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Squirm

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Some facts about Billy Dickens: * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake. * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal. * Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: * They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest. * Some facts about Billy Dickens: * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake. * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal. * Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: * They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest. * Billy's older sister is dating a jerk. It's a mystery. * Billy's dad left when he was four, and Billy knows almost nothing about him. * Billy has just found his dad's address--in Montana. This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.


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Some facts about Billy Dickens: * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake. * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal. * Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: * They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest. * Some facts about Billy Dickens: * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake. * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal. * Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: * They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest. * Billy's older sister is dating a jerk. It's a mystery. * Billy's dad left when he was four, and Billy knows almost nothing about him. * Billy has just found his dad's address--in Montana. This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.

30 review for Squirm

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Some of Mr. Hiaasen's stories are good and some are not. This is aimed for a younger audience. 1 of 10 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    I really enjoy Hiassen's books, preferring his adult fare. This book is written for tweens, not even young adults. The humor is pretty dumbed down (e.g., MeTube and other misnamed social media platforms.) The basic story made little sense. Father abandons family, but sends a monthly check. Mother is kind of cuckoo and moves around Florida to be near bald eagle nests. The son decides to track down father despite his simmering anger, and finds him with a new Crow Indian family in Montana, where he I really enjoy Hiassen's books, preferring his adult fare. This book is written for tweens, not even young adults. The humor is pretty dumbed down (e.g., MeTube and other misnamed social media platforms.) The basic story made little sense. Father abandons family, but sends a monthly check. Mother is kind of cuckoo and moves around Florida to be near bald eagle nests. The son decides to track down father despite his simmering anger, and finds him with a new Crow Indian family in Montana, where he has a mysterious job involving nature and drones. Somehow he gets over his anger. Highlights of the book were the son's unwavering war on bullies, and affinity for nature (very Hiassenesque.) Just didn't work for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys! A while back I was introduced to this author because of a cat on the cover of scat. I enjoyed that book so much that I decided to listen to all of Hiaasen’s other juvenile books. This be a review of the other four books: hoot, flush, chomp, squirm. These books have some common themes. All of them involve a young boy who lives in Florida, gets bullied, loves animals, has a quirky sense of humor, makes new friends, and saves the day. Weird names also seem to be a trend. While Ahoy there me mateys! A while back I was introduced to this author because of a cat on the cover of scat. I enjoyed that book so much that I decided to listen to all of Hiaasen’s other juvenile books. This be a review of the other four books: hoot, flush, chomp, squirm. These books have some common themes. All of them involve a young boy who lives in Florida, gets bullied, loves animals, has a quirky sense of humor, makes new friends, and saves the day. Weird names also seem to be a trend. While the bad guys are very two-dimensional, the good guys are quirky and fun. Also there tends to be loving, if odd, parents involved which is nice. hoot: This was apparently a best novel nominee for the Newbery medal. I also think at some point I watched some of the movie with me nephews. In this one, Roy Eberhardt moves to Florida. He is chosen to be the school bully, Dana Matherson’s, new punching bag. It is while being smashed into the school bus window that Roy first sees “the running boy” who is running away from the school bus and appears to be wearing no shoes. Roy is pulled into a mystery to find out who the boy is and what he is doing. The running boy is called “Mullet Fingers” and is on a quest to fight a pancake house and save the owls. I loved Roy and the girl Beatrice. I loved the pancake house actress. flush: In this one a boy named Noah is determined to help his dad stop the local casino boat from dumping sewage into the water. His sister Abbey joins in. Me favourite character was Shelley. There are side plots about the kids trying to save their parents marriage. Also this is one of those books where the dad actually acknowledges faults and takes steps to improve. I particularly loved the family dynamics in this one. chomp: This was me other favourite. This book follows a boy named Wahoo (worst name ever) as he works with his dad as an animal wrangler for a wildlife reality tv show. His friend Tuna (second worse name ever) joins him on location. This was a tongue-in-cheek look at reality television and made me laugh. The reality star, Derek Badger, is something else. It is over-the-top and ridiculous and I loved it. squirm: This book was slightly different in that part of it takes place in Montana and there is an absent dad who certainly doesn’t win any awards for best parent. In this book, Billy is determined to meet his father and gets answers to his questions. Like in hoot, snakes are a major theme. For me this plot was the strangest. There is supposed to be a mystery in terms of what the exactly Billy’s father does for a living. The answer was not that interesting to me and the dad seemed to be an idiot in general. I did like Billy though. I was very glad to read these books. They are rather lighthearted and silly but I can see the appeal for younger readers. They certainly appealed to this older one too. Me personal preference of reading order be scat, chomp, flush, hoot, then squirm. Scat and chomp in particular had some laugh out loud moments. I highly recommend. Arrr! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Carl Hiaasen does it again. This is a delightful book that unites a couple of Florida kids with their AWOL father who has a new family in Montana. Dad goes out on secret missions and the Florida boy and Montana native American girl team up to find out what's actually going on. Both of the youngsters are incredibly intelligent and wise for their ages - each with knowledge that helps all out of dangerous situations. Typical Hiaasen, the situations have an environnmental/ecological origin.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barb Martin

