Stingers: A Sharks Incorporated Novel

Roaring Brook. (Sharks Incorporated: Bk. 2). May 2021. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250244635.
Gr 4-6–The second volume in the “Sharks Incorporated” series, adapted from a popular series for adults, finds Luke, who is white, along with Maribel and Sabina, sisters and Cuban refugees, in the Bahamas assisting marine biologist Doc Ford with studies of lionfish, an invasive species whose venomous stingers are injuring local residents. The three befriend Tamarin, whose mother owns the inn where they are staying, and with her uncover other invaders: turtle poachers, as well as real estate and tourism developers. This leads them to solve a spooky mystery involving a ghost, an abandoned mansion and a tragic, years-old love story, which ends up revealing the truth about Tamarin’s family legacy. Fans of adventure will appreciate the many close calls with sharks, as well as a dramatic “sting” operation. The text is full of facts about wildlife and preservation and survival tips, all infused with an appreciation and respect for local habitats. Luke and Sabina both have supernatural powers, but these aren’t as fully explained in this volume as in the first, so both the details and drama may be lost on readers new to the series. The trio’s relationship feels undeveloped and rote, and the writing is stilted: characters are often referred to as “the girl” or “the boy,” and Tamarin is repeatedly and clumsily referred to as “the local girl.” Readers interested in wildlife, ghosts, and shark attacks may still find this to be a page-turner. Recommended for purchase if the first volume was popular.
VERDICT This eco-adventure lacks character development and solid writing, but its mix of action and mystery has wide appeal for readers.

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