Rummanah Aasi
  Carl Hiaasen is probably best known for his Newberry Award Nominee title, Hoot, which was also made into a movie. Hoot combined a mystery element with environmental issues and humor. His other big hit, Flush, was in the same vein. I was expecting a bit different when I read Scat, but it seemed like a rehash of his previous two titles.

Description: Nick and Marta are both suspicious when their biology teacher, Mrs. Bunny Starch, disappears after a field trip and fails to come back. Mrs. Starch leaves a message saying that she is on a family emergency, but most people know that she really doesn't have any family, but does she? Nick and Marta try to uncover the truth when one of their classmates is suspected of being involved with their teacher's disappearance or are things just not what they seem?

Review: I was disappointed when I finished Scat. I was hoping for something new, but I was left with a story that was already done quite well in his previous two books. Once again we are served a mystery/comedy combined with environmental issues. If you replaced Hoot's owls with panthers, you pretty much have Scat in a nutshell.
  The mystery for me was too predictable and I pretty much knew the plot by the third chapter. The characters were okay, but forgettable. The only thing that I found hard to understand is why the students cared for their odious biology teacher. Why would they go through so much trouble for someone who only berates them five days a week? I also didn't like the idea of a strange man wearing a ski cap forcing kids to ride with him in a car either. Although he turns out to be one of the good guys, just that concept made me feel a bit uneasy. The pace of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a few humorous parts of the book as well as an off tangent side story of Nick's family which was nice to read but didn't add much to the book as a whole. Speaking of Nick, I thought he was just too good as an adolescent and I didn't think he was too believable. Overall, Scat is an okay read but not great.   


Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is mild language sprinkled throughout the novel. Recommended for Grades 6 to 8.


If you like this book try: Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, Flush by Carl Hiaasen, or Bloodwater Mysteries series by Pete Hautman
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