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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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 5 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!

  5. 4 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Stover

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

  7. 5 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.

  8. 4 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.

  9. 5 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.

  10. 5 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.

  11. 5 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robin Berman

    Don't read my review unless you have read the book. I liked the 2 main characters- Billy and Summer. Billy is a brave teenager who uses his cleverness in dealing with situations and uses his snake skills to deal with bullies etc. I didn't know about the "sod farms" north of Lake Okeechobee. I also didn't realize you can find out where all the bald eagle nests are on the Internet. I enjoyed the native American inclusion in the story and didn't know about the Crow Nation tribe. I believe Hiaasen i Don't read my review unless you have read the book. I liked the 2 main characters- Billy and Summer. Billy is a brave teenager who uses his cleverness in dealing with situations and uses his snake skills to deal with bullies etc. I didn't know about the "sod farms" north of Lake Okeechobee. I also didn't realize you can find out where all the bald eagle nests are on the Internet. I enjoyed the native American inclusion in the story and didn't know about the Crow Nation tribe. I believe Hiaasen is mocking the rich men who go kill wild animals ie the infamous "dentist. " I hope they don't have poachers in real life trying to kill endangered animals and I especially love the Florida panther. coincidentally, just recently 2 panther kittens were hit and killed by a car in Southwest Florida. Also Billy is probably the only teenage boy who doesn't play video games! lol As per the typical Hiaasen book, the villain gets foiled by karma and nature. Quote "Nature always gets the last word."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elena Sotelo-McCrary

    I think this book is very entertaining. It's characters are perfect for all level of readers, especially ones who like to travel. So, for me it was an adventure, an animal book, an eco-friendly, multicultural. The characters were brave and had a mission, and the family units were interesting. I especially like how the author again reminded his reader to "get outside." His references to tech connection were particularly funny, but also he showed how drones could be useful, so at least he enjoyed I think this book is very entertaining. It's characters are perfect for all level of readers, especially ones who like to travel. So, for me it was an adventure, an animal book, an eco-friendly, multicultural. The characters were brave and had a mission, and the family units were interesting. I especially like how the author again reminded his reader to "get outside." His references to tech connection were particularly funny, but also he showed how drones could be useful, so at least he enjoyed his characters development with tech or the use of it. Do read and share with someone who is hooked to a screen. Bravo. I particularly wanted to read this as it came in the mail and I learned the authors brother Rob had been a victim of the newsroom calamity. Reading made me feel better even though I knew the author was hurting. Thanks for being brave yourself.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yapha

    Billy is known for his love of snakes, and while they are his animal of choice he feels compelled to protect all animals and also people who are being picked on. He often exacts his own form of justice on the bullies he encounters around him. It should be no surprise to him then, that his father thinks the same way. Billy doesn't really know his father. He left when Billy was four and Billy hasn't seen or heard from him since. But Billy is able to track down an address for him, and flies from Fl Billy is known for his love of snakes, and while they are his animal of choice he feels compelled to protect all animals and also people who are being picked on. He often exacts his own form of justice on the bullies he encounters around him. It should be no surprise to him then, that his father thinks the same way. Billy doesn't really know his father. He left when Billy was four and Billy hasn't seen or heard from him since. But Billy is able to track down an address for him, and flies from Florida to Montana to confront him. What he finds there is not at all what he expected, though it turns out to be better than he imagines. Full of wildlife adventures and close encounters, fans of the outdoors will enjoy this romp through the wilds of Florida and Montana. Recommended for grades 4 & up. ARC provided by publisher

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lonna Pierce

    Hiaasen has created another fascinating character in Billy Dickens. Snake-handler, lover of the wild outdoors, and unwitting protector of the underdog, he is not especially fond of small talk with humans. Dad left when Billy and his sister Belinda were little, and while he sends a check every month, he hasn't seen or spoken to either kid since he left. This central mystery occupies Billy's brain. Turns out Dad has a new Native American wife and daughter in Montana, and a pocketful of secrets to Hiaasen has created another fascinating character in Billy Dickens. Snake-handler, lover of the wild outdoors, and unwitting protector of the underdog, he is not especially fond of small talk with humans. Dad left when Billy and his sister Belinda were little, and while he sends a check every month, he hasn't seen or spoken to either kid since he left. This central mystery occupies Billy's brain. Turns out Dad has a new Native American wife and daughter in Montana, and a pocketful of secrets to go with everything. The book flits between Florida and Montana and centers on illegal plots to kill endangered Montana grizzlies and Florida panthers. Humor and oddballs who love animals and justice are Hiaasen's trademarks, and this suspenseful story is a successful eco-adventure in that mid-grade mystery canon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    SQUIRM is another great read from Newbery Medal winning author, Carl Hiaasen. This book is not one of his adult offerings. Subjects and characters are geared to upper elementary-aged students and above. Carl Hiaasen’s titles have a wonderful sense of place; quirky, very detailed, likable characters; dysfunctional family (and civic) situations; ecological themes; and tongue-in-cheek comedic circumstances. In SQUIRM, I especially liked the descriptions of Montana; the fly-fishing; river travel and t SQUIRM is another great read from Newbery Medal winning author, Carl Hiaasen. This book is not one of his adult offerings. Subjects and characters are geared to upper elementary-aged students and above. Carl Hiaasen’s titles have a wonderful sense of place; quirky, very detailed, likable characters; dysfunctional family (and civic) situations; ecological themes; and tongue-in-cheek comedic circumstances. In SQUIRM, I especially liked the descriptions of Montana; the fly-fishing; river travel and the eagles. I’m afraid that I am still not fond of snakes. I am a huge fan of Carl Hiaasen. I would read table saw ads if he wrote them. His adult books have sent me into wild spasms of laughter. He is an excellent, excellent author. Please check out all his tiles - for adults and kids.

