Author: Carl Hiaasen
Release date: September 23, 2014
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Richard's "fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants" cousin, Malley, has disappeared and for some reason he seems to be the only one taking her disappearance seriously! He knows she met a "great guy" online, and that her parents were sending her to boarding school far away. Other than that, he has no idea where to start and no one will listen to him that she could be in serious danger, not just running off because she's angry at her parents. Then Richard literally stumbles on "Skink" one night hiding out in a fake turtle nest, and he's just off enough to listen to his story and decides finding Malley will be his next project. Will they be able to save her in time? Will teaming up with Skink be safe, or a really bad idea?
My thoughts: This was classic Carl Hiaasen, from the non-traditional lives they're living, to the endangered species. I know that the kiddos and adults alike are going to love this one in the libraries when we get it!
One thing I cannot figure out is why this is being categorized as "YA" while his others are "MG"!? I guess that the girl, Malley, has a bit of a tougher life possibly. It's honestly hard to tell because that's really not told to the reader in complete detail. Then during the kidnapping there is always the overall question about what exactly happened to her, or not. There is also violence here and there, especially at the end as there is with any serious rescue mission I suppose but certainly nothing more than what we see on the news or on television everyday in the advertisements for pete's sake! They do NOT go into the details about it, the incident I'm talking about just happens and then it's done.
Anyway, this was a great mystery from beginning to end with the added bonus of telling a very harrowing tale about cyber safety!
I LOVED the character of Skink! He was fantastic and just completely bizarre, but what a great human being! He is someone I would love in a movie. We would all be rooting for him. Then there was Richard..what a great and brave young man to know he was right, and stand by it enough to go off on a crazy mission to save Malley even though they weren't even sure she had been kidnapped or off with a new great boyfriend.
Final thoughts: This is a new great step up, if you liked the Hiaasen books but they are feeling a bit "young" for you. This will take you on a great adventure, and also teach you a lot about nature along the way as usual.