Library Pick o' the Week: Hoot

This week's library summer reading pick: Carl Hiaaasen's YA books

Starter Book: Hoot

Everyone wants to go to Florida, right?  Maybe everyone except Roy Eberhardt, who's forced to move there with his family, away from the mountains of Montana that he loves so much.  

Getting settled in a new town isn't easy, especially when Roy becomes a target for the toughest, smelliest bully at his middle school.  No matter what he tries, Roy can't seem to get away from Dana Matherson, who has started the trend of calling Roy "cowgirl".  But smelly Dana soon takes a backseat to a much more interesting problem: who is the strange-looking running boy who keeps passing by the school bus but who never gets on? 

Hoot is a fantastic mixture of humor and character-driven action.  The protagonist Roy has to figure out how to solve major problems, some of which he can't exactly explain to his parents.  With the help of some unlikely friends, Roy has to figure out how to stop a bully, expose a corrupt corporation, and help some wild animals (and one wild boy!).

This Newberry Honor book is Carl Hiaasen's first YA book, but not his last.  You might also check out Flush, another hilarious and heart-warming story about figuring out how to do the right thing, even when it might get you in trouble.  Hiaasen's latest YA novel is geared more toward older teens and is called Skink -- No Surrender.  

Hiaasen is a master of story-telling.  His books are page turners that will have you eager to keep reading and see how everything turns out.  His style is realistic and full of both humor and also his love for Florida, his native state.  While the rest of us might think of Florida as a vacation spot, Hiaasen writes about its natural beauty: the plants, animals, and weather that make it a paradise that should be protected!

Hoot is perfect for middle school readers, especially those who are interested in protecting the environment or in standing up for what they believe in!