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The Goats

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  846 ratings  ·  112 reviews
The boy and the girl are stripped and marooned on a small island for the night. They are the "goats." The kids at camp think it is a great joke; it's an old tradition. No harm is intended, but the goats don't see it that way. They want to disappear. To disappear completely. And they do, much to everyone's surprise.
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Published September 1st 1992 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published April 1st 1987)
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Chelsea Elizabeth I think this book is a great read, it explains human interaction with each other and gives a great description on how teens feel. I read this book in…moreI think this book is a great read, it explains human interaction with each other and gives a great description on how teens feel. I read this book in my ninth grade year, and found nothing inappropriate in it. I don't think that younger kids should read this book by themselves, because it might bring questions they'll be to nervous to ask, but I think it would be great for a class reading. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,928)
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karen
teen survival?? kids trying to get out of the woods after a practical joke goes wrong?? or "goes according to plan but sucks, for them"?? sign me up!!i saw this when i was volunteering my time at the library, and instead of taking it out like a normal person, i just ordered it into the store and bought it. good for the store, bad for the library. and then i get home to this desperate email from the queens library system that says because there have been more budget cuts, they can't order any new ...more
Meagan
I read this book primarily because it has been one of the most challenged books in American libraries, and I'm always interested in reading challenged and banned books. The Goats tells the story of two teens, referred to mainly as "the boy" and "the girl" through most of the book, who are the victims of a cruel and humiliating camp prank. They are stripped and left for the night on a small island, a camp tradition that involves choosing two "goats." In a courageous move, however, they choose to ...more
nancy
Oh dear, the cover that appears above is just brutal! Eesh, I hadn't seen that before. Please ignore that cover and read this book! The Goats is in the YA canon for a reason. Here are all of the things I loved about it:

-It begins with a lot of action. It combines emotion with that action so it's not just movement for the sake of movement.

-There is a clear countdown to something. (They have to eventually make their way back to the camp.)

-Every chapter advances the plot in some way.

-The connec
...more
Iris
This remains one of the most beautiful stories of the first flush of love, and the first tingle of sex, that I have ever read.

I think the trick to writing juvenile fiction is knowing your audience: the kids who read at this age are the kids who get to be the stars of books like this--dorks.
Joanne
If you've ever dreamed of just walking away from everything, all the adults telling you what to do, all the rules and convoluted, unspoken expectations from fellow schoolmates, this story is for you. A cruel "camp tradition" strands a girl and boy on a deserted island, where they are supposed to cower and shiver through the night and laugh it off the next day when they are rescued. But instead they take off, wandering through woods and breaking into summer cabins to find food and clothing.
Of cou
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Kevin Hughes
This is a story about a boy and a girl that are treated very cruelly at a summer camp and decide to disappear together. It has a adolescent alienation / Thoreau vibe as they try to scrape together food and shelter. I've got a real soft spot for minimalism and survivalism, so I enjoyed following their decisions and seeing how things went.

Yes, as you will read in the other reviews, in the beginning their clothes are stolen and they are marooned on an island together, naked. Sure to hook the adoles
...more
Carin
You know how there are always a couple of kids at camp (or school) who just don't fit in? Well, the two kids in this book who fit that bill are subjected to a cruel prank that's a tradition at their camp: they are labelled "goats" and left naked out on an island in the middle of a lake. But these kids don't cry and moan and wait for the repercussions after the kids who abandoned them come back and torture them for the rest of the summer. Instead they escape.

I loved the message of this story wher
...more
Nathan Mayer
"The Goats" was not what I was expecting. Based on the small synopsis on the back I assumed it would be a survival story about teens in the realm of "Lord of the Flies" and "Treasure Island", with a little bit of "Battle Royale" thrown in. Shame on my own mind for that, as it wasn't even close.

