Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Year Published: 2014
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I received a digital copy of this book thanks to the publishers and Net Galley. This review is free of spoilers. Very vague wording is used.
I really looked forward to reading and reviewing this book, which from what I understand is considered to be Hiaasen’s first YA book. Unfortunately, I have to say that I am disappointed. I think what Hiaasen accomplished here is certainly quirky, as are a lot of his books, but I don’t think that his goal to reach out to older teens in the YA genre worked.
I know that Hiaasen was trying to make the situation that Malley was in dire, but once the antagonist was presented, he was almost laughable. Also, the attempted use of modern day terms such as “YOLO” and “chatroom” were overused. I understand that the book was to be written for modern teenagers, but it didn’t succeed. Not many teens actually speak like this on a daily basis. The only thing that is holding this book back from being a middle school/preteen novel are all the hints that Richard gives of what T.C. could have done/be doing to Malley and words like “dumbass” here and there.
The pace of the novel was also very slow and the whole adventure seemed very nonchalant. This is especially true of T.C.’s ending. He left the novel in a very, let’s say, ungentle way. You would think that the characters would have been more taken aback, but they seemed for the most part unaffected by it.
The only thing that saved this book was the character of Skink. The rest of the main characters needed as much character development as he had, and I feel like the story as a whole would have been better if this was done.
I give Hiaasen credit for writing this novel and trying to reach out to the YA genre, but as someone who loves YA and has had some of her favorite books come from YA books, I am truly disappointed.