Wahoo Cray (yup, that's his real name) has an interesting life. His father is a wildlife wrangler, specializing in Florida's wildest: reptiles. And most of the animals live in the Crays' backyard. We're talking alligators, snakes, even raccoons and other "iffy" mammals. Critters, y'all. But things have been a little tough since a frozen iguana fell on his dad's head, and with his mom working a job in China for the extra income, Wahoo decides that it's worth the gamble when reality t.v. survivalist Derek Badger needs to use the Crays' animals for an Everglades episode. What he doesn't count on is Badger's crazy idea to go all natural. In the Everglades. With wild animals.
As mishap after mishap occurs during the filming attempts, some of them at the hand of Mr Cray's frustration for the stupidity to the so-called survivalist, Wahoo realizes this is a bigger adventure than he counted on. Plus, he's got a new shadow - and friend - in Tuna, the girl from school who has run away from her drunken, mildly abusive father. Badger is convinced that he really can survive on his own in the Everglades, and keeps pushing the crew to change their normally uber-scripted ways. Things really go off-script when he's bit by a bat, and vanishes into the night. What happens next is a swamp-wide manhunt, complicated by the arrival of Tuna's gun-toting father. It's a time that tests the stamina and merit of all involved, and produces one heck of a send-off for Badger's show Expedition: Survival!
Highly entertaining and more than a little ridiculous, Chomp is a fun, fast read. The characters are colorful, and the antics are ... well, totally worthy of a "behind the scenes" look at reality t.v. The Everglades details ring true, and having spent a lot of time in rural Florida, I enjoyed the atmosphere.
ARC provided by publisher for review.