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Skink--No Surrender Hardcover – September 23, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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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
"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
Top customer reviews
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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.
Several reviewers have commented that this is a story for young people, but I disagree... this is a story about young people that is enjoyable for any age reader. How can you not like a one eyed, shower cap wearing, homeless old man who is the self appointed patron saint of endangered species. Hiassen has another winner in Skink.. just look for a straw in the sand.
Skink’s task in this story is to help the young narrator and main character, Richard, rescue his cousin, Malley, from an older man she met online and has foolishly run off with; Richard concludes, correctly though initially not on much evidence, that the man is a dangerous predator and is keeping Malley with him by force. En route to dealing with the bad guy, we get to see Skink’s unique approach to environmental protection, whether it be protecting turtle eggs or punishing litterbugs. Skink is offstage for long periods, however, so Richard and, later, Malley as well have a chance to show that they are quite resourceful on their own.
This is a middle-grades book, so Hiaasen pulls his punches a fair amount: there’s no sex and very little onstage violence, and the gonzo, sometimes raunchy, goings-on that I remember thronging his adult novels are absent. Nonetheless, the story is suspenseful, and Richard and Malley as well as Skink are extremely likeable. A bit watered down though it is, I would recommend this book to Skink and Hiaasen fans both young and old.