Sometimes, timing is everything.

About two weeks ago, I wrote this sentence: “In Tangerine, Bloor has created a novel that is part sports, part mystery, part eco-awareness — but entirely engaging and thought-provoking.”  If you replace Tangerine with Flush, Bloor with Hiaasen, and take out the reference to sports, you have a summary of my opinion of Carl Hiaasen’s Flush.    

The two books have a lot in common.  Both are set in Florida and make excellent use of the state’s natural landscapes; both focus on the environment; both are told from the point of view of adolescent boys; both incorporate some element of mystery.  Both are entirely enjoyable.  In fact, my only complaint about Flush  is that it wasn’t Tangerine.  

I liked Flush. The Florida Keys make a beautiful backdrop to the story, which is well pieced together.  The characters are strongly defined, and the narrative flows naturally while delivering a deliberate message about ecological awareness.  As I said, timing is everything — had I read Flush first, all of these factors may have been enough to throughly impress me.   But the cast of characters is nowhere near as deep nor as rich as Tangerine‘s, and the plot, in contrast, seems one-noted.  Admittedly, Flush is written at a slightly lower reading level, but with all the other similarities between the two, it’s difficult not to compare their merits. And if I had to pick one Florida-set, environmentally-focused juvenile novel, Tangerine would win, hands down.

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~ by Molly on May 12, 2009.

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