Hoot by Carl Hiaasen – A Review

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen – A Review

Hoot – A Novel by Carl Hiaasen
Book Review by Amanda Sweeney

Hoot, written by Carl Hiaasen, tells the story of protagonist Roy Eberhardt, a new kid finding his way in the South of Florida. Carl Hiaasen, previously known in the adult fiction genre for novels such as Skinny Dip and Sick Puppy, wrote Hoot as his first novel for young adults a decade ago. It was originally directed towards his niece and nephew due to the fact that they were too young for his previous material. I recall previously reading this book in grade five. However, just because the audience for the book is expressed as being ages 10-15 isn’t to say that it cannot be enjoyed in the older years alike, as I have recently confirmed.

The special element of this book is that readers can instantaneously attach themselves to the lovable, and eventually even the not so lovable, characters. Young Roy, bulky soccer star Beatrice Leep, and her younger brother Napoleon (also known as Mullet Fingers) fight to stick up for the worthy ecological cause of saving the endangered burrowing owls on a local construction site. Readers will be rooting for these three from the moment they join forces. Hoot also deals with some nastier characters such as the school bully named Dana, construction site manager Curly, Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House public relations representative Chuck E. Muckle, and a mother who appears to care very little for her son Mullet Fingers. Often enough, readers can eventually find a little love to spare for these characters, well, most of them.

There are many side-stories adding on to the main plot consisting of saving the owls. By throwing in the more problematic characters, who each bring in their own problematic issues, the three ‘eco-warriors’ (as The Miami Herald describes them) are constantly challenged. This keeps the action-paced feeling of the book alive with the turn of every page so the readers are continuously craving more. As previously mentioned, this feeling does not go away simply because the reader graduates middle school. Picking up the book approximately 9 years later was far from a bad choice on my part. I have no doubt that I do not stand alone in saying this. Adults can turn to Hoot if they are looking for a light, yet entertaining read.

A success in both young adult and adult fiction worlds, Hoot has won the Newbery Honor award in 2003. Due to the books popularity among a younger audience, Hiaasen has been continuing to explore the young adult fiction genre ever since. Books such as Flush, Scat, and Chomp are among his latest works similar to Hoot. In addition to this, Hoot was released as a movie in the year 2006 where both writer and director wished to remain as true to the book as possible. Although the movie may not fully demonstrate Hiaasen’s wit and style when it comes to his writing, it still decently captures the feelings a reader may experience when reading the novel.

Amanday Sweeney reviewed this book on behalf of AngloStore, Quebec City English Bookstore.

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