    Carl Hiaasen's juvenile books are never as whacked-out as those he writes for adults. Still, he manages to get a pro-environment and anti-development message into all of his books, as well as his love of Florida. This time, Billy Dickens is a middle school kid who likes snakes, sticks up for downtrodden classmates and has absolutely no relationship to his long-estranged father. That all changes when he discovers his father's address and embarks on an adventure that involves bears, snakes and dro Carl Hiaasen's juvenile books are never as whacked-out as those he writes for adults. Still, he manages to get a pro-environment and anti-development message into all of his books, as well as his love of Florida. This time, Billy Dickens is a middle school kid who likes snakes, sticks up for downtrodden classmates and has absolutely no relationship to his long-estranged father. That all changes when he discovers his father's address and embarks on an adventure that involves bears, snakes and drones. This is a quick little read with enjoyable characters and a mildly written tension-filled plot filled with snakes . . . the kind that squirm on the ground and those that squirm on two legs.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Billy Dickens is not your typical middle grader. Not only does he have a thing for snakes and is fascinated by them, but he also has a penchant for the underdogs in his school and the world around him. The child of two avid nature lovers, the boy has already lived in six different Florida towns, moves spurred by his mother's fondness for bald eagles. When Billy figures out where his long-gone father is, he travels to Montana to meet him. But in the beautiful state, he finds more questions than a Billy Dickens is not your typical middle grader. Not only does he have a thing for snakes and is fascinated by them, but he also has a penchant for the underdogs in his school and the world around him. The child of two avid nature lovers, the boy has already lived in six different Florida towns, moves spurred by his mother's fondness for bald eagles. When Billy figures out where his long-gone father is, he travels to Montana to meet him. But in the beautiful state, he finds more questions than answers and falls in love with the place. When the truth about what his dad does for a living finally comes out, Billy and his stepsister, Summer, head off on a wild ride through parts of Florida as they try to protect an endangered species there and a different one back in Montana. I have no idea if there are actually wealthy bounty hunters out there like the villainous Lincoln Chumley Baxter IV, out there, eager to kill species that are steadily dwindling just for the thrill of it, but the author has captured the essence of what someone like this might be like and how determined he was to bag his game, no matter what he had to do to succeed. As I finished the book, I couldn't help wishing there were more folks out there like Billy. The wildlife and environment need more eco-warriors like him. Although the ending of the book might be a little over the top, I have to say that I was pleased that nature got the last word when it came to justice. All the characters in this novel are interesting and complex, and it was encouraging to see one man use his wealth for good. Middle grade readers will enjoy this one just as much as the author's earlier books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy provided by publisher Wonderful, totally up to this author's standards, but I gave to a student before I wrote the review and forget pertinent details!

  8. 4 out of 5

    H R Koelling

    Fun, positive book. I love Hiaasen's YA novels. His books can empower and inspire kids to feel confident in the adult world, and also show that parents aren't always perfect.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Billie

    It was a lot of fun and with a good message, but felt like it lacked a lot of Hiaasen's usual humor.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Stover

    4.5. Funny. Sweet. All about families. Great characters. Lots of plot twists. Hard to put down ❤

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Robin-Tani

    Even though this book is completely unrealistic in a lot of ways (the snakes, the way Billy punishes people and saves people, a 14-year-old driving on the highway), it mostly works within this world, so those things didn't bother me too much. My problem with this book (SPOILER ALERT!) is how Billy has a knife in his pocket at a crucial point in the story, soon after he'd just gotten off an airplane. There is no way he could have taken that knife through security. (Unless I missed something and h Even though this book is completely unrealistic in a lot of ways (the snakes, the way Billy punishes people and saves people, a 14-year-old driving on the highway), it mostly works within this world, so those things didn't bother me too much. My problem with this book (SPOILER ALERT!) is how Billy has a knife in his pocket at a crucial point in the story, soon after he'd just gotten off an airplane. There is no way he could have taken that knife through security. (Unless I missed something and he had left the knife at Summer's house.) But, that lapse really took me out of the story and bumped my rating down a couple of stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Bunnell

