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Skink--No Surrender Hardcover – September 23, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 965 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Richard and his cousin Malley are best friends. But while Richard is pretty levelheaded, Malley tends to get into trouble. So Richard is only mildly surprised to discover that she's run off with a guy she met on the Internet in order to avoid being sent to boarding school in New Hampshire. Richard wants to go find her, and luckily he runs into what may be the perfect person to help him do just that: a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida named Skink. With Skink at the helm, the two set off across Florida in search of Richard's cousin. While Malley's character is not as fully developed as the others and the story seems highly improbable, Skink, a favorite character from Hiaasen's adult novels, is incredibly memorable. Whether it's diving in to a gator-infested river after a rogue canoe, getting his foot run over by a semi while trying to save a baby turtle, or hiding out in the sand to save the next turtle, Skink is always full of surprises. And like a cat with nine lives, one never knows how he'll make it out or what will happen next. One thing's for sure: readers will want to be along for the ride. Although the ending meanders, fans of Hiaasen's novels won't mind the detours one bit.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA

Review

"The book itself is just a wonder, part love poem about the Florida wilds, part road-trip novel, and part thriller. The second half of the book is a nail-biter to rival Cape Fear. I love Hiaasen for adults. I love Hiaasen for kids. But most of all, I love this Hiaasen, which brings the two writers together in one book."  --Cory Doctorow

"Skink and Richard make quite a dangerous and entertaining duo in a story that careens perfectly from one crazy situation to the next. Reluctant readers (especially guys) will surrender themselves to this page turner. Cross your fingers that we haven’t seen the last of Skink!" -- Booklist, starred

"If you were pursuing your cousin’s kidnapper across Florida, you would want a man like Skink at your side. Maybe." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Skink is larger than life.... A presence to be reckoned with." -- The Horn Book

"A high stakes, action-packed comedy with a lot of heart." —VOYA
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375870512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375870514
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (965 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Lurking in the background of many of Carl Hiaasen's novels, and taking a crucial role in some of them, is Skink. A hermit, lover of nature, hater of polluters and out-of-control developers, this former governor of Florida, officially believed to be dead, has chosen to live off the grid, pursuing his own agenda. In Skink--No Surrender the governor takes a larger role than in previous books.

Richard, the book's teenage narrator, first meets Skink on the beach near his home. Skink has buried himself in the sand, disguising himself as a turtle nest, with hopes of catching someone who has been collecting turtle eggs. (Later on Skink gets his man!) Despite their age difference, and Skink's many quirks and oddities, the two make a connection. When Richard tells Skink about his cousin Malley's running off with an internet predator, finding and rescuing Malley becomes Skink's new mission. The mismatched pair set out together in Florida-wide manhunt.

Fans of Hiaasen's fiction will recognize the familiar settings, characters, and attitudes that inhabit his fiction: the hapless criminals, the less-than-intelligent adults, the riffs on endangered species and habitats, the somewhat random but still enjoyable plot connections. Fans of Hiaasen's stories for younger readers will recognize characteristics Richard shares with earlier Hiaasen protagonists: independent thinking, curiosity, a love of nature. Skink--No Surrender establishes a sort of middle ground between Hiaasen's novels for adults and his YA novels. It has a bit more violence and more mature subject matter than the latter and less than the former.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good, clean read for a long plane ride. This book is intended for a younger audience, as the main characters are 14-year old teenagers. When I bought this book, I did not realize this when Amazon notified me that the new Hiassen novel had just been released. I skipped the reviews and immediately clicked the button for the Kindle version. I was on vacation, so I kept on reading, finding myself enjoying another Hiassen novel.

The story is told from the point of view a 14-year old boy who tries to save his best friend, his cousin of the same age but opposite gender, who has been kidnapped by 26-year old male psychopath whom the cousin met in an Internet chat room. The plot includes some of the typical lowlife in Hiassen novels, as well as the good guys (I've read nearly all of them, especially all the ones for adult readers). Skink is his usual self, now 72 years old and going strong, but the colorful (swearing) adult language is absent from Skink, as well as the rest of the characters. In other words, if it were a movie, it would be G rated, or possibly PG.

I've been hoping that Hiassen would write a new novel similar to the earlier ones for adults, and miss some of his witty sarcasm, humorous slants to the characters, exposition of their human foibles, and the nearly incredible, hilarious situations they get themselves into. But I understand that Hiassen is trying to get the main moral message that permeates all his books across to the younger generation--because they are the future. I'd highly recommend this book to teenagers, but adults can enjoy it too and pass it on to their children when they're old enough to read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love reading Carl Hiaasen books. He cannot write them fast enough for me. Like all of his books, "Skink" can stand on its own and it is not necessary to read the earlier books. However, doing so will greatly enhance the reader's understanding of what is going on.

Skink is a character that sometimes has a major role in Hiaasen's repertoire and sometimes makes a cameo appearance. As you can imagine from the title, Skink is a major player in this book.

Hiaasen's writing is always entertaining and always funny. The funniest factor is that the crazy scenarios that he describes are so darn believable. He has said in interviews that we are so lucky that so many bad guys are so unbelievably stupid. Most of the bad guys are, truly, nominees for the Darwin Awards.

"Skink" deals with the plight of leatherback turtles, the life of a young man trying to survive his mother's second marriage, a secret guilt and a secret love. Much of the story takes place on the water and there is a part concerning an alligator that appears to be shamelessly stolen from Peter Pan. You won't want to put it down.

I do not give out five star reviews very often.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Skink--No Surrender is a great book. If you live in Florida, it's even better. I find that it's interesting to read about locations that you live around and the environment that is there. The plot of this book starts off quickly. But, there's not very much to it. Richard and Skink are destined to find Malley, Richards cousin, without the police. Unfortunately, Malley was kidnapped by a man she met in an internet chat room. Speaking of that, this book also has some small life lessons in it. Like not stealing and not meeting strange people online. There is also brief information on wildlife that is found in a Florida ecosystem. This includes the critically endangered and possibly extinct, ivory-billed woodpecker. Overall, Skink--No Surrender is just an all around fun read that many young adults may take interest in.
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