Author: Carl Hiaasen
Genre: Middle Grade | Realistic Fiction
Release Date: September 13 2015
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
content warnings: n/a
📌 on plot & characters
“I am proud of my father,” I said to Miles Umlatt, “for standing up for what he believes. But, like I said, once in a while he goes too far.”
after his father is locked up for sinking a casino boat, Noah Underwood sets out to prove that the crime wasn’t as unprovoked as everyone in town believes—the casino boat’s owner is dumping sewage into the harbour. i adored Noah in this book. his more rational mindset than his father—built up from years of looking out for his father’s next scheme—keeps Noah out of trouble. but he has the same instincts to protect the environment, seen multiples times when he risks his own safety to protect wildlife. Noah does deal with the question on how far is too far in this book and … well, I think he gets his answer in the end.
Noah is perfectly matched with his sister, Abbey, who though younger is just as self-reliant. (*note to all lovers of good sibling relationships: these two work together seamlessly and i adored every minute of their page time).
the cast is not too full. this is a 260 page book after all. this allows you to focus really on Noah and Abbey’s efforts to prove their father innocent—if he is at all. *cue dramatic music*
📌 on theme
the reason i love Carl Hiaasen books so much is because he always nails down for the reader why caring for the environment is so important. his protagonists each start from different points in their journey—some already passionate, some completely unawares to the needs of flora & fauna—but along the way they play a role in stopping some big cat from ruining nature.
*catch me cheering along the whole time
Overall, this book held me captive from start to finish. Maybe my favourite Carl Hiaasen book (I’ve read Hoot a few too many times by now). This is peak MG for me—important theme, dynamic characters, and a satisfying end.
What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!