No, not a new middle grade book, but new to me and I really enjoyed it!
Roy, the new kid, is getting bullied on the bus, when he sees out the window a shoeless boy running...but where? Curiosity gets the better of him, and Roy follows the boy's path, only to become involved in something slightly dangerous, highly illegal, but sort of fun and for a very good cause.
Strange things are happening at the construction site of the new chain pancake restaurant that's going up in a small town in Florida. Survey stakes are pulled, the construction trucks' seats are missing, and the foreman is losing time and in danger of losing his job. Could it be juvenile delinquents or an eco-activist keeping the owls who live on the site safe from bulldozers?
When I first picked up Hoot at the school's Book Fair, my son told me that there was a movie by the same title. "It's about saving the owls," he said. In the end, I guess it is about owls, but what I read was a book about strength, friendship, loyalty, and, most of all, courage.
The author somehow manages to tackle a heavy topic while managing to keep his story humorous and entertaining. I especially love Roy, the main character. He is at once awkward as the new kid, and also extremely brave and mature in how he handles the school bully, that I want to pass this book along to any kid who will read it!
Synopsis from Publisher: Roy Eberhardt is the new kid--again. This time around it's Trace Middle School in humid Coconut Grove, Florida. But it's still the same old routine: table by himself at lunch, no real friends, and thick-headed bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. But if it wasn't for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the tow-headed running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And if he had never discovered the owls, he probably would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime. Apparently, bullies do serve a greater purpose in the scope of the universe. Because if it wasn't for Dana Matherson...
About the Author:
Carl Hiaasen has been writing about Florida since his father gave him a typewriter at age six. Then it was hunt-and-peck stories about neighborhood kickball games, given away to his friends. Now Hiaasen writes columns for the Miami Herald and is the author of many best-selling novels for adults, including Sick Puppy and Basket Case.
Hoot, Hiaasen's first novel for young readers, is full of his trademark satirical wit, revealing the good, the bad, nd the screwy state of Florida.