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Skink--No Surrender Hardcover – September 23, 2014
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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
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Top customer reviews
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.
The main character is Richard and he is 13 years old. Richard is the narrator of the story and tells the story form his point of view. Hiaasen makes the story believable through this narration with his use of dialogue and the words that he uses.
The plot keeps the reader interested. Richard realizes that his cousin Malley is in trouble so he sets off to find her. He meets the governor of Florida on the beach and they start talking. During the conversation he explains that his cousin lied about going away to boarding school and he knows that she left with someone she met on the internet.
I won't ruin the ending, but the governor helps Richard on his journey to find Malley. The journey leads them around Florida before they are able to find her.
Overall, I think the author's message is clear that it is important to never talk to people online that you do not know. It also points out that even a young 13 year old can be brave and help others.
I would recommend this book to middle school students and to anyone who enjoys reading about this age group.