"The Goats" is a quick, boring, dated story about 2 hapless-loser type kids marooned on an island at summer camp by bullies. In some sort of coming-of-age ritual a boy and girl are stripped of their clothi
...more
Dayna Smith
This is a disturbing, yet tender, tale of two outsiders who learn to trust each other and in turn discover themselves. At the summer camp from hell two teens, a boy and a girl, are the victims of a cruel "prank". They are designated "goats" by the other campers and tricked into a trip to an island in the middle of a lake. They are stripped of their clothes and left there; the intent is that the others will come back later and spy on them and gloat over their misery and fear. The two manage to es ...more
Tracy
Throughout this stunning story about the self-redemption of two picked-on teenagers, Cole plays with psychic distance to emphasize perceptions of the main characters. For example, Cole refers to them as “the boy” and “the girl” throughout most of the book. He doesn’t indicate their first names, Laura and Howie, until page 16—the second to last page—of the first chapter. In the last two paragraphs of the book, Cole uses their names in direct action: “Howie looked up.” And, the last sentence, “‘Ho ...more
Brooke
This story follows two kids (about 12 and 13) as they run away from summer camp. The boy and girl were chosen to play a mean prank on and they decided they didn't want to go back. The story starts at the prank and ends a couple of days later after they survive on candy bars and some petty theft.

I enjoyed this book because it was told from the very socially awkward children's point-of-view. These aren't kids that just don't fit in. They lack social skills, but they are able to relate to each othe
...more
Summer
I know that this book has been challenged by libraries over the years and across the country for a number of reasons, but honestly, none of those challenges really seem valid when I think about all of the garbage books that are being allowed in school and public library collections (aka 'creepy rape culture 'romance' books like Twilight and Hush, Hush' ) - perhaps it was racy twenty or thirty years ago, but that is hardly the case now.

It looks like a thriller or a survival story, and in a way i
...more
Virginia
Graceful and sensitive portrayal of the "goats" -- social misfits -- whose fellow campers steal their clothes and leave them stranded on an island for the night. The two, at first only identified as "the boy" and "the girl" forge an alliance that is raw, tender and completely convincing as they challenge the label that has been slapped on them. Escaping the island by stealth, they set off into the unknown together and discover things they never knew about themselves, let alone each other. The sp ...more
K
Two summer camp outcasts are stranded naked on an island for an overnight prank. They decide not to return to the camp and make off on their own. Written in the mid-to-late 80s, this book feels a little old school in a good way, like Hatchet or whatnot.
Chris
This novel really blew my mind when I first read it twenty years ago. There were a few bumpy patches this go-round, but it retained its incredible power. Cole's sparse, declarative prose is a perfect compliment to this bleak story of two kids who are thrust into the adult world against their will. They delve into petty crime and discover their own sexuality for the very first time, just in the course of a day. The lure of the wilderness and the formidable force it exerts on the two of them, espe ...more
Holly
I remember it being one of those very strange books you happen upon at the age of 10-12. A YA book that discusses things you aren't totally sure about.
Jordyn
As a general rule, I try not to watch the movie before I've read the book. Standing Up, the 2013 movie based on this book published in 1987, was an exception to that rule. My sister told me how great the movie was, so I watched it. And guys, the movie is amazing. I kind of can't rave about it enough. Which is why reading the book (and now reviewing the book) was so weird. But let's get to it.

The Goats follows a boy and a girl, campers (I think 12 yrs old) who are stranded naked on "Goat Island"
...more
David Jordan
Fast-moving YA novel that has stirred some controversy with its semi-frank treatment of sex. The plot concern a boy and a girl, age 13 or so, who are stranded naked on an an island by snobby summer campmates and must exercise cunning and courage to reach safety. The sexuality is fairly tame, mostly descriptions of unclothed body parts and references to menstruation. Cole tells a reasonably engaging story in lucid prose, although a reader might question the swiftness with which the protagonists - ...more
Harley Bennett
Great book about a girl (Laura) and a boy (Howie) who are bullied by their peers at summer camp. Stripped and abandoned on an island, they strike out on their own to avoid going back to camp. They use their wits and their trust in each other to survive until Laura's mother finds them. During this time, both of them learn a lot about themselves and about people. Excellent coming of age story for young adult readers as well as mature middle grade readers. Read the book and see the movie, Standing ...more
Iris
This book is possibly the cutest story I have ever read. The two main characters really pull you into their world and minds and you sympathize with them greatly. You want to protect them from the cruelties that they had to endure and from the penalties of making such mistakes. You are so invested in the story you feel like a third character in the book. You want to pour out your heart to these two in return for them pouring their hearts out to you. The boy and the girl grow more than any other c ...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angelica
Saw this book at the local library and decided to try it. Perhaps I would have given this a higher rating if I was a teenage kid for which this book was written for. As an adult I found this book to be dry and lacking a sense of why would kids to that in all aspects of the book. Why would kids play a practical joke like that? Why would kids run away? Why would kids say things like that? As a mother of three I would think I know kids, yet perhaps I don't.

