Skink--No Surrender

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Overview

Carl Hiaasen serves up his unique brand of swamp justice in the New York Times bestseller Skink—No Surrender.
 
A National Book Award Longlist Selection
 
When your cousin goes missing under suspicious circumstances, who do you call? There’s only one man for the job: a half-crazed, half-feral, one-eyed ex-governor named Skink. Skink joins 14-year-old Richard on a ...

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Overview

Carl Hiaasen serves up his unique brand of swamp justice in the New York Times bestseller Skink—No Surrender.
 
A National Book Award Longlist Selection
 
When your cousin goes missing under suspicious circumstances, who do you call? There’s only one man for the job: a half-crazed, half-feral, one-eyed ex-governor named Skink. Skink joins 14-year-old Richard on a breakneck chase across Florida, undaunted by lightning storms, poisonous snakes, flying bullets, and giant gators. There are a million places cousin Malley could be, a million unpleasant fates that might have befallen her, but one thing is certain: in the Florida swamp, justice is best served wild.

Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award for Young People's Literature

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  • Skink--No Surrender
    Skink--No Surrender  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2014

This rollicking novel takes place in Hiaasen’s Florida, a lawless place of unpredictable wildlife, bad weather, and characters as colorful as a crayon box. When 14-year-old Malley runs off with a stranger she met online to escape being sent to boarding school, Wild Skink—a charismatic and slightly crazy ex-governor of Florida turned eco-warrior, and beloved veteran of six previous Hiaasen novels—sets off on her trail, with Malley’s teenaged cousin in tow. The two get in and out of trouble across their swampy state in this first installment in a new series. Hilarious setpieces, a larger-than-life hero, and of course Hiaasen’s inimitable voice make Skink the kind of book you want to read twice. See all of the Best Teen Books of 2014.

