It isn't easy being TV star Shep Foster's granddaughter; though Ana Wright (12) is on her way to being famous herself. She can't walk around the zoo without being recognized by her young fans (thanks to that crocodile presentation), which happens a lot more, now that its summer. There is a lot happening at the zoo. Grandpa is putting the finishing touches on the Marine Adventure Zone and he wants his "Ana Banana" to be the star of the shark tank! Just when she's getting used to the idea, she gets some bad news: Ashley the Sneerer is interning with the zoo this summer, too. Why is she here? What's her motive? This can't be good. Swimming with sharks is easy compared to navigating life and friendship.
Ana shares lots of marine facts in every chapter, which offer a nice complement to the story [and are very fitting]. This is an excellent book for opening discussions with your middle school student or sharing in a book club. Discussion topics include assumptions and judging others, jealousy, friendship, family, and personal responsibility (to name a few).
11 and Up
8 to 13
Buy. This is a book that will be handed around your family and shared with friends.
I knew nothing about How to Outrun a Crocodile, but I absolutely loved How to Outswim a Shark. Ana has a great voice, her family relationships are authentic, as is her journey of figuring out friendship. She has an equally authentic cast around her (except for her grandfather's supermodel girlfriend). The word "wholesome" kept coming to mind as I read it.
Humor and great characters come together in this exceptional, laugh-out-loud story for preteens and teens. This is an excellent selection for reading aloud with mixed-age audiences.