From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–In Flush
(Knopf, 2005), Carl Hiaasen's ecological concerns focus on illegal dumping of raw sewage from a floating casino. Noah Underwood's dad has sunk the gambling ship, the Coal Queen
, in protest. Now the elder Underwood is launching a media campaign from his jail cell to raise public awareness since the sewage-spewing ship will soon be back in operation. Though Noah and his younger sister Abbey believe in their father's cause, they also fear their mother will file for divorce if he continues to react so outrageously to environmental issues. After a few false starts and run-ins with the casino owner's son and the ship's hired goon, the siblings come up with a plan to use food coloring to expose the hazardous dumping. Working with Shelly, the casino's bartender, and aided by a mysterious white-haired man, Noah and Abbey set their trap, but end up adrift off the Florida Keys. Rescue and an unexpected family reunion make their successful exposure of the corrupt casino owner even sweeter. It takes a few more plot twists before the Coral Queen
is closed forever, and by then Noah's parents have learned better ways to manage their marital problems. Michael Welch's narration neatly balances the protagonist's earnest youthfulness with the story's humor. In the manner of Hoot
(Knopf, 2002), Hiaasen's award-winning first foray into young adult novels, Flush
deals with serious ecological and personal issues. With good insight into real world relationships plus a mix of solid citizens and offbeat good guys, this audiobook has broad appeal and will be valued in middle school, high school, and public libraries.–Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Gr. 5-8. Hiaasen's second novel exhibits some of the same elements found in his 2003 Newbery Honor Book: Florida local color, oddball adults (buxom and brawny), and a delightful quirkiness.
But the sparkle that catapulted Hoot
into the limelight isn't quite as brilliant here. Even so, there's plenty to like in this yarn, which, once again, drops an environmental issue into the lap of a kid. Righteous indignation, usually resulting from some sabotage of Florida's natural resources, has gotten Noah Underwood's dad in trouble before. This time, however, Dad's gone too far: he sunk a floating casino. Why? Its owner is dumping human waste in the water. Unfortunately, Dad can't prove it, and that's where Noah and his younger sister, Abbey, come in. The amateur sleuthing puts the sibs into some mildly suspenseful, occasionally amusing, situations, which, as in the previous book, share space with run-ins with a local bully (Noah takes some lumps but gets sweet revenge). An old-fashioned deus ex machina interrupts an otherwise believable setup, but Hiaasen still succeeds at relating an entertaining story while getting across a serious message about conservation and the results of just plain greed. Stephanie ZvirinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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