We’re back with our Florida pal Carl Hiaasen with Flush, a middle grade book about a pair of siblings who are picking up their father’s fight against the ne’re do wells who want to exploit Florida’s beauty for personal, financial gain.

After their father is arrested for sinking the Coral Queen, a casino boat that he accuses of dumping raw sewage into the Florida Keys, brother and sister Noah and Abby are determined to find the proof that will both get him out of jail, and the boat owner from poisoning one of their favorite beaches.

Like all Hiaasen books I’ve read, it pits the people who love Florida and its weird, wonderful beauty, against those who want to destroy it. And because it’s book for kids told from a kid’s (Noah’s) point of view, it also has the added element of being a child watching your parents fight. Their mother is threatening to divorce their father because his environmentalism is putting their finances at risk — and her general exasperation, even though she too cares for the land and water around her. It has the same kind of Florida strangeness and characters as Hiaasen’s adult books, but he does the kids stories so well because they’re funny but also realistic. As both a child of divorce, and someone who has spent a lot of time in Florida, including during college, I got it.

I recently had a not very nice person ask why on earth I’d want to read a book for kids. As a grown adult more than 20 years removed from being the kid watching her parents marriage crack, a piece of her is still in me, and she appreciated it.

Nail polish: Daul by Zoya.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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