Saturday, August 13, 2011

Like Hoot? Try Scat.

(Image from Indiebound)

Have you read Hoot by Carl Hiassen? Then you can probably go ahead and skip Scat, his newest (2009) eco-thriller for middle graders. Seeing as the two books have very similar characters, plots and themes, you really aren't going to miss much. Unless, of course, you just couldn't get enough of Hoot. In that case, you'll want to grab yourself a copy of Scat. Stat.

The story begins with the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Starch, a strict, not-so-well-loved biology teacher at a private school in Naples, Florida. After a face-off with an unruly student in the classroom and a brave rescue during a field trip gone awry, Mrs. Starch vanishes. Her excuse of a "family emergency" seems fishy, especially considering the fact that she has none. Neither Nick nor Marta are particularly fond of Mrs. Starch, but they're still concerned about what's happened to her. Could Duane Scrod, Jr. (a.k.a. "Smoke") have made good on the threats he lobbed at her after the confrontation? It seems plausible seeing as he's been absent, too.

As Nick and Marta launch an unofficial investigation into their teacher's whereabouts, things get awfully weird awfully quick. And that's just in biology. The two eighth graders encounter all kinds of wacky things - a collection of stuffed, dead animals; a multilingual parrot; a rare, almost mythical panther; a reclusive millionaire hippie; and more - in their quest for answers. When the kids discover the truth, the biggest question becomes: How far are they willing to go to stand up for what's right?

With Hiassen's trademark zany humor rippling through its every page, there's no doubt that Scat's an entertaining read. Despite flat characters, bumpy prose, and an unoriginal premise, it really is fun. Just not fun enough to make it anything more than an okay, average read for me.

(Readalikes: Hoot by Carl Hiassen)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for language (no F-bombs) and some violence

To the FTC, with love: I borrowed a copy of Scat from my children's elementary school library. Thanks, Lori!

1 comment:

  1. I did read Hoot, and liked it and I also love Hiassen's adult novels. I'm not sure, tho, that I would take the time to read this one, given the height of my TBR pile, " just fun average" reads get low priority. Thanks for the honest review :)

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