WooHoo! Hyped for the release of Evil Spy School, which is coming out in 2 days! So to pay homage to Stuart Gibbs, I've decided to re-do a review on his first book ever: Belly Up. This is the beginning of an award-winning author who made such a humble start. Tomorrow, I will plan to do a Spy School review, the first book in the Spy School series.
Summary: Teddy thinks FunJungle is as fun as a piece of moldy bread. Everything there is lame, there are so many rules, he just wishes he could have more excitement. And then his wish comes true. Henry Hippo is caught dead, floating belly up in his pool. He goes along with the crowd, assuming he just ate some trash that a careless guest threw into his mouth and doesn't think much of it. Until he makes the worst decision of his life, and decides to sneak into the autopsy of the beloved hippo. There he learns that Henry Hippo could have been murdered. It makes sense to him; most of the FunJungle employees, right up to the founder J.J. McCracken himself was livid with the hippo. When everybody tries to cover up the possibility of a murder, Teddy springs into action. With his investigation brings near-death encounters with snakes and tigers, as well as breaking tons of violations and hippo poop.
What I like: This book had everything a good mystery book needs. It had lots of humor, and intense moments, but it also had some interesting facts that made the book informational but still fun. I do like the fact that this book is down to Earth. No crazy monkeys gone wild, or random phaser guns. It was very realistic and had certain scenes that were very realistic, unlike other realistic books I've previously read. Also it had the normal middle-grade relationship with another main character in the story, Summer McCracken (J.J.'s daughter). I don't know why, but I have a strange taste for books that have a middle-school crush (if you read the books I posted about months ago you'll see my weird taste) I just think it keeps the book rolling with an interesting plot twist.
What I didn't like: *Stuart Gibbs, skip over this part, it's not for you :)* Yes, this is probably the least favorite part about being a blogger, but we all have to do it. There was two things I hated, not greatly, but it just irks me. One, I didn't like the non character descriptions. Yes, I know why there are know description, it's because you want the reader to imagine them with their own imagination, and I get that, but I would like to know from the author what the character looks like. I think if you included that, the book would be over the top. Another thing I'm going to be nit-picky about is the fact that there are no pictures. I know I'm going to get yelled at for this, but for me, I'd like a picture or two just to keep the tory rolling. I actually really like the style now, and I'm not asking for a ton of pictures, but at the start of the book, maybe a picture of the dead hippo, in the middle, the encounter with Summer, just something to keep things rolling. Other than that, this book was amazing!
Rating on the Scale- 9.9
Why? This book basically fits the role of any genre of reader, and does it well. Action/Mystery? Check. Animal/ Informational? Check. Middle School Romance? Check. It is perfect in almost every way. If I was stuck on an island, this book would be up there with the three things I would get to take.
Related Books: The Hoot Series by Carl Hiaasen, Poached and Big Game by Stuart Gibbs,