    This is a fun middle grades book, classic Hiaasen. Heavy on nature and kids who respect it versus people who do not. Setting is key, and in this one we get Hiaasen's usually setting of Florida, but also two trips to Montana, so that was fun to see. The part I didn't care for as much was the just plain poor parenting by Billy's parents, both the dad who abandoned him, never returning of his own volition, and also his "flakey" mother who uproots her kids every time a bird decided to fly to coop. Th This is a fun middle grades book, classic Hiaasen. Heavy on nature and kids who respect it versus people who do not. Setting is key, and in this one we get Hiaasen's usually setting of Florida, but also two trips to Montana, so that was fun to see. The part I didn't care for as much was the just plain poor parenting by Billy's parents, both the dad who abandoned him, never returning of his own volition, and also his "flakey" mother who uproots her kids every time a bird decided to fly to coop. This is somehow celebrated and not seen as the ridiculous, selfish act that it is. Of course as a mom of a Tween, I'm not the intended audience for this book, but read them out loud with my reluctant reader son, who adored it. Loved the setting and all the youngster. The adults, even the "good" ones, were pretty "meh", as my younger son would say.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Annie Valdes

    just LOVE the "children's" books. they're all full of possibilities for saving the environment that are capable of being done by younger members of the human race. loopy humor adds. odd "families" that work..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Heckman

    I thought this book was good. I liked how the characters evolved into loving their very different families. All the characters were fun to read about and I liked following their stories. I would recommend this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Ozirny

    All the makings of a solid Hiaasen book. I listened to this on audio and there was no afterword or author's note on Hiaasen' research or connection with the Crow Nation (maybe this was in print and wasn't included on audio). I don't have enough information to pass judgment at this point, but I think it's worth pausing and asking questions whenever a white man is writing from the perspective of two indigenous female characters (with one character who speaks explicitly about what it feels like to b All the makings of a solid Hiaasen book. I listened to this on audio and there was no afterword or author's note on Hiaasen' research or connection with the Crow Nation (maybe this was in print and wasn't included on audio). I don't have enough information to pass judgment at this point, but I think it's worth pausing and asking questions whenever a white man is writing from the perspective of two indigenous female characters (with one character who speaks explicitly about what it feels like to be Native American).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dina

    I like Carl Hiaasen, and I always get a laugh out of his middle school, pro-environment, Florida happy books. This one fell short though. It was disjointed and all over the place and it just didn't make me snort with amusement like his earlier books did (shout out to 'Chomp'). The plot also made very little sense...The adults in this book were just not normal people, even though, yes, they were Floridians and I had very low expectations.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jo Sorrell

    This is the story of a middle schooler navigating his way through bullies in and out of school and his dysfunctional family. Bullies are bad, but a dysfunctional family is not always the case. Maybe that word needs to be replaced in this evolving society. It is a fact for a great population of students I teach. I like the candour of life for Billy, Belinda and step sister Summer. The father aggravated me. He has his reasons, but I thought they were really excuses. Billy’s dad left when Billy was This is the story of a middle schooler navigating his way through bullies in and out of school and his dysfunctional family. Bullies are bad, but a dysfunctional family is not always the case. Maybe that word needs to be replaced in this evolving society. It is a fact for a great population of students I teach. I like the candour of life for Billy, Belinda and step sister Summer. The father aggravated me. He has his reasons, but I thought they were really excuses. Billy’s dad left when Billy wasn’t he was only 3. Checks arrive on the 10th of every month, and I mean a fairly substantial amount, nice to be sure. Billy’s mom destroys the envelopes to keep the return address from Billy and Belinda. We find out her reasoning for this at the end of our story. But, mom got careless and shortly before summer vacation, Billy pieces one together and discovers his father’s in Montana. All the moving around in his life has made Billy a brave and daring soul. He purchases a plane ticket to Montana to find his father. Here, reader, you are gong to become pretty disgusted with Billy’s father. But, hang on... Other than his dad’s address, all he knows is that he’s got a new wife and family—and Billy’s ready for answers. In Montana, Billy meets Lil, his stepmother, and Summer, his stepsister, both members of the Crow Nation. But not his dad. Lil and Summer profess to know as little as his mother about his dad’s actual job. He always has claimed he works on secret missions for the government. Lil and a Summer don’t mind having Billy live with them and wait for his father, Dennis, to return (they even give him a little primer on U.S.–Native Nations relations). When his father’s truck is found abandoned with slashed tires, the tension heats. The only communication Billy gets from dad is via drone. Interesting and so 21st century. Now, Billy’s had enough as he tracks his dad down which turns out to be just the beginning of his adventure. I’ve read all of Hiassen’s wildlife mystery-thriller-adventures and this one did not fail me. Even though though I find all snakes terrifying, I would never hurt one. My cat bring little snakes in the house so I’m used to trapping them and releasing them into our woods. I loved the part about the rattlesnake in the locker with its mount taped with steri strips. What a way to fend off a bully! We learn that this does not harm the snake. Narrator Billy, maintains a strong sense of justice and a deep affection for snakes. I love your writing Carl Haissen and book talking them to middle school students. Ages 8-12. This book pairs well with Rob White’s classic book entitled Deathwatch. Thank you Albert A. Knopf books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read this excellent ARC.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Fun -- although I do like his "adult" books better. If you're a Carl Hiaasen fan and want your children to know why you appreciate his humor, this would be a good introduction for them to his work. Typical great Hiaasen story combining environmental concerns with besting the bad guys.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Fast paced and reasonably fun, I'm just a little sad that it doesn't seem to have the same amount of sense of humor as his usual books. I'm pleased that it seems much more solid than his recent adult novels. It's been a rough couple of years, I wonder if that's bleeding through.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarai Davila