The New York Times Book Review - Jen Doll
It's a quintessentially Hiaasen romp for a younger set, combining a message of taking care of the world with suspense, humor, a generous helping of Florida wildlife and much heart.
Publishers Weekly
06/23/2014
Rather than be shipped off to boarding school, Richard Sloan’s cousin Malley runs away with a questionable acquaintance she met online. Richard shares his worry over her fate with a strange, one-eyed man he stumbles across on a Florida beach. Hiaasen’s adult readers will immediately recognize Skink, the former governor turned eco-warrior, who first appeared 25 years ago in Double Whammy. Skink commandeers Richard’s mission to find Malley and tutors his young new friend on carnivorous gators, wild pigs, driving (Richard is still a year away from a learner’s permit but no matter), and how to prepare roadkill for human consumption. What happens to Malley during her abduction is never explicitly stated, but the implication of what a criminal is doing with a handcuffed 14-year-old girl rides uneasily alongside the kookier elements of the story. Still, there is much to enjoy. Hiaasen’s concern for the environment and its most vulnerable denizens is again on full display, and Richard has a memorable epiphany when he loses his phone in Choctawhatchee Bay: “Pursuing a desperate criminal through the wilderness drastically rearranges your priorities.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
When a teenaged girl goes missing, her devoted cousin goes in search of her with some help from a more-than-usually unusual ex-Florida governor known as Skink. Clinton Tyree, the highly eccentric former Florida pol and Vietnam veteran, has made a successful transition from Hiassen’s adult novels to a book for teens. Happily, this is a YA novel without pandering or plot reduction. The story would tell just as well for adults, and the potential for crossover is great. The book begins with every parent’s worst nightmare, a runaway girl who hooks up with an Internet predator, Talbo Chock. Determined to save his cousin/best friend, Richard hits the road with the oddest ex head of state ever to grace Florida, and that’s saying something. Skink, who left office ignobly, has become an environmental crusader, a unifying theme for all of Hiassen’s juvenile books. Together this unlikely pair goes on an adventure that is, in equal parts, outrageously foolhardy and amazingly entertaining. Cousin Malley’s stupidity at hooking up in a chatroom is never dismissed, but Hiassen keeps it non-threatening enough for even slightly younger readers. Lots of nature lore creeps into the hollows of the plot so that the book is both suspenseful and subversively informative. The odd couple pairing of short, skinny Richard with the scraggly but unusually resilient Skink is absolutely winning and brings to the book the literary trope of the mentor and sidekick relationship. However, Richard is no slouch in the resiliency department, putting to use his abilities as a hiker, boater, and fisherman while also fulfilling every young boy’s dream of getting an illegal driver’s license handed to him by a Morgan Freeman inspired state patrolman. Please, Mr. Hiassen, could we have more of Richard, rebellious Malley, and the most unique anti-hero ever, Skink? Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 12 up.
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Susan Redman-Parodi
Richard’s cousin, Malley, fails to meet him on the beach one night, and Richard has a bad feeling. While Malley is not a stranger to getting into trouble, Richard thinks that this time, she may be in over her head. He first encounters Skink when he is waiting for Malley on the beach that night. A former governor of Florida, Skink, a civil servant-turned-reprobate and passionate defender of the environment, has disguised himself in a mock sea turtle nest on the beach in the hope of catching a turtle-egg poacher. Skink proves to be a valuable asset to Richard in the quest to find Malley. She has run off with a person she met online in order to avoid being shipped off by her parents to a New England boarding school. Skink convinces Richard that Malley is in danger and needs to be rescued. After a disturbing phone call from Malley, Richard’s anxiety grows, and he agrees to enlist Skink to help find his cousin. The unlikely duo slogs through the Florida swampland to save Malley. Malley’s cryptic cell phone clues lead Skink and Richard into some tenuous situations that enable the reader to see Richard’s character grow. Skink nurtures Richard through these experiences. This is a comically charged plotline that highlights the serious issue of online safety. Hiassen’s characters are layered, and the evolution of his classic Skink (seen in other novels) is perfect billing for a young adult audience. The reader will need to make certain allowances for unbelievable scenarios; however, for the reader who is willing to suspend disbelief, this is a high stakes, action-packed comedy with a lot of heart. Reviewer: Susan Redman-Parodi; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
If you were pursuing your cousin’s kidnapper across Florida, you would want a man like Skink at your side. Maybe.Skink, as readers of Hiaasen’s novels for adults know, was once governor of Florida and is now a genially lawless reprobate who takes “eco-terrorism” to a whole new level. Richard first meets him completely buried in the sand on a beach lying in wait for a sea turtle–egg thief. That one extraordinary encounter turns into an unlikely partnership when Richard’s spirited cousin, Malley, runs off with a guy she met on the Internet in order to avoid boarding school, a joy ride that quickly goes sour. On the road with Skink, Richard develops a taste for roadkill (Skink won’t eat any other kind of meat), learns how to drive (Skink injures his foot saving a baby skunk from a semi) and reads Silent Spring (Skink is horrified Richard hasn’t encountered it in school). They follow Malley’s cryptic cellphone clues into a swamp that just may be ivory-billed–woodpecker habitat for a classic Hiaasen showdown. While this confrontation goes on a bit too long, that doesn’t diminish the pleasure of the developing relationship between Skink and the fatherless Richard, as trusty a protagonist as ever was.Hiaasen’s fierce love for the wilds of Florida, his fundamental commitment to decency and his penchant for the bizarre are all on full display in this, a read as agreeable as his hero is. (Fiction. 10-15)
From the Publisher
"The book itself is just a wonder, part love poem about the Florida wilds, part road-trip novel, and part thriller. The second half of the book is a nail-biter to rival Cape Fear. I love Hiaasen for adults. I love Hiaasen for kids. But most of all, I love this Hiaasen, which brings the two writers together in one book."  —Cory Doctorow

"Skink and Richard make quite a dangerous and entertaining duo in a story that careens perfectly from one crazy situation to the next. Reluctant readers (especially guys) will surrender themselves to this page turner. Cross your fingers that we haven’t seen the last of Skink!" — Booklist, starred

"If you were pursuing your cousin’s kidnapper across Florida, you would want a man like Skink at your side. Maybe." — Kirkus Reviews

