Summary from GoodReads:
Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.
They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .
It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . .
Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of his middle grade books (Hoot, Flush, Scat) and two of his adult mysteries. I knew when Chomp was released early in 2012 that I would read it. It took me awhile, but finally I read it via audiobook, and once again I fell in love with Hiaasen’s story.
Hiaasen has this ability to create these kind of wacky characters. They are always just this side of crazy, and yet they are so believable. I don’t know how he does it! That character in Chomp was Derek Badger, the star of Expedition Survival. And let me tell you, Derek is hilarious. He was definitely not someone I would ever want to be friends with, and definitely not someone I would want to work with. But he provided so much hilarity, and the predicaments he gets himself into are laugh inducing.
The protagonists, Wahoo and Tuna, are incredibly likable. Seriously. I want friends like them. You just know that they will do the right thing, always. Also, you know they will be there for each other. Hiaasen gave both Tuna and Wahoo their own distinct personalities. Actually, he gave nearly every character a distinct personality. Can you tell how much I love Carl Hiaasen?
Although this book has lots of humor, it also talks about some tough issues. It never gets too heavy, but it shows how some sucky things can happen in life.
And I have to talk about the narrator, James Van Der Beek! Yep, Dawson narrates this audiobook. And I have to tell you, he was perfect! His reading was just right for this book. I can’t explain it, but I can say that James Van Der Beek kicked butt at this!
Anyway, if you like middle grade books, with lots of humor, quirky characters, where the bad guy always gets it in the end, then check out Chomp. Actually, check out any of Hiaasen’s middle grade books. Hoot is probably my favorite, but Chomp is a close second. And my favorite of his adult mysteries is Skinny Dip.