RSS

“Scat” by Carl Hiaasen

05 Jan

TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:

I love the snarky satires Carl Hiaasen has written for adults, and I got a huge kick out of his delightful "Flush." Naturally, I figured I'd adore his latest book for young people, "Scat." I was right!

"Scat" is a typical Hiaasen book … and I mean that statement in the best possible way! It takes place in Florida, has a strong pro-environment theme, features plenty of laughs, and, my personal favorite, allows the good guys to triumph while ensuring the bad guys get their hilariously fitting comeuppance. The advanced copy of "Scat" I have is nearly 400 pages long, and I consumed it in basically one long sitting. I was actually sort of sad to see it end, which tells you just about everything you need to know.

Oh, what's that? You'd like some actual plot details? Fair enough. Our young hero is Nick Waters, one of those genuinely good (though not smarmy or self-righteous) kids who tries to do the right thing, even when that means standing up to ultra-demanding biology teacher Mrs. Starch. When Mrs. Starch and class delinquent Duane "Smoke" Scrod both disappear after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp, Nick and his pal Marta decide to investigate. While searching Mrs. Starch's house — which, incidentally, is a taxidermy paradise — the kids meet Twilly Spree, a back-to-nature guy (think a sort of eco-crusader) out to, among other things, prevent the shady Red Diamond Energy company from drilling in Black Vine Swamp. Also, as a total side note, if you've read Hiaasen's "Sick Puppy," you'll remember Twilly; I was half expecting another old Hiaasen favorite, the roadkill-eating Skink, to make an appearance!

Anyway, I'm leaving loads out, including Nick's dad, a National Guard captain serving in Iraq; the blowhard owner of Red Diamond and his sidekick, Jimmy Lee, who, let's say, should definitely know better; Smoke's macaw-loving, beaten-down dad and wealthy, streetwise grandma; and, maybe best of all, the endangered Florida panther herself. Hiaasen weaves all these characters and plot elements together and delivers a satisfying, funny, warm, and charming tale. I especially loved how Hiaasen showed each character's innate humanity, including the once-feared Mrs. Starch, the reformed arsonist Smoke, and even the greedy Jimmy Lee. Fully realized, three-dimensional characters help ground what might otherwise have been an almost slapstick story.

I would absolutely recommend this book to middle school readers, both boys and girls. "Scat" has abundant humor, realistic — if admittedly eccentric — characters, plenty of adventure, and a big old heart. I hope you all like it as much as I did!
__________________________________

SUMMER READING REVIEW!

FROM A KINNELON LIBRARY TEEN REVIEWER:

I liked how "Scat" had a lot of information about nature and endangered animals. It was a great mystery!

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to ““Scat” by Carl Hiaasen

  1. Anonymous

    January 13, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Scat

    Thanks for the advance review. We’d love to get our hands on a copy- lucky you! I’m rereading Hoot for a literature circle group and I’m enjoying it even more than the first time around.

    jcomer@cis.edu.hk

     
    • mel1317

      January 21, 2009 at 5:31 pm

      Re: Scat

      There aren’t many perks to this job, but the occasional advance copy is definitely one of them! “Scat” will be worth the wait for you, I’m sure. Besides, you’ll be fresh off “Hoot” and in the perfect frame of mind for another Hiaasen middle grade novel. Thanks for the comment!

       
  2. mel1317

    May 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Re: Carl Hiaasen did a hecka good job

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! As I wrote in my review, I thought it was the perfect blend of mystery, environmentalism, and good humor. Like you, I couldn’t stop reading it either … I had to know how it all turned out! Since you loved “Scat” so much, you should definitely check out Carl Hiaasen’s other middle school novels, “Hoot” and “Flush.” I think you’ll get a kick out of those, too. Thanks for your comment and happy reading!

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: