I've followed Jess Keating's Creature newsletter and her books release via Tweeter. Keating has a degree in Zoology and her passion for animals and science really shows. So, this was one of those books that I knew I wanted to read just from hearing the title and seeing the cover. Plus, it has some cool animal science facts.
The story begins with Ana on the verge of celebrating her 12 and a half birthday with her best friend Liv. Liv has moved away to the land of Hobbits, and Ana is left wondering how she will ever make it in middle school without her. Ana thinks she has the answer to all of their problems, they just both need to wish her back home, when they've wished the same thing together before it has always worked. Yet, Liv has other plans and Ana is left to fend for herself in school. On top of that, her grandfather is in town with a film crew in tow and her parents plan to move into the zoo. How is Ana going to survive without her best friend? Middle school just got so complicated.
How to Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied met and exceeded all of my expectations. What really stood out to me was how Keating gave the feeling of middle school back to me all over again. Ana's voice rings so true and all the experiences she has (aside from living in the zoo) are things that someone in middle school could possibly experience. Be it friends moving away, first crushes, bullying, bothersome brothers and finding new friends. Keating even nailed the relationship between Ana and her twin brother Daz, so much so that I giggled and laughed at their playful bantering throughout the book. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on How To Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel and definitely feel this will be equally enjoyed by boys or girls.
My review copy was purchased.