Scat, Paperback book

Scat[Paperback]

by Carl Hiaasen

3.89 out of 5 (31 ratings)

Format:
Paperback 
Pages:
368 
Publisher:
Orion Publishing Co 
Publication Date:
02 September 2010 
Category:
Thrillers 
ISBN:
9781444000597 

Description

When Mrs Starch, the most feared biology teacher in Florida, goes missing during a school trip to the Black Vine Swamp, her class is secretly relieved. The school principal tries to cover it up as a 'family emergency', but Nick and Marta just aren't convinced. They think it's much more likely to have something to do with Smoke, the local troublemaker - whose run-ins with Mrs Starch are infamous - and decide to do some investigating of their own. But there's more going on in Black Vine Swamp than either one of them could guess. And Nick and Marta must see off an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a crooked oil prospector, a singing substitute teacher, and an angry Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture.

Showing 1-4 out of 45 reviews. Previous | Next

  • This is a great book in which a crime is committed, a kid framed, and others trying to unravel the case while helping an endangered panther in Florida.

    5.00 out of 5

    Zhen.Li

  • Great Book! It has action, mystery and is pretty funny!I Really liked this book.

    5.00 out of 5

    dvincent

  • Once again Carl Hiaasen has given us an environmental story that keeps us on the edge of our seat. There are several mysteries to be solved in this book. Hiaasen does an excellent job of tying everything together. This story takes place in Naples, Florida. I live only an hour from there. Mrs. Starch the Biology teacher has taken her class on a field trip into the Everglades. When a fire breaks out, the trip is cut short. When everyone their teacher is missing. Hiaasen throws in a weirdo substitute teacher named Wendell Waxmo, a suspect named Duane who has a history of setting fire, an oil company trying to find a way to drill in the Everglades and a couple of kids who try to solve it all. My students who have read and loved Hoot and Flush will enjoy this one just as much. I enjoyed it because the Everglades is a place my husband and I try to go to every year. It is worth saving.

    5.00 out of 5

    skstiles612

  • I love Carl Hiaasen. He’s one of those authors that produces consistently good books, so you know when you pick up his latest, you’ll like it. The first Hiassen book I encountered was ‘Skinny Dip.’ I was in the airport bookstore on the way to my uncle’s funeral looking for something to take my mind off his untimely death, so you can imagine how much pressure I put on that book to entertain. Skinny Dip’s over-the-top characters and lunacy-filled yet somehow plausible plot did manage to distract me, and won Hiaasen a life-long fan.When I picked up ‘Scat,’ I hadn’t yet read any of Hiaasen’s young adult books, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out the only difference between Scat and his adult novels is that he’s toned down the language and situational maturity.Mrs. Starch is a tough teacher. She’s mean and weird and has disappeared on a biology field trip to Black Vine Swamp. In the opening chapter, Hiaasen describes the effect Mrs. Starch has on her students:“A droplet of perspiration glided like a spider down Nick’s neck. If he worked up the courage to raise his hand, Mrs. Starch would pounce swiftly. Right away she’d see that he had forgotten his biology book, a crime that would be forgiven only if Nick was able to explain and then diagram the Calvin cycle, which was unlikely. Nick was still struggling to figure out the Krebs cycle from Chapter 7.”Mrs. Starch eventually selects a victim, whom she proceeds to humiliate in front of the class. Duane Scrod Jr. is known to the other students as “Smoke,” because that’s what he wants to be called, and no one wants to gainsay the huge, antisocial kid with a reputation as a budding arsonist. It’s this rep, and the confrontation in class that prompts Smoke to bite off and eat half of Mrs. Starch’s pencil, that makes Smoke the prime suspect when a fire breaks out at the Black Vine Swamp, disrupting the field trip. Mrs. Starch goes back to fetch one of the students’ dropped asthma inhaler, and never comes back out.Nick Waters had been hoping to catch sight of an endangered Florida panther, and was shooting video right before the fire started. He’s got a short, out-of-focus clip that shows <i>something</i> moving in the underbrush, and he and his friend Marta are determined to find out what. The mystery helps take his mind off the fact that his father, a soldier deployed in Iraq, hasn’t contacted him in days.Scat is typical, fast-paced Hiaasen insanity, where even the rare ‘normal’ character gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Nick’s dad comes back an amputee, so Nick straps his own arm behind his back in an attempt at solidarity. Smoke shows up at school a changed person—something has inexplicably influenced him to rise above his low beginnings and give his education his all.The bad guys lack anything resembling a conscience, and are incompetent boobs. The reader is never in doubt as to who they are and what their motivation is. We get to know them through their point of view, so the plot is pretty straight-forward from the beginning, but we don’t find out until the end exactly why Mrs. Starch never reappears from the swamp, but instead seems to have taken a sudden and out-of-character leave of absence from school.Hiassen’s naturalism is infused throughout the novel. He’s quite a proponent of Florida’s wildlife, and it shows in each of the stories I’ve read. His main characters tend to be idealistic to a fault. Switching from adult novels to young adult was a good move on his part, because he’s now reaching the right audience for his message of conservation.I finished Scat yesterday, and in an odd coincidence, was looking for a decent show for my seven-year-old to watch when I tuned to “Hoot,” on the Disney channel. It was the very tail end of the show, but I knew it was based on a book Hiaasen had written, so we watched it. I haven’t read Hoot, but I’m familiar with Hiaasen, and didn’t see one iota of his wacky originality in this television version. Well, the book is almost always better than the movie version, no matter who produces it.I’d recommend Scat as a good read for middle-schoolers grounded in reality. We all know the corporate heavies usually succeed in their nefarious doings, but it’s a nice break to read about the little guy taking them on and winning. Especially when that read is as entertaining as a HiassenA Booksquawk.com review by Melissa Conway

    5.00 out of 5

    Booksquawk

Reviews provided by Librarything.

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