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Summary: 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. This is the second book in the My Life is a Zoo series for young readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 9 and Up
Reading Level: 5.1
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: 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.
Pros: 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.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book that will be handed around your family and shared with friends.
Educational Themes: 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).
Notes: The publisher donated an advance review copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, family, growing up, series
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at barnesandnoble.com; and reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com.