Skink -- No Surrender
by Carl Hiaasen
Knopf, 2014. 281 pgs. Young Adult
Richard has a serious problem. His wild cousin Malley has run off with a stranger she met on the Internet to avoid being sent to boarding school for incorrigible kids. He is worried for her safety, but has promised her he won't rat her out to her parents, who think she has gone to the school for "early orientation." Lucky for Richard, he encounters a one-eyed, environmentally minded, former governor of Florida (that would be Skink), hiding under the sand, breathing through a straw to catch turtle egg poachers. Together the two cobble together a story to satisfy Richard's parents and take off after the fugitive(s). By this point, Malley knows she is in trouble, held against her will by the predator who stole the name of a fallen soldier to legitimize his online activities. Older readers will know Skink from Hiassen's novels for grown-ups, and kids will know Hiaasen from his hilarious environmental action novels for kids. Skink -- No Surrender lies halfway in between, with more ominous themes (young girl with older, predatory man), and more violence--the ending, though satisfying, is a bit bloody. So, good for older tweens on up, with much good cautionary information for inclined-to-act-foolishly youngsters. Long-listed for the National Book Award for Young People.