Review and Summary: SCAT

Scat_coverTitle:  SCAT

Author:  Carl Hiaasen

Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf

Genre:  Mystery/Fiction

“Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved. The principle says she was called away on a “family emergency,” but Nick and Marta don’t buy it. They think Smoke, the class delinquent, has something to do with her disappearance. And he does! But not in a way that they think.”

I ask you, is this not an UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME way to introduce a book?! This is a book that has excellent depth, but not so much that kids don’t want to read it. It is about much more than what is said above. It is a slightly complicated story at first, but very soon it starts to make sense, and at the exact moment the story starts to heat up, if I may add. The class delinquent, Smoke (that’s a nickname, by the way), is an unsanitary, hulking, isolated teen that was held back two years in elementary school. If that’s not enough to say that he’s a troubled kid, the day before Mrs. Starch went missing he bit her pencil clean in half, swallowed it, and was fine the next day.

Nick is a regular middle-schooled kid who’s on the football team, lacrosse team, etc., etc., and you would think he was pretty normal if you looked at him first glance. Except, of course, the fact that he has his right arm tied behind his back for reasons that I’m not going to tell you. You have to read the book to find out. Marta is the girl who gets pulled into the plot for reasons that I am still scratching my head over. She’s the person in a good mystery story that you would expect to randomly yell “How did I get involved with this?!” Nonetheless, she plays an important roll in the story that you would not expect.

Finally, Bunny Starch is a terribly mean biology teacher (a good post, don’t you think?) who is one of those people who seems so calm it’s terrifying. She has an icy personality that her students seem to think is her only one, but when Nick and Marta go looking for her, they discover a softer, less fear-striking side. In a desperate attempt to get a feared, yet efficient teacher back, the headmaster replaces her with a substitute teacher that is a legendary wacko:  Wendell Waxmo. Waxmo is so bad that even the kids in the class long for Mrs. Starch to come back. Whenever someone makes a mistake, he makes them sing an embarrassing song like white Christmas or London Bridge is falling down. He even makes the class sing the pledge of allegiance.

This book is about many things that soon make one big messy plot. They include an oil scam, an eccentric environmentalist named Twilly, and panther poop. Carl Hiaasen is an extremely talented author. Among his other works are Hoot, Flush, and, very recently finished, Chomp. There is also a movie of his first book, Hoot, which came out in early May. They are all about nature avengers in the coasts of Florida. I will definitely read the rest of them. I would recommend this book to ages twelve and up.

Posted by: Fred Reads

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Review and Summary: SCAT

  1. Hi Fred,

    I apologize for the delay on getting some of your reviews posted. I will have to catch up with you this week. I also have two reviews to post myself.

    I enjoyed the introduction to this post. Not many people think about reviewing whats on the BACK of a book, but here you did. It was a great way to pull your reader into the book AND your review of it.

    You mentioned that the book has a messy plot, yet recommended it pretty strongly. What kind of readers do you think would enjoy a book with a “messy” plot?

    Keep up the good work!

    Janine

  2. Are there ten words in this post?

    • Fred Reads

      Actually, I take that back. It’s not really “messy”. At least, not in the way that it appears. It’s like a bunch of big jigsaw pieces coming together in a plot where a very realistic crime comes together. And no, there’s no ten words this time.

  3. Hmm. Sounds interesting. Is the word you were looking for “complex”?

  4. Fred Reads

    Well, it’s not really complex, it’s quite simple once you get to the end. What I meant was heinous, preposterous, or something like that. It’s a dirty crime that probably won’t work and that has a “messy” setup.

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