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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Flush* by Carl Hiaasen - young adult book review

Also by Carl Hiaasen:



by Carl Hiaasen
Grades 5-8 272 pages Knopf August 2007 Paperback    

Carl Hiaasen has been a popular author for years for his Florida-based, wacky comedy-mysteries including Strip Tease, Lucky You and Skinny Dip. A couple of years ago, Hiaasen ventured into the young adult market with his Newbery Award winning Hoot. Hiaasen again forays into the YA territory with his newest book, Flush.

Noah Underwood has a few problems. The first is that heís constantly getting harassed by two local bullies. The second is that his father has serious anger management issues that not only have landed him in jail, but have also threatened his family as his mother is now threatening divorce. Itís not that Noahís dad is a bad guy. In fact, heís a very good guy who canít stand to seeing wrongdoers get away with illegal activities. Thatís why he sunk the Coral Queen, a gambling ship thatís been illegally dumping sewage into the bay, polluting the protected waters and making the beaches unsafe for swimmers and sea life.

Noah and his sister, Abbey, are understandably upset that their dad is in jail but are even more upset when he gets out and vows to stop trying to stop the illegal dumping to save his marriage. Noah and Abbey, who have inherited their fatherís moral outrage, decide they need to stop the dumping themselves. With the help of a large blonde with a grudge against the owner of the Coral Queen and a mysterious old man with an M-shaped scar, the children develop a plan that hinges on one thingólots and lots of flushing.

Hiaasenís second YA book is full of laughs, plot twists and plenty of moral lessons for young readers about the environment and the difference between right and wrong. Noahís character is a good one for kids to look up to as he respects his parents, loves his little sister and fights his battles with his brains instead of his fists. As is Hiaasenís trademark, the characters, including supporting ones, are all colorful and lively, making the plot more interesting and amusing. I especially liked Shelly, the hard-partying, tattooed blonde with a soft heart. Hiaasen also continues his trademark of filling his books with plenty of local atmosphere and young readers will especially enjoy learning about the marine life and environmental issues that are present in the Florida Keys.

Pre-teens and teenagers should enjoy Flush and adults will surely get a kick out of it, too. Itís a quick read compared to Hiaasenís adult novels and obviously not filled with foul language and sexual situations. I would recommend it to young and older adult readers alike, especially those who like funny mysteries and who enjoyed either Hoot or Hiaasenís other delightful novels.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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