Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Chomp

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Carl Hiassen's recently released young adult book, Chomp.

Available for sale on March 27, 2012, this book was a lot of fun, while also touching on some dark subject matter.

Essentially, the novel follows the young Wahoo as he helps/watches over his father, a professional animal wrangler. Wahoo's father, the far more sensibly named Mickey, was recently injured (by an iguana that fell out of a tree), and so income has been tight. Wahoo's mother conveniently goes on a trip to the other side of the world (China) for work to earn some extra income, which leaves the boys by themselves.

In the midst of their male bonding time, the opportunity to help out on a popular "reality" television show comes up. And with their increasingly dire financial straits, really, how could they say "no?"

Well, regardless of whether they're capable of uttering negative syllables or not, they agree to help. Wahoo is knowledgeable, and kind of boring, but his father is awesome. Mickey is hilarious and fearless. In the middle of the book, the reader is also introduced to Wahoo's classmate Tuna, a girl suffering from living with an abusive, alcoholic father. Tuna is also fairly awesome, despite introducing an element of danger near the end of the novel.

This book is filled with memorable characters, zany situations, but at the same time, isn't merely frivolous fun. The characters definitely aren't perfect, but they are a pleasure to get to know.

I definitely recommend reading this book. Due to the abusive relationship between Tuna and her father, however, this might not be a book that you want younger (12 and under) reading by themselves. It deals with the relationship in a very open way (although the abuse is only physical), and if your children are reading it, you might want to have an open and frank discussion concerning physical abuse first.

Take a Chomp out of Hiassen; read this book.

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