chomp

Wahoo is not your typical teenager.  First of all, his name is Wahoo.  Second, the family pet Alice the alligator mistook his thumb for dinner one night and bit it off.  Third, his animal-wrangler father got conked on the head with a frozen iguana, and the resulting concussion has caused some serious problems for the family finances.

So when TV star Derek Badger approaches Wahoo and his dad about helping out on his survival show, they sign on.  Never mind that the show isn’t really about surviving anything, or that Derek has no idea about what he’s doing, or that they’re trying to help Wahoo’s friend Tuna hide out from her loose cannon of a father, or that Wahoo’s own dad is still seeing double from his head injury.

Chomp, Carl Hiaasen’s newest juvenile novel, is a clear descendant of his earlier efforts: eco-centric, set in Florida, and full of zany characters.  But it’s easily my favorite of the books of his I’ve read.  Wahoo is an easy-going, likeable kid who’s main mission in life seems to be trying to keep his father in check – Mr. Cray, for all his animal sense, seems to have little idea of how to interact with actual people.  When they head off into the Everglades with a a hotel-staying, dessert-loving “survivalist” and a taxonomy-obsessed, father-evading girl in tow, chaos breaks loose.  Hiaasen’s adventure is action-packed and well-paced – fun to read and tough to put down.   Though he brings in timely media issues – like just how much of reality television is “reality” – along with his standard environmental perspective, the real focus of the story is on the characters he so carefully crafts.

The result is a clever, funny, chaotic trip through the Everglades.  If that sounds like a good time to you, then Chomp is probably a great fit.  Just watch out for Alice.

 

*I received this book at no cost from the publisher

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~ by Molly on March 27, 2012.

One Response to “chomp”

  1. I can’t believe I’m admitting this out loud, but I’ve never read anything by Carl Hiaasen. I think Chomp may change that. Thanks for the recommendation!

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