Reading level: Middle Grade
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from publisher
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the fourth of Hiaasen’s middle grade/YA eco-themed books. I loved Hoot and Flush, haven’t read Scat, yet. This was another fun read that tackles some interesting social and ecological issues. This book wasn’t as much of a mystery as the previous books, it was more of a eco-thriller of sorts. I didn’t like it quite as much as Hoot, but I liked it just as much as Flush.
Wahoo Cray lives with his father and mother and a ton of animals. His father is an animal wrangler and as such has numerous snakes, gators, etc living in his backyard. After being hit in the head by an iguana who fell off a tree Wahoo’s dad has been having horrible headaches and trouble working. When Wahoo’s mom takes a two month job in China to make ends meet, Wahoo is concerned about how he will manage his dad. Then his dad takes a job as an animal wrangler with a reality TC show called Expedition Survival! Now they have paying work, but when a girl named Tuna joins the team while fleeing her abusive father, things start to get a little crazy.
Like normal with this series of books there are some societal issues discussed: reality TV, cruelty to animals, alcoholism, and abuse. Also like normal all of these issues are meshed in with a story that is quirky and humorous at times.
The fake survivalist that Wahoo’s dad is working for is an absolute hoot. He is so crazy and funny and quirky. Wahoo and Tuna are great characters as well; they are faced with some tough situations and do a bang up job of making it through everything fine.
With the crazy survivalist trying to do stranger and stranger survival stunts Wahoo’s dad has his hands full keeping the guy alive. Add to this Tuna’s drunk gun-slinging dad and you have a book that is more action and thriller than mystery. I did miss the mystery a little bit, but I also enjoyed all the action and zaniness throughout this book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, it was an entertaining light read. If you have enjoyed Hiaasen’s previous YA books (Hoot, Flush, and Scat) then I think you will also enjoy this latest story. It was just a lot of fun and full of crazy situations and quirky characters. A great read for any middle grade or older readers out there, a wonderful action-packed eco-thriller of sorts.