    "Squirm" lacks some of the silliness and humor of Hiaasen's other books, but I think there's a certain level of solemnity that fits with the story. This latest story takes place both in Florida and Montana, and it has a unique tone--very different from Hiaasen's other Juvenile Fictions. The sunniness of Florida, and it's sometimes laughable reputation, both lend well to Hiaasen's usual almost slapstick humor and equally biting wit. But the mountains of Montana are a darker, less funny place to b "Squirm" lacks some of the silliness and humor of Hiaasen's other books, but I think there's a certain level of solemnity that fits with the story. This latest story takes place both in Florida and Montana, and it has a unique tone--very different from Hiaasen's other Juvenile Fictions. The sunniness of Florida, and it's sometimes laughable reputation, both lend well to Hiaasen's usual almost slapstick humor and equally biting wit. But the mountains of Montana are a darker, less funny place to be. The animals are just as deadly in some cases, but there's a huge difference between a mama bear and her two cubs, and the grumpy-faced alligators and snakes in the other books. The atmosphere of the juxtaposing places fits well with this still witty but less funny book. The familial situation in this book also lends itself to the more serious mood that it carries. Billy has one absentee parent and one who struggles with her obsession with certain wildlife. That's a lot less funny or playful than the father in "Chomp" who is nearly a caricature of a reckless wilderness-obsessed father. Hiaasen's message in this book is also a little bit darker. His other books definitely deal with environmentalism, and being nice to the planet and animals, but this book takes a slightly bleaker look, with a poacher, who is anything but funny or redeemable. The naturalist approach in this book doesn't feel quite so low stakes when it involves a bear, and multiple people's lives. There's a particular quote that I cannot remember now, but it paints a portrait of a world that struggles with bigotry, sleazy politicians, and other hardships and sadness. Hiaasen clearly cares about the planet and the world, and he obviously wants to make a difference. I think the case here is that in the past, his books have pointed out our problems with a light hand, whereas in this one, you can feel the tone of wondering if there's any hope, or if we're past help. The biggest problems I noticed with this book were that at times I had a hard time with how often things would pivot even when it seemed meaningless. Characters flying around between Montana and Florida to visit each other, with each trip feeling less important than the last. I wanted a little more consistency of plot and character with less travel time. Overall, this book was very different from Hiaasen's other works, but I enjoyed it for what it offered instead--a darker but still hopeful take on the world and our issues.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    “I did the only thing a person like me could possibly do, wired the way I am. No way could I stand there watching a small kid get pounded by a big kid. Not an option. That isn’t bravery, it’s just reflex.” Billy Audubon Dickens (B.A.D.) leads an unusual life. Some of it has to do with his mother. She’s got this weird rule. “We’ve got to live near a bald eagle nest, and by “near” my mother means fifteen minutes, max.” So, they are constantly moving from place to place, which means Billy doesn’t bo “I did the only thing a person like me could possibly do, wired the way I am. No way could I stand there watching a small kid get pounded by a big kid. Not an option. That isn’t bravery, it’s just reflex.” Billy Audubon Dickens (B.A.D.) leads an unusual life. Some of it has to do with his mother. She’s got this weird rule. “We’ve got to live near a bald eagle nest, and by “near” my mother means fifteen minutes, max.” So, they are constantly moving from place to place, which means Billy doesn’t bother making friends. It just isn’t worth it. Another reason his life is so interesting is that “Sometimes an idea pops into my head, the opposite of common sense, but I just can’t let it be.” Billy acts on impulse a lot. For example, how does he stop kids from breaking into his locker? He puts a rattlesnake in it. Effective, but a little bit crazy. But at least he almost always has a good reason for his crazy ideas. And now his summer is about to get really interesting because he makes one of those impulse decisions, hops on a plane and flies to Montana to find Dennis Dickens, his father. You see, he found the envelope that the monthly check arrived in and got the address. Not that his father has ever tried to make contact before, but oh well … should be interesting. He starts by meeting his dad’s stepdaughter, Summer Chasing-Hawks and her mother, Little Thunder-Sky (Lil). Billy had no idea that his father had remarried. They are both very nice and even let Billy stay with them since Billy’s dad is supposedly off on some secret mission. Just who does he work for, anyway? FBI? CIA? NSA? Things get even weirder when they find Dennis’ truck abandoned and his tires slashed. Shortly after that, a drone arrives in front of Billy and drops a note: Billy, please get away from here as fast as you can. I’ll explain everything later, when I see you. Love, Dad Billy is a bit skeptical about his Dad’s story. “Something’s weird about his story is all I’m saying. He’s working undercover in the middle of a forest? What —- disguised as a pine cone?” And so, of course, he pursues his father into the woods. Before he knows it, Billy is lost. “Who drives off and leaves his son alone in the middle of grizzly country.” So begins this humorous, adventure tale that involves some guy named Lincoln Chumley Baxter IV (can you believe that name?) Billy’s sarcastic comments cause laugh-out-loud moments and the mystery and adventure that follows will keep readers turning the pages. