Three kids become involved in an effort to thwart shark poachers in this middle-grade spinoff of White’s long-running Doc Ford series for adults.
Following an incident with his stepfather, Luke Jones, a white boy from Ohio, has moved in with his aunt, Hannah Smith (herself star of a companion to the Doc Ford series), on Sanibel Island. Sisters Sabina and Mariel Estéban, refugees from Cuba, have also recently arrived on Sanibel. The three kids find themselves working under Doc Ford, a white marine biologist who’s tagging blacktip sharks in an attempt to determine the cause of declines in the overall population. As the kids become more proficient, they name themselves Sharks Inc. and begin tagging on their own. However, thanks to the popularity of shark fin soup, poachers have found their way to the island to net the migrating blacktip sharks. Little do the kids know that exploring too deeply into the mangroves will lead them into danger and force them to work together in order to simply survive. The narrative puts a lot of focus on the three children and their personal histories. It does not shy away from difficult issues like losing a parent, abuse, being a refugee, and the conditions that may cause forced migration, but it examines how a difficult past can give strength and shape an intentional present.
This well-paced, exciting series opener will keep readers on their toes. (Adventure. 10-14)