March 01, 2006

A Real Hoot

I'm definitely wondering what took me so long to pick up Carl Hiaasen's Hoot, considering I'd been meaning to read it for ages and had heard all about how it was a bestseller, and a Newbery Honor Book, and blah blah blah. Maybe it had just been overhyped for me, but I wasn't in a rush to go check it out.

Well, this was very wrong and silly of me. I know that now. At first, the idea of a story set in Florida with lots of local flavor and quirky characters...well, for some reason that didn't grab me. But from the very first page of Hoot, when hapless Roy gets his face smushed into the bus window by a bully boy named Dana, I couldn't stop reading. The characters cracked me up, and how could I resist a mystery with an environmentalist agenda? Roy, who only recently moved to Florida from Montana, finds himself curiously drawn to the plight of a mysterious boy he sees fleeing from the bus stop that morning he's getting his face whomped against the window. From there, he's drawn into a monkey-wrenching plot that involves a pancake restaurant, endangered owls, and a really entertaining cast of characters. Hiaasen's sense of humor really shines through in this book, and keeps you laughing as you get deeper into the mystery.

I enjoyed it so much, is it any wonder I went on to read Hiaasen's second YA book, Flush? Another Florida-set mystery with an environmental twist, Flush is a little more edgy, there's a little more danger...but it's still suffused with that quirkiness and humor that Hiaasen just seems so darn good at.

Noah's dad has just been jailed for sinking a casino boat that was illegally dumping its sewage into the ocean, causing beach shutdowns and polluting the water. However, his protest seems to no avail, nothing was proven, and all it does is make Noah's dad liable for damages and bring tension into their family. Noah, along with his younger sister Abbey, is determined to get to the bottom of things and restore their dad's image in the media, in town, and (most importantly) with their mom--even if it means consorting with the usual bizarre cast of characters. This book is a bit of a thriller, too--the casino boat's owner is just plain bad, and Noah and his sister have to put themselves in some real danger to have an effect on the outcome of this case.

I had so much fun reading these, I'm determined to check out some of Hiaasen's thrillers written for adults. I had no idea I'd enjoy them so much. Very highly recommended.

1 comment:

tanita s. davis said...

I absolutely adored Hoot, and Flush is on my reading list next! One of the most fun things about having gone through our whole list of books read from the last year is that I am reminding myself happily "Sequels! Sequels!" and looking up some of those same authors to see what else they're up to now. Big fun!