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Well, he has done it again. Carl Hiaasen has written a book that kids will find hard to put down once they start. Billy Dickens like snakes (ewwwwweeeeeee). He is a friend to most animals and with a mother like his you can understand why. His mom is crazy about Bald Eagles. She follows them around Florida, and spends the weekends on family eagle watching outings. Everytime the eagles abandon the nest where she lives, she has to find a new nest to live near. This means Billy has spent plenty of t Well, he has done it again. Carl Hiaasen has written a book that kids will find hard to put down once they start. Billy Dickens like snakes (ewwwwweeeeeee). He is a friend to most animals and with a mother like his you can understand why. His mom is crazy about Bald Eagles. She follows them around Florida, and spends the weekends on family eagle watching outings. Everytime the eagles abandon the nest where she lives, she has to find a new nest to live near. This means Billy has spent plenty of time moving. This time he just wants to stay put. His current place has great snakes. But, Billy is curious about his father. When dad walked out he never looked back. He supports his kids financially, but never a letter, never a call. Just the monthly check. But Billy wants to see his dad. Upon finding his father’s address on the envelope, he plans a trip to Montana. Come heck or high water he is going to meet the man that he only knows by name. And since this is a Hiaasen novel you know there will be some type of trouble with animals and/or an environmental concern, and Billy has to help. This adventure is going to see Billy and his step sister, Summer Chasing-Hawks, watching out for grizzly bears in Montana, and and panthers in Florida. You have to throw in some high tech drone action, plus all the snark you can handle. I did love this story, but to me it does not live up to the level Hiaasen reached with Chomp. I think part of it was the back and forth between Montana and Florida. Plus the meet ups with dad. You really start to hate the man as you read this book, and I think that the forgiveness part comes too soon, and too quick. I really want to hand my galley to my nephew but fear this book will come too close to his current situation with his father. And I won't lie, that maybe what colors some of my opinion. Overall, this book is a great adventure. Readers young and old will fall in love with Billy and Summer, and maybe even forgive the adults for their faults. And for those people like me who are not fond of snakes, there is a little snake action, but nothing to fear. I would put this book at a 4th+ reading level, but think it could be a fun read aloud for younger kids.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Squirm is the story of Billy, aboy who has grown up since he was 4 without his father. His mother loves bald eagles and moves every time they leave their nest. So unsurprisingly, Billy doesn’t get involved or close to many people. He has always been curious about his father and where he lives (since his mother shredded all the return addresses off the envelopes). When he pieces one together, he decides to visit his dad and figure out his mysterious life. Billy (like his parents) has an interest Squirm is the story of Billy, aboy who has grown up since he was 4 without his father. His mother loves bald eagles and moves every time they leave their nest. So unsurprisingly, Billy doesn’t get involved or close to many people. He has always been curious about his father and where he lives (since his mother shredded all the return addresses off the envelopes). When he pieces one together, he decides to visit his dad and figure out his mysterious life. Billy (like his parents) has an interest in animals, particularly snakes, which he often bags and collects (hence the title and cover of the book). From reading about his other books, it seems Carl Hiaasen is great at character development in realistic fiction. Billy’s strengths (loyal, standing up to bullies, love for his family) and weaknesses (lying, not making friends or relationships) are both portrayed. There are several situation in which Billy deals with bullies. He is the kind of friend any child who is often bullied would want on his side. His clever responses and ways of dealing with bullies are creative and humorous. Billy can always make a bully humbled without laying a finger on him, often using fear as a deterrent. Squirmalso deals with many life changes and challenges. I think young readers who have often felt alone would feel camaraderie with Billy, and probably most boys would want to be his friend. Squirmleaves almost every chapter with suspense, and makes for an enjoyable read that’s hard to put down. I didn’t love some of the language in this book. I felt like it was written for a relatively young age range and had frequent (I would say) cussing. I read this book with my son and I skipped a lot of words or changed them. In one instance, my son said, “mom, I already read it. Why did he use that word?” I feel like this book had by far the worst language of any book I have read for this age. Overall, Squirmis an engaging read, about wilderness in Florida and Montana (with lots of information about both regions) and growing up in single parent households. I would recommend it to 5th-8thgrade students.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Squirm is the latest of Carl Hiaasen's series of young adult novels with one-word titles. Hoot, Scat, Flush, Chomp, Skink, and now Squirm. Every one of these books I've read, and every one of his adult novels I've managed to read, is infused with an intense love for nature. In Squirm, Hiaasen takes that love to a new level. The book is virtually a naturalist's tour of Montana. Hiaasen's protagonist this time around is 13-year-old Billy Audubon Dickens. Billy loves snakes. His mother moves him and Squirm is the latest of Carl Hiaasen's series of young adult novels with one-word titles. Hoot, Scat, Flush, Chomp, Skink, and now Squirm. Every one of these books I've read, and every one of his adult novels I've managed to read, is infused with an intense love for nature. In Squirm, Hiaasen takes that love to a new level. The book is virtually a naturalist's tour of Montana. Hiaasen's protagonist this time around is 13-year-old Billy Audubon Dickens. Billy loves snakes. His mother moves him and his sister around because she "has a weird rule: We've got to live near a bald eagle nest, and by 'near,' my mother means fifteen minutes max. She's totally obsessed with these birds." Billy's father, Dennis Dickens, is nowhere to be found. He left the family many years ago to take up a mysterious job about which he will say absolutely nothing. But Billy is a resourceful kid. He's determined to find a way to find the old man and learn his secret. Billy's odyssey takes him from Fort Pierce, Florida to Livingston, Montana, a tiny town 30 miles from Bozeman. There he finds his dad's new family but no dad. Dennis is out on a mission, allegedly for a government agency. Whatever his job is, it involves drones. Dennis is living with an Apsalooka (Crow) Indian woman named Little Thunder-Sky and her 14-year-old daughter, Summer Chasing-Hawks. The mother, known as Lil, is a river guide for visiting fishermen. And you just know that, whatever Dennis is doing, it involves nature as well. So you quickly figure out where this is going even if the mystery continues. Squirm is a worthy addition to Hiaasen's growing body of young adult novels. It's not nearly as funny as are most of his novels for grown-ups, but it's infused with the same reverence for the natural world and a gentle way with the characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mbobrosky