The Goats is about two 13 year old kids w
...more
Sunny
The Goats by Brock Cole
6.5/10. I didn't like this book as much as I wanted to. I would have liked it in the fifth grade, but it just feels flat to me as an adult, it's almost impersonal.
Basic plot: Laura and Howie are stripped naked and left on an island by their fellow campers. This makes them the "goats." They decide that the best revenge they can get is to disappear, so they run off and experience a series of adventures that lead to friendship. During the time that they are missing, Laura's m
...more
Lynne
When a boy and girl are isolated during a prank at a summer camp, they turn the tables on everyone by disappearing. Marooned on a small island, stripped of all clothes and money, they embark on a journey that leads them far away from the small town where their camp is located, and discover that perhaps, being labeled a "goat" could be the very thing that led them to discover themselves. By breaking into summer cottages and playing off of the kindness of strangers, they not only survive, but seem ...more
Rebekah
My coworker is the one who buys all the YA books for our library. Every few weeks she emails me a list of new YA I might like. In return I give her my reviews. The Goats is one of the books she suggested. I actually picked it off of my library book pile because a) it was so much shorter than all the other books, and b) it had an intriguing cover. I went in not knowing anything about it except there was an island and a few stranded kids. I expected it to be like Lord of the Flies

The first thing I
...more
Shel
Cole, B. (1987). The Goats. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374425752

When campers do a mean prank to two outsider thirteen-year-olds by stranding them naked on an island, the bullied boy and girl decide to escape the island and not return to the camp. The journey that follows feels like a Gary Paulsen book set a few miles closer to civilization.

More than anything the boy and the girl (as they are referred to throughout most of the book) seem to desire control over their lives and respect
...more
Gale
“Survival on the Fringe of Society”

Wow—this book really packs a social punch in the days of pre-cyber bullying; it engages the reader’s sympathy for the two misfits instantly. A Boy and a Girl at summer camp are targeted for peer
punishment in the form of a cruel joke; they are abandoned on an island with no food, money or clothing—left to fiend for themselves to get back to civilization and/or their camp of caring counselors. But these two scapegoats who did not even know each other pool thei
...more
Lillian Powell
And I promised myself I would stop reading young-adult books. But the ones that aren't after-school-special-themed can be very entertaining, quick reads. I went to the library, for an entirely different book, and picked this up out of boredom but once I'd read the first five pages I had to check it out (I'm not sure if that's more my obsessive need to finish a book when I start it, or that this book jumps right into the action.)
At first, I worried it would turn into a bad revenge plot (after al
...more
Kelly Moore
I was prepared for another depressing book about teenagers suffering, and I was pleasantly surprised that this book was different. It was still a formulaic story about two kids at a summer camp who are bullied, but the compelling writing and shifting of perspective from kid world to adult world were so great that it was way better than just a typical bullying story. Goats perfectly captures the world of kids that exists below adults' radar, and how hard it can be for kids to prevail over the com ...more
Juliana Arnold
This book is an amazing book! I definitely recommend it for anyone. It is about two kids who are stripped and marooned on an island--Goat Island--by the bullies at their camp. They run away together and decide to try and live on their own. The girl--Laura--callas her mom and she will pick her and the boy up at the camp in 2 days. During those two days, Laura and Howie try to survive, while having some unexpected occurrences throughout the book. Read it if you haven't!!!
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58006
Brock Cole was born a year before the Second World War in a small town in Michigan. Because of his father's work, his family moved frequently, but he never regarded these relocations as a hardship.

"I thought of myself as something of an explorer, even though my explorations never took me very far. I had a deep and intimate acquaintance with woodlots, creeks, lakes, back streets, and alleys all ove
...more
More about Brock Cole...
The Money We'll Save The Facts Speak for Themselves Celine Good Enough To Eat Buttons

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“I didn't mean it' he said again. She tried to smile, but had to sniff instead. Her face was wet, and her nose was running. He thought she looked beautiful.” 3 likes
“A stump loomed in front of them, splitting the path. They drifted apart, their clasped hands rising as it came between them.

"Hold on, " Laura said. "Hold on.”
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