Squirm

Carl Hiaasen. Knopf, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-75297-8
The focus of the latest eco-adventure by Hiaasen (Chomp) is not an endangered animal but an elusive one: Billy Dickens’s absent father. When Billy was three or four, his dad disappeared, though support checks still arrive monthly. Billy’s mother, a bird lover, moves him and his older sister every few years so she can live within 15 minutes of an active eagle’s nest. She’s an otherwise responsible party, but she aggravates Billy in one other way: she refuses to share information about his father’s whereabouts. Billy pieces together his dad’s address in Montana after fishing bits of an envelope from the trash, and he uses his mother’s credit card to book a flight there from Florida. (Mature beyond his years, he leaves a check from his own savings to cover airfare.) In Livingston, Billy meets his father’s new wife and his stepsister, both members of the Crow Nation, and becomes embroiled in his father’s well-intentioned but dangerous attempts to protect wildlife from trophy hunters. Billy is an admirable kid with deeply improbable snake-handling abilities, and the story never quite fulfills the promise of singularity offered in the opening scene, wherein Billy keeps people out of his school locker by placing an Eastern diamondback there. Ages 8–12. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 09/25/2018
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-5481-5
Library Binding - 288 pages - 978-0-385-75298-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-593-17767-9
Library Binding - 394 pages - 978-1-4328-7551-0
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-987145-98-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-385-75300-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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