    Squirm is another environmental/animal book by Carl Hiassen that holds up well with the other books he has written for young readers. As with his other books, there is a focus on an animal; this time snakes. But, the true center of this, and Hiassen's other books are people and their relationships. In Squirm we are introduced to Billy who has a fascination with snakes, and has become an expert amateur handler. Billy lives with his mother and sister, Belinda. Billy's mother has a fascination with Squirm is another environmental/animal book by Carl Hiassen that holds up well with the other books he has written for young readers. As with his other books, there is a focus on an animal; this time snakes. But, the true center of this, and Hiassen's other books are people and their relationships. In Squirm we are introduced to Billy who has a fascination with snakes, and has become an expert amateur handler. Billy lives with his mother and sister, Belinda. Billy's mother has a fascination with bald eagles, a fascination so extreme that she will uproot Billy and his sister to follow them, wherever they nest. Billy and Belinda have difficulty making lasting relationships because they move so much. They both hope the most recent move is their last. Billy's parents are divorced, and he doesn't know his father. He does know that a support check comes monthly like clockwork. Billy's father is a mystery that he wants to solve. Billy's mother is so secretive in regards to his father that he thinks that his father must be an FBI or CIA agent. His curiosity drives him to dig in his mother's trash to see if he can find some return address on a envelope used to send the support payment. He finally finds one. It is an address in Montana. He decides he is going to the Montana address and uses his savings to buy a plane ticket. When he gets there, he discovers a woman, a teen-aged girl, but not his father. What he does find is something more mysterious than he could imagine, leading to an adventure that will take him deep into the Montana forest. This is a typical, fun and adventurous Hiassen read that will hold readers to the climatic ending. For upper elementary and middle school students. Excellent for tying into environmental studies and animal conservation units.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    #6 in author Carl Hiaasen's series of YA books, after Skink - No Surrender (2014). This entry is a slight departure from Hiaasen's self-reliant young protagonist defending Florida's ecology from the depredations of dastardly adults. Here the dastard is attempting to shoot endangered trophy animals in Montana and Florida and young Billy's father is the White Hat on a crusade to stop him. With interludes of vigilante justice against bullies, going eagle watching with his avian loving mother, and m #6 in author Carl Hiaasen's series of YA books, after Skink - No Surrender (2014). This entry is a slight departure from Hiaasen's self-reliant young protagonist defending Florida's ecology from the depredations of dastardly adults. Here the dastard is attempting to shoot endangered trophy animals in Montana and Florida and young Billy's father is the White Hat on a crusade to stop him. With interludes of vigilante justice against bullies, going eagle watching with his avian loving mother, and meeting his father's new family, members of the Crow Nation, Billy makes it his mission to support his father. An entertaining YA read. When Billy Dickens was three or four, his dad disappeared, though support checks still arrive monthly. Billy's mother, a bird lover, moves him and his older sister every few years so she can live within 15 minutes of an active eagle's nest. She's an otherwise responsible party, but she aggravates Billy in one other way: she refuses to share information about his father's whereabouts. Billy pieces together his dad's address in Montana after fishing bits of an envelope from the trash, and he uses his mother's credit card to book a flight there from Florida. (Mature beyond his years, he leaves a check from his own savings to cover airfare.) In Livingston, Billy meets his father's new wife and his stepsister, both members of the Crow Nation, and becomes embroiled in his father's well-intentioned but dangerous attempts to protect wildlife from trophy hunters.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    I don't know if young adults know and read Carl Hiaasen but I think they would enjoy his novels for teens. I sure do. His adult novels are pretty much just as funny and the seriousness of the main character, whomever he or she may be, it is always searching for a way of helping nature or the environment survive. Whether it is a sixty year old in the adult books or a teenager in the YA books, the hero does not really seek retribution for stupid acts by some inconsiderate egotistic moron but someh I don't know if young adults know and read Carl Hiaasen but I think they would enjoy his novels for teens. I sure do. His adult novels are pretty much just as funny and the seriousness of the main character, whomever he or she may be, it is always searching for a way of helping nature or the environment survive. Whether it is a sixty year old in the adult books or a teenager in the YA books, the hero does not really seek retribution for stupid acts by some inconsiderate egotistic moron but somehow Hiaasen figures out numerous ways for them to get their due: embarrassment and maybe a slightly wicked problem for them to suffer through. This is Hiaasen's 6th YA adventure and it goes beyond just his home state of Florida. This one includes endangered grizzlies in Montana as well as a poacher of a panther in Florida. It includes family and in the long run it is all about family and figuring out what really matters and what you can let go. This tale was full of caring and concern about nature and about people that deserve our respect. I can count on Hiaasen lifting my spirits. He can get people to read and learn about nature and the environment by making them laugh in a clever and intelligent way. I appreciate his style and will continure to follow him. As an aside, I learned that Carl's brother, Rob, was among many other accomplishments, a journalist and assistant editor at The Capital, a newspaper published in Annapolis, Maryland. On June 28, 2018 He and five others were shot and killed at work at The Capital during the Capital Gazette shooting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Thompson