"Skink is larger than life.... A presence to be reckoned with." — The Horn Book

"A high stakes, action-packed comedy with a lot of heart." —VOYA

School Library Journal
08/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Richard and his cousin Malley are best friends. But while Richard is pretty levelheaded, Malley tends to get into trouble. So Richard is only mildly surprised to discover that she's run off with a guy she met on the Internet in order to avoid being sent to boarding school in New Hampshire. Richard wants to go find her, and luckily he runs into what may be the perfect person to help him do just that: a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida named Skink. With Skink at the helm, the two set off across Florida in search of Richard's cousin. While Malley's character is not as fully developed as the others and the story seems highly improbable, Skink, a favorite character from Hiaasen's adult novels, is incredibly memorable. Whether it's diving in to a gator-infested river after a rogue canoe, getting his foot run over by a semi while trying to save a baby turtle, or hiding out in the sand to save the next turtle, Skink is always full of surprises. And like a cat with nine lives, one never knows how he'll make it out or what will happen next. One thing's for sure: readers will want to be along for the ride. Although the ending meanders, fans of Hiaasen's novels won't mind the detours one bit.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375870514
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/23/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 16,901
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He writes a column for the Miami Herald and is the author of many bestselling novels, including Bad Monkey, Star Island, and Nature Girl. His books for younger readers include the Newbery Honor winner Hoot, as well as Flush, Scat, and Chomp.
 
Skink—No Surrender is Hiaasen’s first book for teens and features one of his most iconic characters, the reclusive ex-governor of Florida now known as Skink.
You can read more about Hiaasen and his work at CarlHiaasen.com.

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    1. Hometown:
      Tavernier, Florida
    1. Education:
      Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

Interviews & Essays

Barnes & Noble Review Interview with Carl Hiaasen

The Barnes & Noble Review: What is your earliest memory of writing a story?

Carl Hiaasen: I can remember back to about four or five years old, writing in a small, lined notepad. But I can't remember the stories — I think they got thrown away with all my baseball cards when I went off to college.

BNR: When and where do you write? What does your workspace look like?

CH: I write at home, in the office, down in the Keys, and even in Montana during the summers. In each location, my computer screen and keyboard face a blank wall, away from the windows, so I won't get distracted. Mornings are when I do most of my writing; by about 2 P.M., I'm pretty much tapped out.

BNR: In Skink — No Surrender, you've pulled off an interesting maneuver: taking a beloved character from your adult novels and casting him in a book aimed at teens. Did your approach to Clinton "Skink" Tyree change in this book, or does he speak and behave as he would in a novel aimed at a more mature audience?

CH: I was worried about unleashing Skink on the youth of America, as he would say. But in the new novel he's paired with a very bright young man, who edits Skink's outbursts in the recounting of the story. Skink's actions, however, are pure Skink. That I can't control.

BNR: Skink is a character who travels with large quantities of books. Are you two alike in this way?

CH: Unlike him, I don't travel with a pile of books. Then again, I don't live out of a car, or under a bridge. He's a nomad.

BNR: What has been your proudest moment as a writer?

CH: Every writer's proudest moment is when you get your first book published by a real publishing house. In my case, it was a thriller called Powder Burn, set in Miami, which I wrote with Bill Montalbano, another reporter at the Miami Herald and a close friend. The next major high for me was Tourist Season, which was the first novel I wrote by myself. Very twisted and seditious, as far as the Chamber of Commerce was concerned. That was back in 1986. They're used to me by now.

BNR:Who are the funniest writers, in your estimation?

CH: Martin Amis can be brilliantly funny, even when the subject is bleak. Gary Shteyngart is hilarious. So is Christopher Moore — incredibly clever. I'd also have to include my friends Tom McGuane and Jim Harrison, who are still hitting home runs. Karen Russell makes me laugh, and there are passages in Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's blockbuster, that are just savagely funny.

BNR: You've worked for the Miami Herald since 1976. Does writing fiction and newspaper columns differ for you? Are there unique rituals, methods, and procedures, or is writing simply writing?

CH: Writing newspaper columns and novels both require an eye for small detail, the ability to tell a story with pace, and the discipline to sit down at the keyboard and work, even when you're not in the mood.

BNR: What makes Florida prime real estate for fiction?

CH: I've said it before: Florida is a 24-hour freak show. If you're a writer, inspiration rains down from the headlines every day. I've lived here my whole life, and I'd probably go into withdrawal if I moved somewhere normal.

BNR: What do you do to relax?

CH: To relax, I go fly-fishing. Being out in the middle of the Everglades is like going to church, for me.

BNR: Aside from your own, who are your favorite detectives of fiction?

