Reviews for Flush
Booklist Reviews 2005 August #1
Gr. 5-8. Hiaasen's second novel exhibits some of the same elements found in his 2003 Newbery Honor Book: Florida local color, oddball adults (buxom and brawny), and a delightful quirkiness.But the sparkle that catapulted Hootinto the limelight isn't quite as brilliant here. Even so, there's plenty to like in this yarn, which, once again, drops an environmental issue into the lap of a kid. Righteous indignation, usually resulting from some sabotage of Florida's natural resources, has gotten Noah Underwood's dad in trouble before. This time, however, Dad's gone too far: he sunk a floating casino. Why? Its owner is dumping human waste in the water. Unfortunately, Dad can't prove it, and that's where Noah and his younger sister, Abbey, come in. The amateur sleuthing puts the sibs into some mildly suspenseful, occasionally amusing, situations, which, as in the previous book, share space with run-ins with a local bully (Noah takes some lumps but gets sweet revenge). An old-fashioned deus ex machina interrupts an otherwise believable setup, but Hiaasen still succeeds at relating an entertaining story while getting across a serious message about conservation and the results of just plain greed. ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
In his second children's book, Hiaasen offers a great action adventure without any of the didacticism that crept into Hoot. He sets this eco-mystery in Florida and peoples it with crooks, idealists, everyday heroes, and oddball characters. While the plot offers enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most serious adventure junkies, it's the multidimensional characters who give the novel vitality. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #5
In his second children's book, Hiaasen hits his stride, offering a great action adventure without a hint of the didacticism that crept into Hoot (rev. 11/02). As is his trademark, he sets this eco-mystery in Florida and peoples it with crooks (Dusty Muleman, who dumps sewage from his gambling boat into Florida's waters); idealists (Paine Underwood, who sinks Muleman's boat in an effort to call attention to the illegal waste disposal); everyday heroes (Noah and Abbey, Paine's children, who finally reveal Muleman's operation and validate their dad's noble gesture); and oddball characters (an old "pirate" who shows up throughout the story and a tattooed, hard-living card dealer). While the plot offers enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most serious adventure junkies, it is the multidimensional characters who give the novel its vitality. Hiaasen always shows rather than tells, and that showing creates individuals who are simultaneously noble and petty, quirky and realistic, decent and wayward. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 August #1
What's a kid to do when his dad's thrown in jail for an unsuccessful act of ecoterrorism? Why, do it better, of course. Readers first meet Noah Underwood in the visiting room of the Florida Keys jail where his father proudly waits for justice to be done to the owner of the Coral Queen, the casino boat that regularly and illegally dumps raw sewage into the bay. Hiaasen surrounds Noah with his usual cast of supporting characters: a stoic little sister, a hard-drinking bleached-blonde bartender with a heart of gold, various thuggish lowlifes and a mysterious figure who appears from the jungle to save the day. The whole here is rather less than the sum of its parts, as the plot takes some time to take off and Noah's first-person narration necessarily limits the loony heights (or depths) Hiaasen can attain in plumbing the psyches of his villains. But Noah's determination and sense of right comes straight from the author's heart, and readers will cheer as he and his cohorts scuttle once and for all the activities of the Coral Queen. (Fiction. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 June #4
Hiaasen's (Hoot) action-packed mystery set in the Florida Keys offers a colorful cast of dastardly villains and eccentric heroes, along with his signature environmental themes. Noah would be the first to admit that his father, Paine Underwood, "sometimes goes too far" in his campaign to save the environment, especially when he single-handedly sinks the Coral Queen, a gambling boat that he believes has been dumping human waste just offshore. This feat leads to a jail sentence, and while Mr. Underwood is behind bars, it is up to Noah to prove that his father had good reason to put the floating casino out of action. Noah's mission-to catch owner Dusty Muleman "red-handed" as he drains his boat's sewage-is not an easy task. Dusty employs a burly watchman and has connections with the Coast Guard and the police. Yet Noah finds some unusual adversaries in Lice Peeking, Dusty's former employee, who is willing to testify against his ex-boss for a price; Shelly, Dusty's blond, buxom ex-girlfriend; and an unnamed "old pirate," who conveniently appears whenever Noah needs help out of a tight fix. While much of this adventure (including the identity of the "old pirate") is predictable, Hiaasen creates enough interesting plot twists to keep the pages turning. Budding environmentalists especially will delight in the ingenious way that Noah beats Dusty at his game. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 August #1
"Hiaasen's action-packed mystery set in the Florida Keys offers a colorful cast of dastardly villains and eccentric heroes, along with his signature environmental themes," wrote PW. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2005 September
Gr 5-8 -Noah and his sister, Abbey, are more understanding of their volatile dad's latest arrest than their mother, who begins talking of divorce. Dad sank the Coral Queen , a casino boat on a Florida Key because, he alleges, its owner, Dusty Muleman, has been illegally dumping raw sewage into the local waters. Soon enough the kids begin trying to gather proof that will vindicate their father and put the casino out of business. The colorful cast includes a drunken lout named Lice who disappears before he can be persuaded to testify against Dusty, his former boss. His rough-around-the-edges girlfriend, Shelly, comes through, though, helping the siblings dump dye in the boat's holding tanks, which finally brings the matter to court. Dusty's son, Jasper, is a chip off the old block, threatening and beating Noah on several occasions until he and, later, Abbey are rescued by a mysterious stranger who turns out to be their grandfather, long ago thought to have died in South America, probably while involved in drug smuggling. As the tale ends, he's back to Colombia to settle old scores. The plot would practically disappear if any one of the major characters had a cell phone, but the environmental story is front and center and readers will be hooked as the good guys try to do the right thing. This quick-reading, fun, family adventure harkens back to the Hardy Boys in its simplicity and quirky characters.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA [Page 204]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2005 October
Hiaasen's latest plunge into the young adult literary world enables librarians to acquire a mystery marked by quality writing, humor, and suspense, but the book also avoids overbearing teen angst and does not smack of After-School-Special. Wise-beyond-their-years siblings Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, have formed a long-standing agreement that has Noah keeping an eye on his father and Abbey looking after their mother. Following the sinking of a casino yacht, Paine Underwood, Noah's father and a former fishing guide, who fearlessly challenges authority and is proud of his civil disobedience, is thrown in prison. During a Father's Day jail visit, Noah learns that the yacht's owner, slimy Dusty Muleman, had been dumping raw sewage into the water, ruining the swimming beach and endangering the breeding turf of loggerhead turtles, thus providing Paine's motivation for sinking the floating gambling hall. Exhausted by her husband's shenanigans, Mrs. Underwood threatens to end the marriage, providing added incentive for the intrepid teens to launch a hazardous plan. The son revisits the sins of the father when Noah-with steadfast assistance from Abbey-hatches a devious scheme to exonerate his father and prove beyond a doubt that the greedy Muleman really was dumping nasty waste into the bay In this follow-up to Hoot (Knopf, 2002/VOYA October 2002), Hiaasen's mastery of droll dialogue and entertaining descriptions prevent the large cast of quirky characters from falling into stereotypical traps. The skillful pacing of the somewhat intricate plot keeps the pages turning, making this extremely amusing book a welcome addition to all teen collections.-Rollie Welch PLB $18.99. ISBN 0-375-92182-6. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.