    One of the things I like about Carl Hiaasen is that his YA books are as good as his adult books. Sure, the language is toned down, the sex is left out, and the violence is milder... but the stories are just as good. Which means that when my son (who is now 11) says "Dad, you should read this book," I don't mind at all. I enjoy it. My favorite of the Hiaasen YA novels I've encountered so far is probably "Scat." Mostly because of the appearance of Twilly Spree. But this one here is good. Fun. Here' One of the things I like about Carl Hiaasen is that his YA books are as good as his adult books. Sure, the language is toned down, the sex is left out, and the violence is milder... but the stories are just as good. Which means that when my son (who is now 11) says "Dad, you should read this book," I don't mind at all. I enjoy it. My favorite of the Hiaasen YA novels I've encountered so far is probably "Scat." Mostly because of the appearance of Twilly Spree. But this one here is good. Fun. Here's my one complaint. About this and all the others, YA and adult. There's a strong environmental message. That's great. I like the books specifically because of that. But there's also an abundance of blind spots. In this book, we have eco heroes trying to stop rich hunters from killing endangered animals. Cool. We have Billy throwing some guys motorcycle into a lake or river or whatever because the guy intentionally ran over a snake. Cool Then we have Billy and all the others fishing, eating burgers and hot dogs, enjoying bison meat sandwiches. Report after report says the number one environmental problem we have is our addiction to animal products. Meat and dairy are killing us, individually (health) and as a species. We are trashing the world for burgers. Hiaasen has his heroes nobly chasing down people who litter, people who run over snakes, people who hunt bears, but seems completely blind to the bigger problem. Doesn't ruin the fun of the book, but it's very disappointing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Billy Dickens likes snakes, his mom likes eagles and changes houses and locations when they leave their nests and she has to find another nest. Billy's father left them when Billy was very young and hasn't seen his family since then. Billy finally finds his father in Montana, visits there and gets to know just what Dennis is doing. Carl Hiaasen really writes for two audiences, adults and young readers. They almost all center around environmental issues, mostly in southern Florida and usually turn Billy Dickens likes snakes, his mom likes eagles and changes houses and locations when they leave their nests and she has to find another nest. Billy's father left them when Billy was very young and hasn't seen his family since then. Billy finally finds his father in Montana, visits there and gets to know just what Dennis is doing. Carl Hiaasen really writes for two audiences, adults and young readers. They almost all center around environmental issues, mostly in southern Florida and usually turn out badly for those who are messing with it. This story focuses on endangered animals, a man who is hell-bent on shooting them, and the efforts of Dennis Dickens and his families to stop him. I've read just about all of Mr. Hiaasen's books and have enjoyed them. Even though I'm not a young reader (far from it!) these books are still good for us older adults and are usually not as violent and weird as the adult ones. But the bad guys still get their due "rewards." If you haven't read much of Carl Hiaasen's works and are concerned about what some individuals and corporations are doing to our environment, I would certainly recommend that you read some of them. I think you'll enjoy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Beth Mendelsohn

