Genre: Realistic Fiction/ Mystery
# of Pages: 371 p.
RAC Book: Yes
2010 Iowa Teen Award Winner
Scat begins with Nick and Marta in their biology class cringing that they will be called on by Mrs. Starch, who is the meanest teacher in the school. Instead, she calls on Duane and assigns him a major paper when he admits he failed to do the assignment. Duane (who’s nickname is Smoke because he has started a few fires in the past) storms out of class and everyone wonders if there will be any repercussions for Mrs. Starch singling him out in class. The following day, the class takes a field trip to a nearby swampy area. Around lunchtime they are evacuated due to a small wildfire, but Mrs. Starch sends the bus ahead so that she can return to find an inhaler that a student dropped. She never returned to school and no one can find her. Nick and Marta decide to investigate further in order to see if something terrible happened to her when she returned into the swamp. Meanwhile, Nick’s father returns from Iraq injured and the entire family must come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever be the same again.
Carl Hiaasen has once again created a story in which the characters are interesting and colorful and an environmental issue is discussed. In this book, Hiaasen addresses some of the endangered animals in the Florida area and the lengths the government and other protection agencies are going to in order to protect these creatures. The pacing of the story seems natural and the story is revealed in a timely and appropriate manner. Nick’s father serving in Iraq is something many students can relate to and while there is always hope for his prognosis, he does not return from war unscathed. Any fan of Hiaasen’s previous books will enjoy this one.