THE MISSING MANATEE
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
AVAILABLE: hard copy, paperback, Kindle & Nook
Eleven-year-old Skeet Waters' day starts out less than perfect when he overhears his mother telling his father that it's over. To escape, Skeet heads out in his boat into the Gulf of Mexico. On his way back in he finds a dead manatee. Someone has illegally shot the protected animal. He goes to shore and reports it, but when he returns with the sheriff, the carcass has disappeared. Unable to do anything about his parents’ failing marriage, he focuses his energies on bringing the manatee poacher to justice. And on tarpan fishing with his local hero, Dirty Dan the Tarpan Man. Skeet learns that life is a lot like fishing. You can't look just at the surface. You have to look through it to see what lies beneath.
The reader is pulled into the story from page one. And while it's as much as a coming-of-age story, the mystery is solid and very real as told from the viewpoint of a boy growing up in a less than perfect world. Add in the fishing and boys especially will be drawn in-- hook, line, and sinker.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Grades 6-9
MYSTERY / SUSPENSE: Well paced
KID APPEAL: Strong