Posts Tagged 'amputation'

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

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.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 276 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Jane, a fifteen year old girl, gets attacked by a shark when her and her family go to the beach one summer day. Despite the fact that there were many people around, the only person to help her was her older brother who pulled her out of the water. Jane ends up having to have her arm amputated, which is extra hard for her because she was a talented artist. The story is told through a variety of poems in which Jane expresses her feelings about every aspect of this catastrophe such as the tape of her getting attacked that was played over and over on the news, the numerous letters she gets from supporters, and even her own feelings about trying to draw again. Jane’s feelings come across as very natural and understandable for a young girl in her position. As time goes on her thoughts reflect her healing process.

This story is honest and compelling in the way it describes how Jane copes with losing a limb in her teenage years. There are many supporting characters who help Jane in her journey to recovery such as her best friends and a young boy who has recently lost a leg that she meets at the hospital. She has a strong support structure around her, but in the end it is up to her to take those important steps toward acceptance. The content is unique for young adult literature and should be very popular among young readers.