By Sara Vilkomerson
Updated July 13, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

A story set at a summer camp can go a number of different ways. The Inverted Forest — a gripping, tender, and at times disturbing tale — takes the road less traveled. It’s the summer of 1996, and a small group of inexperienced counselors find themselves unprepared to care for more than 100 severely developmentally disabled adult campers from a state facility. A shocking act of violence will affect the young staff for years to come, and Dalton nimbly delves into his characters’ perspectives, uncovering past secrets and future dreams (and eventual disappointments). While some of what’s described is anything but pleasant, reading it certainly is. B+