There is always an environmental issue that is addressed in Hiaasen's books, but this time it isn't the central theme and several issues are touched on. The story is told by Richard, whose cousin and best friend, Malley, has run off with a guy she met online, and now Richard can tell from her communications that she is in trouble.
Richard has become acquainted with a very unusual character who is known as Skink. Richard found him buried in the sand in a fake turtle nest on the beach. Skink has been trying to catch people stealing the turtle eggs, which is illegal. Skink is old, dirty, and turns out he used to be the governor. He supposedly died a few years ago.
When Skink finds out about Richard's cousin, he decides to find her. He and Richard go on an adventure through the Florida swamps, meeting alligators, lots of road kill, extinct birds, stinky fishermen, and eventually Malley and her captor.
It's always lighthearted, even when guns are being pointed. There is danger and suspense, but you never doubt that justice will prevail no matter how unlikely it seems. You have to be prepared for some eye rolling, but it's all in good fun.
Apparently Skink has been in six novels, but this is the first I've been introduced to him. Skink No Surrender is short and action packed, making it an excellent choice for reluctant readers. There is violence, but it's not detailed, and because of the flippant attitudes, I think Skink No Surrender could be enjoyed by younger teens.
Skink No Surrender has been longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award.
Published by Knopf BFYR, September 23, 2014
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection Magazine
288 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)
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