    I try to read every Carl Hiaasen book that I can find, both children's and adult. A coworker who knows I'm a big fan passed this book on to me. All opinions are my own. The main character, Billy, lives with his mother and older sister in Florida and tend to move around a lot. Mom likes to watch bald eagles in their nest and when that nest is destroyed, Mom goes looking for another, moving the family in the process. Billy doesn't know his dad who left when Billy was very young. Billy is not your t I try to read every Carl Hiaasen book that I can find, both children's and adult. A coworker who knows I'm a big fan passed this book on to me. All opinions are my own. The main character, Billy, lives with his mother and older sister in Florida and tend to move around a lot. Mom likes to watch bald eagles in their nest and when that nest is destroyed, Mom goes looking for another, moving the family in the process. Billy doesn't know his dad who left when Billy was very young. Billy is not your typical young teenager -- he stands up against bullies who pick on the defenseless. He has a cell phone but is not on social media. He prefers to be outside looking and capturing snakes than playing video games or watching TV. He once put a rattlesnake (mouth taped shut) in his school locker to keep other kids from going in, earning him the nickname "Snake Boy." Always curious about his father, one day Billy finds out where he lives in Montana. He buys a plane ticket and sets out to find him. For an outdoor kid like Billy, the Montana wilderness is perfect. He meets his father's new family and goes exploring the nearby mountain with step-sister Summer Chasing-Hawks before eventually finding his father. Billy and Summer find out the secret their father is keeping which brings them back to Florida. While I did enjoy 𝘚𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘳𝘮, I did not find it to be of the same caliber as his other juvenile books (𝘏𝘰𝘰𝘵, 𝘍𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘩, 𝘊𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘱). Adventure and humor are mixed together to make this a good read. I would recommend this book for 4th grade and up. #Squirm

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