CH:Travis McGee, Philip Marlowe, Spenser, and the Hardy Boys.

BNR: What haven't you done yet that you want to achieve as a writer?

CH: I want to finish the paragraph that I'm stuck on in the manuscript I'm working on.

September 24, 2014

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2014

    Skink is the Man

    As always entertaining and funny. A good read
    for everyone 14 and above.
    Hiaasen delivers again.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2014

    The best Skink yet

    What a great story. Funny, believable, and very well written.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2014

    Loved the new Skink book. I think any teen would get a kick out

    Loved the new Skink book. I think any teen would get a kick out of Hiaasen's humor and Skink's ingenuity (that part about the snell....yuck!).
    Maybe next time Skink and Jim will be back amongst some us older folks.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    I've missed Skink!

    Glad to have Skink back - Carl Hiaasens' characters are crazy and you probably would not want them in your neighborhood. Love all of his books and am anxiously awaiting the next one!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2014

    Loved the book

    Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite authors, love all the series about his weirdos in Florida.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2015

    Carl delivers

    The Governor is back! Carl Hiaasen is awesome!
    Thank You Hudak for steering me in Carl's direction!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2014

    Another Hiaasen winner!

    Skink wins again! A great story, with the normal underlying environmental message for kids of all ages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2014

    Vintage Hiaasen

    A good read about a couple of old friends & memorably eccentric characters. The two teenagers were a pleasant surprise.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2014

    Madilovesalex1@gmail.com

    Add me

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2015

    "Another Ride With The Governor"

    Combining mayhem and environmental concerns in to a humorous tale is what Carl Hiassen does.For fans of the elusive, drop out, former governor of Florida and his guardian angel retired highway patrolman, and the new characters who cross their paths, this is a great read. I don't know the state well enough to verify historical facts or casual references to locales, but Hiaasen is as entertaining as ever.Put some time aside; you may read it straight through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2015

    LOVEE ITTT!!

    If it was possibru, i would give the book 10 stars. This book was so good, i finished it in two days!!!! Thats how muck i loved it.

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  • Posted February 23, 2015

    A Young Adult novel featuring our favorite ex-governor Clayton T

    A Young Adult novel featuring our favorite ex-governor Clayton Tyree, now better known as “Skink”?  Just how does Carl Hiaasen think his going to accomplish this??

    Surprising well, in fact.  

    Some concessions have to be made from the typical Hiaasen novel aimed at the adult set.  For starters, no swearing.  (OK, actually, there is PLENTY of swearing – just “off-screen”.  We know this because our narrator advises us on multiple occasions that both Skink and the various supporting characters apparently have quite the potty mouths.)  Secondly, no subplots; the reader doesn't have to invest the time in trying to figure out how the various plot threads are going to tie together when there's only one to track.  And sex?  C'mon – the most intense we get in this novel is the recognition of middle/high school crushes.  (There ARE some questions raised about what the villain of the piece may have done off-camera, but these turn out to be groundless.)

    So, should an adult even bother with this book?  OF COURSE!!  This is the rare novel that appears aimed at BOTH YA and adult audiences, and successfully reaches both.  (Think “Rocky and Bullwinkle” or “The Simpsons”, where your kids see humor on one level, and you catch an entirely different layer.)  Hiaasen DOES invoke the first-person narrative common to YA novels, which is not something he traditionally does in his Florida satires.  AND (perhaps the one concession to the YA reader that did not appeal to me), Hiaasen doesn't hint around with his messages of Florida history and natural conservation; they're clearly stated by our hero / narrator.

    RATING: 5 stars.  Well done, and it will stick with me long after I've read subsequent books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2015

    Perfection

    This is about a teenager with a rebellious cousin named Mandy. Mandy's parents want to send her to bording schol, and she ran away with a guy she met online. Her cousin met a wild man and they search for his cousin. This is definatly a YA book. It crosses into some PG-13 territory. It is fabulous. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2014

    Hi

    Hi

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    Carl Hiaasen Never Disappoints

    Loved this book, as I have loved all of his books in the past. This gives some more insight into Skink. Can't wait for the next book!

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  • Posted September 26, 2014

    WOOOO HOOOO a new Carl Hiaasen book. So excited.

    WOOOO HOOOO a new Carl Hiaasen book. So excited.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2014

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