Hoot

by Carl Hiassen (2002)

“It’s important to stand up for what’s right…
…but sometimes there’s a fine line between courage and stupidity.”

This sage advice comes from the father of one of the trio of middle schoolers who drive this rollicking romp of a story. Adult fans of Carl Hiaasen might be surprised to find out that he has written novels for kids, given how racy his adult books are. Fear not – Hoot features all the excitement, humor, plot twists, and quirky characters of Hiaasen’s adult fare, but is pitched perfectly for middle schoolers. Hiaasen adds a hefty dose of adolescent self-reliance, featuring kids who are willing to be subversive enough to get the job done.

Hoot includes some tried and true Hiaasen themes of environmental conservation, distain for big business, and nostalgia for old Florida. In this case, the interests of a money-hungry pancake magnate are pitted against the habitat needs of adorable little owls.

Who will come to the rescue of the little owls? How will they stop the march of capitalism? Can a mullet really be caught with your bare hands? All of these questions and more are answered as the lives of Roy, Beatrice, Mullet Fingers, Curly, Chuck Muckle, Officer Delinko and Mr. Ryan intertwine. Come to Coconut Cove for the fast-paced plot, but stay for the deep questions about friendship, family, integrity, and fuzzy pint-sized owls.