him not to.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At least, the third book ends better, way better.
  • Eye Scream: In one chapter of the first book, Spencer takes to flinging pencils at the ceiling, sticking one at an odd angle in the tile. At the end of the chapter, when Ms. Witherspoon looks up above his desk just in time for said stuck pencil to come loose and hit her in the eye.
  • Face on a Milk Carton: Spencer finds Sporkboy's face on the side of a milk carton at school in "Homeroom Headhunters" He takes it of and slips it into his pocket.
  • Fat and Skinny: Officer Sellars and Officer Cassidy, the two policemen in "Camp Cannibal" assigned to watch over Spencer during his house arrest, are this respectively.
  • Fingore: In "Homeroom Headhunters", after the Tribe puts Spencer through a fearlessness test (by dangling him over an active table saw), Peashooter decides to do some impromptu testing of Sporkboy's reflexes by turning the table saw on and off. He ends up cutting off the tip of Sporkboy's finger.
  • Freudian Excuse: Each member of The Tribe has a reason for running away from their old lives.
    • Sporkboy joined The Tribe after Riley made him spray food all over.
    • Compass joined The Tribe after his fungus experiment for a science fair was sabotaged.
    • Sully joined The Tribe after Riley got everyone at school to make fun of her for allegedly catching cooties.
    • In "Camp Cannibal", we find out that Peashooter originally ran away because he couldn't handle being beaten by his abusive stepdad.
  • Garbage Hideout: When being hunted by the Tribe as part of his initiation in the first book, Spencer is forced to hide in a garbage can outside the school cafeteria.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: As he spends time with them, Spencer becomes concerned that The Tribe are becoming as conformist as the school they sought to escape, and as malicious as the bullies that they protected him from.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Yardstick and Charles decide to help Spencer escape from his cage in "Camp Cannibal".
  • Inkblot Test: Spencer is given one at the beginning of "Camp Cannibal". The first card he thinks looks like a butterfly, yet he describes it as a teenage kid holding protractors with X-ACTO razors. The second one he thinks looks like a long-eared rabbit, but he describes it as Sully Tulliver about to shoot him with her slingshot.
  • Kangaroo Court: Spencer is put through one in "Camp Cannibal" by the Tribe for visiting Sully's father in "Homeroom Headhunters". Apparently, in The Tribe, contacting their former parents is a big no-no. No one opts to be Spencer's defense attorney, and Compass, who feared Spencer would've taken over his old position as Peashooter's number two in the tribe, was acting as prosecutor. They don't really go over any evidence either. Finally, when the jury becomes deadlocked when Charles finds Spencer not guilty, Peashooter threatens to hang him from the flag pole until he changes his mind.
  • Keep Away: Riley and his friends play this with Spencer's inhaler until he can't breathe anymore.
  • The Scapegoat: Spencer is ultimately set up to take the blame for the prank the Tribe pulls at Greenfield Middle's Christmas presentation in "Homeroom Headhunters", for which he gets expelled. Principal Pritchard does not believe that he did it, but unfortunately, Spencer did not speak up to defend himself.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Of the five members of the Tribe, Sully is the only girl.
  • Snowball Fight: Spencer has one with Sully for fun in "Homeroom Headhunters".
  • Swirlie: Riley and his friends put Spencer through one to get back at him for spraying his inhaler in Riley's face on Spencer's first day of school (even if it was an accident).
  • Unwilling Suspension: In the second book, "Camp Cannibal", Spencer finds all the Camp New Leaf counselors tied up in their sleeping bags, which are all being hung from a tree.