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18 April 2007 @ 07:53 pm
Carl Hiaasen's HOOT (4.5 stars)  
Just off the moving truck from Montana, Roy Eberhardt is about to start at Trace Middle School down in Coconut Grove, Florida. The new kid in town. Again. And he has new kid syndome bad -- eating lunch by himself, no friends, and the subject of the school bully's free time enjoyment. Things leap from ordinary to extra-O one day when Dana Matherson is beating the loose change out of him on the bus. Roy happens to look out the window and see a strange boy running almost as fast as the bus.

Why isn't the boy going to school? Why is he barefoot? And how is he running so fast?

Roy's quest to find out the identity of this mysterious boy leads him to cross paths with several interesting characters in the process, many of which are adults -- A few police officers, security guards for Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House, the tallest, toughest girl at school, Beatrice, and a nest of burrowing owls at the corner of East Oriole Avenue. This intersection of characters drops Roy into the center of a plot to keep Mother Paula's from building their new restaurant on the site at East Oriole. We can't have them burrying those owls now, can we? Uprooted survey stakes, baby alligators in the portapotties, spraypainted and jawtied cottonmouth snakes on the site, and spraypainted cop car windows are just the start. Something has to be done to defend the owls, and somebody has to do it.

Carl Hiassen's first book for young adults, HOOT seems it will be around for a long time. It's environmental focus and clear prose make it easy to recommend to young readers. And with the movie having already hit the theaters a while back, I wouldn't be surprised if this book makes its way into school classrooms at some point.

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ryan_fieldryan_field on April 19th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
Hoot
This sounds really good right about now. Thanks, man.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on April 20th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Hoot
No problem. The story was a lot of fun. And the writing...a bit refreshing.