Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

ChompThis book was written by the same author as Hoot, Flush, and Scat, and I gave it a rating five out of five. Wahoo Cray's father owns a farm full of exotic pets: alligators, snakes, raccoons, and other critters. His father received a concussion from an iguana that fell from a tree after a rare freezing spell in Florida. The family needs money after that, so Wahoo accepts an offer to allow a reality, survival television show to film at their farm. The host of the show is a self-centered fraud, so this creates a conflict with Wahoo's father. Things don't go smoothly during the filming, but the producers of the show still want help from Wahoo's father to do some filming in the actual Everglades. To complicate matters, one of Wahoo's classmates runs away from her abusive father and goes along with them. Things get real bad, real quick, when her gun-carrying, alcoholic father finds them.

The plot has a mixture of adventure, humor, and suspense. Life in the Florida backwoods provides the adventure, the misadventures of the obnoxious television host provides the humor, and the crazy, abusive father provides the suspense. I really enjoyed how Wahoo's father always got the best of the host, although the host always came back for more. The addition of Wahoo's classmate increased the excitement, and the plot quickly shifted its attention to her dangerous father.

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