  19. 4 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Denise Chojnacki

    Another book reviewed for my Kid's Choice awards. As much as I enjoy Carl Hiassen's books and how interesting his stories are, I won't be using this for the intended purpose simply because of the age range. This book is fine for Young Adults but there is mild cussing and a few more mature insinuations that will keep me from having it be on my list for tweens. That being said, the storyline was exciting although there is just a hint of repetition from Hoot with part of the story being about Monta Another book reviewed for my Kid's Choice awards. As much as I enjoy Carl Hiassen's books and how interesting his stories are, I won't be using this for the intended purpose simply because of the age range. This book is fine for Young Adults but there is mild cussing and a few more mature insinuations that will keep me from having it be on my list for tweens. That being said, the storyline was exciting although there is just a hint of repetition from Hoot with part of the story being about Montana and the beginning of the book describing a scene with a bully. From there it branches off into another great ecologically orientated read. Enjoyable to be sure!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Billy Dickens, champion of the underdog, would rather deal with snakes than people, travels from Florida to Montana in search of his absentee father and stumbles into a mystery. Like all of Hiaasen's books, there is an environmental theme. In this case it's more pronounced than ever with Billy's mother and her affection for eagles, and his father in the wilds of Montana. Billy himself spends most of his time outdoors, collecting snakes and punishing those who defile nature. The character of Billy Billy Dickens, champion of the underdog, would rather deal with snakes than people, travels from Florida to Montana in search of his absentee father and stumbles into a mystery. Like all of Hiaasen's books, there is an environmental theme. In this case it's more pronounced than ever with Billy's mother and her affection for eagles, and his father in the wilds of Montana. Billy himself spends most of his time outdoors, collecting snakes and punishing those who defile nature. The character of Billy is just a little too perfect, but like all of Carl Hiaasen's books, "Squirm" is entertaining and fast paced.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Burris

    This is an action-packed juvenile fiction chapter book. Billy lives in Florida with his sister, Belinda, and his mother. His did, divorced from his mom, is mostly out if contact with the family, except for sending monthly child support checks. When, on the spur of the moment, Billy flies to Montana to find his dad, he is drawn into his father's secret work. Does Dennis Dickens work for the government, or is he part of something darker? Hiaasen's latest children's novel is full of mystery and act This is an action-packed juvenile fiction chapter book. Billy lives in Florida with his sister, Belinda, and his mother. His did, divorced from his mom, is mostly out if contact with the family, except for sending monthly child support checks. When, on the spur of the moment, Billy flies to Montana to find his dad, he is drawn into his father's secret work. Does Dennis Dickens work for the government, or is he part of something darker? Hiaasen's latest children's novel is full of mystery and action. It's a delight for older elementary kids, especially for animal lovers. Of course, adults would enjoy the novel, too.

  23. 4 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).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    SQUIRM had me hooked from the very first page. When Billy Dickens pieces together his absent father's address, he swipes his mom's credit card for a plane ticket to Montana for a surprise visit. From there, his dad's whereabouts become all the more mysterious, disappearing for days at a time. Billy is an admirable and immediately likeable character-- witty, clever, with a deep love and appreciation for animals and the outdoors. I was immersed in this fast paced, almost borderline thriller advent SQUIRM had me hooked from the very first page. When Billy Dickens pieces together his absent father's address, he swipes his mom's credit card for a plane ticket to Montana for a surprise visit. From there, his dad's whereabouts become all the more mysterious, disappearing for days at a time. Billy is an admirable and immediately likeable character-- witty, clever, with a deep love and appreciation for animals and the outdoors. I was immersed in this fast paced, almost borderline thriller adventure that ricochets between the wilderness of Montana and Florida. Snakes will not be the only ones charmed by this novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joe Slavinsky

    Some time ago, Hiaasen turned to writing YA novels, and it certainly doesn't diminish his writing abilities. His stories are always pro-environment, with antagonists that rank somewhere between dumb, and evil, often both. There's also humor leavened in each book. Some more than others. This book is no different, and is very enjoyable reading. If you've never read any of his work, please look him up, and treat yourself.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    My first Hiaasen, I had trouble putting this one down. The story of a boy who leaves Florida for Montana to find his estranged father and get some answers, he finds a likable stepsister and stepmother, some outstanding nature far different from that of his Florida life, and a mystery that his skills as a fearless snake-lover might help to unravel. A fabulous coming of age with a satisfying ending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyla

    Probably the best of Hiaasen’s children’s books. Whereas the other books still feel like adult Hiaasen books with the protagonists switched with children, this one was more child-oriented throughout without losing Hiaasen’s signature style. No profanity, no adult situations, an audience-appropriate take on a serious subject (illegal poaching)—definitely a solid choice to recommend to upper grade schoolers and older students needing hi-lo material.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sidney

    Again, and I've probably said this a hundred times, you just can't go wrong with a Hiaasen book. Even his YA series is entertaining. This one, Squirm, follows in the same suit as the rest of his tree hugging, nature loving series. Billy and his mom and sister live in FL. His father, out of the picture since Billy was very young, lives in MT. Billy takes an unexpected trip to find his father, only to run into a lot of nature problems. Fun read but very much geared to Young Adults.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    More of a 3.5, but that’s only because Scat is my fave. Squirm was good enough and kids who like Hiaasen will enjoy it. I especially like the connection with the dad and the Native American connections and I think it’s the first time Florida hasn’t been the only setting. Also the drone is kind of a character too. Another good one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Doug Eymer

    The book was interesting at first and then more and more predictable as I trudged forward. The plot is built around current popular keywords and hot topics with a movie as a probable goal. I was attracted by the title and the book's cover, but apparently, it was written for a teen or even pre-teen reader.

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