By Matt Berman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teens fight polluting casino boat owner in fun mystery.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The environment is worth protecting and defending, even if you have to break the rules sometimes.
Positive Role Models
The heroes, young and old, fight to stop a corrupt casino owner from dumping sewage in the waters of the Florida Keys. Noah and Abbey lie to their parents, sneak out at night, and take reckless risks. Their father is impulsive and reckless and has been in and out of jail. Their grandfather was involved with thieves and smugglers.
Violence & Scariness
Noah is beaten by bullies, and threatened with a gun and chased by a hired goon. A character is thought to have been killed. Abbey bites people hard enough to draw blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shelley admits to leading a drunk man on romantically to help the main characters with their plot to bring down a crooked casino boat owner. There's a discussion about a photograph of some lawmakers and exotic dancers being used for blackmail.
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Moderate swearing, plus a variety of euphemisms for sewage.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two teens drink and smoke a cigar. Patrons on a gambling boat, as well as other adult characters, drink to excess. A girl admits to giving alcohol to an already drunk man to help the main characters bring down a crooked casino boat owner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Flush is an environmental mystery by Carl Hiassen set in the Florida Keys. The ends seem to justify the means as the heroes/good guys, young and old, behave recklessly, often stupidly, and at times illegally -- all for a good cause: stopping a corrupt casino boat owner who's been dumping raw sewage into the waters near their home. There's moderate swearing and a fair amount of potty humor. A boy is beaten by bullies, threatened with a gun, and chased by a hired goon. A girl bites people hard enough to draw blood. Teens and adults drink; a teen smokes a cigar.
Where to Read
Based on 8 parent reviews
innaproriate for intended audience
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Funny and bittersweet.
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What's the Story?
Noah and Abbey's father is in jail for sinking a casino boat that he claims has been dumping raw sewage into the waters near their home in the Florida Keys. He has no proof, the owner of the boat denies it, and everyone in town thinks he's a crackpot. Their mother is going to divorce him unless he shapes up and gets his anger and impulsive behavior under control. So it's up to Noah and Abbey to prove that their father was right. But with everyone mad at their father, hired goons guarding the refloated boat, members of local law enforcement paid off by the owner, and the owner's son beating up on Noah, getting that proof looks well-nigh impossible. That is, until Noah comes up with a plan that involves a tattooed barmaid, a stolen motorboat, and 34 bottles of fuchsia food coloring.
Is It Any Good?
Part mystery, part caper, this environmental novel has action, humor, a bit of suspense, and some interesting characters. Flush is like a Hardy Boys book with potty humor. There are holes in the plot big enough to float a casino boat through, starting with why the owner is so determined to dump his bilges, thereby polluting the beach his own son swims in, instead of pumping them into a sewer tank. It's supposedly because the owner is a cheapskate, but pumping the sewage properly would presumably cost less than his hired goons, not to mention renovating his boat and paying $10,000 in fines. Bad guys are bad guys for no apparent reason, and good guys lie, steal, and vandalize, while their hearts are in the right place.
The resolution is unlikely, and there are some whopping coincidences, but if you try not to think too hard, it rolls along nicely and there's plenty of fun to be had here.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the fight to save the environment in Flush. What peaceful ways are there to protect the environment that don't involve illegal action?
Do the ends justify the means in some cases? is it OK to break the law if it's for a good cause?
Do you think the father's actions were justified? What other choices could he have made?
- Author: Carl Hiaasen
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Publication date: September 25, 2005
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 263
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: December 5, 2019
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