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Squirm Paperback – March 10, 2020
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"Humorous, self-deprecating narration and convoluted exploits will keep pages turning till the satisfying close." —Kirkus Reviews
"Hiaasen’s latest is richly steeped in the natural world and all the peril it contains, from rattlers to grizzlies. Still, what may be most satisfying for readers are the personal connections Billy makes, whether it’s getting to know his new stepsister or making peace with his dad." —Booklist
"Hiaasen’s ecological passion shows no sign of abatement, and neither does his faith in kid resourcefulness and family resilience." —Bulletin
"An entertaining, pulse-pounding story."— The Horn Book Magazine
"Terrific characters and ingenious, fast-paced storytelling." —The Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Hilarious, heartfelt and delightfully surprising." —The Times Herald
About the Author
You can read more about Hiaasen's work at carlhiaasen.com, and follow him on social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @Carl_Hiaasen.
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Hiaasen's protagonist this time around is 13-year-old Billy Audubon Dickens. Billy loves snakes. His mother moves him and his sister around because she "has a weird rule: We've got to live near a bald eagle nest, and by 'near,' my mother means fifteen minutes max. She's totally obsessed with these birds." Billy's father, Dennis Dickens, is nowhere to be found. He left the family many years ago to take up a mysterious job about which he will say absolutely nothing. But Billy is a resourceful kid. He's determined to find a way to find the old man and learn his secret.
Billy's odyssey takes him from Fort Pierce, Florida to Livingston, Montana, a tiny town 30 miles from Bozeman. There he finds his dad's new family but no dad. Dennis is out on a mission, allegedly for a government agency. Whatever his job is, it involves drones. Dennis is living with an Apsalooka (Crow) Indian woman named Little Thunder-Sky and her 14-year-old daughter, Summer Chasing-Hawks. The mother, known as Lil, is a river guide for visiting fishermen. And you just know that, whatever Dennis is doing, it involves nature as well. So you quickly figure out where this is going even if the mystery continues.
Squirm is a worthy addition to Hiaasen's growing body of young adult novels. It's not nearly as funny as are most of his novels for grown-ups, but it's infused with the same reverence for the natural world and a gentle way with the characters.
This book is not one of his adult offerings. Subjects and characters are geared to upper elementary-aged students and above.
Carl Hiaasen’s titles have a wonderful sense of place; quirky, very detailed, likable characters; dysfunctional family (and civic) situations; ecological themes; and tongue-in-cheek comedic circumstances.
In SQUIRM, I especially liked the descriptions of Montana; the fly-fishing; river travel and the eagles. I’m afraid that I am still not fond of snakes.
I am a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen. I would read table saw ads if he wrote them. His adult books have sent me into wild spasms of laughter. He is an excellent, excellent author.
Please check out all his tiles - for adults and kids.
A family book with the same delicious cutting commentary and love that Hiassen has for nature and his state of Florida.
Even better, we’re introduced to another beautiful state called Montana that would be better off without humans that defile nature.
Top international reviews
Loved reading it. If all kid’s stories are like this, I’m game.