Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today's title in the BOOK BIRTHDAY spotlight is celebrating its release day via Union Square Kids and is ready to take you on an adventure! Funny thing for me is that while I don't have to leave my favorite reading spot to take part, I also don't have to leave my current home state because all the STRANGENESS, all the MYSTERY, all the UNDISCOVERED THINGS NOW DISCOVERED take place in the land where reality is often times truly stranger than fiction...FLORIDA. Yup. Fondly known to tourists as the sunshine state, we actually get quite a bit of rain and less-than-phenomenal weather...but there is sun, and generally it's trying to fry you like an egg. We are also home to pretty much every thing you can be allergic to, so please...pass the tissues! Let us not forget the myriad of WILDLIFE that abounds, and that, my friends, is where this "story" gets a nice big jolt of that-could-probably-happen-or-exist from most Floridians...including this transplanted one. So, without further ado, let's get this scientific exploration under way as we head between the pages of today's book birthday title in the review spotlight...
Samantha San Miguel
Union Square Kids
About the book...
This exciting middle-grade adventure is Hoot for the Gilded Age—with scientific discoveries, secret plots, and surprisingly enormous fauna.
When his asthma lands him at a health resort in the wilds of Gilded Age South Florida, twelve-year-old Algie Emsworth is over the moon. The scientific treasure trove of unexplored swamps may launch his dream career as a naturalist. But even Algie is startled when he happens upon a brand-new species and her brood in the karst springs surrounding the resort. Algie quickly realizes he must keep his discovery a secret: a famous collector of exotic animals is also staying at the hotel, and the new species is threatened by his very presence. An apparent curse has also descended upon the hotel, bringing with it a deadly red tide. But when the pool starts filling with ink and guests start getting mysterious, sucker-shaped wounds, Algie must pluck up his courage to find the truth about the goings-on at the Grand Hotel—and save the new species from destruction.
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This is a story that has so many pieces going every which way, it can seem hard to catch at first glance, but the more you step into the story, the more you get into the characters, the more the adventure unfolds as well as the mysterious happenings...well, happen, the more enraptured you'll become.
The health resort Algie is venturing to is situated in the grand old southern state of Florida, as many are. The thing is, he's going there to help build up his lungs...and yet, as I mentioned, Florida has SO MANY ALLERGENS at pretty much any time of year, not to mention red tide that can be rather irritating, the humidity that makes it sweltering is pretty much the only thing it has going for it. The less dry the air, the easier for most asthmatics to breathe, so it's understandable that this is a place his mother sees as a chance for better health. Algie, on the other hand, is more excited about the chance to pursue his naturalist dreams, and follow in the steps of his hero, Professor Champion. Um, yeah...about that. Let's just say that one forlorn octopus, a bad attempt at riding a wild boar, and the discovery of a secret species later...and Algie has learned a hard lesson; not everyone is as they appear to be, and the motives of some are less than honest. The adventure that unfolds brings us new friends, new confidence, and more chances to just barely escape the jaws of death, but also the realization that sometimes the easy thing to do is not necessarily the right thing to do when all things are considered.
I so got Algie and his desire to rise above the limitations set before him. I, too, had bad asthma as a child, and while I've conquered it for the most part, there is an ingrained scare factor that takes over when you're not able to take a breath. Taking charge of the moment, and pushing through as best as you are able is SO HARD, but Algie handled it like a pro. It doesn't go away, and he still needs his medicine, but he's able to do so much more by book's end than he was initially restricted to...even his mum is surprised! Speaking of which, she had some surprises to reveal herself as the story progressed, even though it seemed she would be mostly a background character, so don't write the woman off just because she's enjoying the trip! Lest I be lax in mentioning our daring sister duo, Frankie and Lulu definitely make an impression, as they should with their dashing about, adventure bound with nary a care in the world...except for their father, the resort, and a particular new friend they made this visit round. They may be opinionated and have no qualms about taking the lead, but they are true of heart, and would never let a friend down...a great lesson at any age.
All in all, a grand story that will have readers on the edge of their seats, open young minds to the possibilities in the world surrounding...and hoping for a friendly discovery of their own, perhaps along the lines of Pulpy! (So cute, but mischievous!)
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About the author...
Samantha San Miguelgrew up barefoot in South Florida. Living in this wild, diverse, and exuberant state taught Samantha a lifelong respect for the natural world with both its dangers and delights. Working there as an adult taught her a love for the colorful personalities that crowd the state’s borders. And leaving it taught her that whether in Florida, Cuba, or anywhere else in the world, you can never be an exile if there’s sunshine in your heart.
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Special thanks to Jenny at Union Square & Co for the chance to bring this title to you as well as the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now, so click on over to your favorite online retailer or visit your local brick and mortar store today to snag your copy to join the adventure!
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!