YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

About Island Sting: Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, gun-toting thugs… In Angelo’s up and down world, Kenzie needed a life jacket and Dramamine.

Here is an excerpt from Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr.

The partial passage below from chapter two is Kenzie’s version of her first encounter with Angelo.

The stinging eased a bit, but as her vision cleared she couldn’t believe what came into focus….

He was about her age. Nice. He’d sounded older.

He crouched next to the deer. Wavy, dark hair fell across his bronzed, rock-star face.

Oh— Geesh— St. Joe’s Girls‟ Academy hadn’t prepared her for anything like this. He— Why wouldn’t her heart settle down? He was— He was so—talking. He was talking to her. Shake it off, Kenzie.

His fingers stroked the deer’s side. “She’s in bad shape. This girl’s lucky I was over here bait fishing.”

The deer wasn’t the only lucky girl.

Now, here is Angelo’s version of this scene which has NEVER been seen before and is not available in the book. The illustration is from novel. Enjoy!

Map of the island

Summer vacation and time off work. The ultimate combo. I fired up my skiff. Skimmed the bay, running wide open. Alone with the wind and water. Shut her down and cruised in to my secret fishin’ hole. Dropped my lines and waited for a teasing tug, sure I’d pull in a bad-boy grouper. No luck.

Tried all my hot spots in the channel, drifted a bit, but couldn’t even hook a grunt. But I wasn’t ready to be locked down on land, listening to other dudes’ fish tales. I was breathing free and lovin’ it. Figured I could at least net a mess of bait fish. That’s when the tarpon rolled. One after the other, right into the canal.

Tarpon! Awesome sport. Like catching lightning. I’d rig my fly gear and cruise into the canal. See if I could outsmart a big one or two. Perfect way to end the day.

Soon I’m tied up to a mangrove along the canal wall, holding my breath, eyeing the surface.

Kenzie falling down

There—a silver torpedo. I flick. Perfect cast. The fly lands softly on the surface. I close my eyes. Wait for the bump and—“Help! Somebody help!”—blasts my concentration all to heck. Someone’s yelling on the other side of a vacant lot. Something about being trapped in the canal over there.

I calculate. Quicker to hoof it across the lot than snake the boat through canals. I toss my long-handled net on shore, grab roots, and scramble up the wall.

Within minutes, I find some dopey, tourist girl hanging on a mangrove root with one hand and gripping a Key deer around the neck with the other. How do I know she’s no local? First, I know all the girls around here. Second, she thinks she’s holding a dog because she won’t open her eyes. They’re burning, she says. I’ll go blind, she says. Definitely city chick.

Okay, she’s no tarpon, but I have to fish her out of the canal. She simply needs to hold on to my net. I yell. She sputters. Finally she gets it. I walk along the shore, maneuver the net’s handle around the trees, and drag the drippy chick to the boat ramp. She splashes and flounders there while I wonder if she’ll ever stand and reenter the universe. Finally, she opens her eyes so wide you’d think she landed on shore at Hogwarts. But she was safe. The deer was alive. I was done. And I’d never have to see her again.

Dude, I was so wrong.

I hoped you enjoyed this! I shall have a mini contest now.


Comment below and tell me (Kate), what you animal you wish was not endangered/extinct and why you chose that animal. One lucky winner will win a necklace which has quite a significance.

Click to enlarge

According to Bonnie: Significance is that Angelo inspires a gift of a key pendant for Kenzie. Her mother gives it to her, but it was Angelo’s idea.

Contest ends 2/14. Edit: Sorry I had to end this contest early as Bonnie was on tour. Winner has been contacted! Comments will no longer be counted as entries.

It was fun having you on the blog Bonnie! Images copyright to Leap Books and Bonnie Doerr.


Comments on: "Island Sting excerpt and contest!" (12)

  1. The Panda. As a child I was a member of the Worldwide fund for Nature and loved the panda due to it’s sad looking eyes and beautiful fur.

  2. cheetah because that animals is so graceful and fast.
    Its the king of the jungle and those animals are fierce and meant to
    be taken care of. They are such precious animal. If it was up to me no animal would be in danger.

  3. I wish that the Mount Graham Red Squirrel was not endangered. They are adorable, and it’s sad thinking they might not be here some day.

  4. kay wilkinson said:

    Hi Kate,
    I wish the Yangze River Dolphin wasn’t extinct.I recently read ‘Last Chance to See’ by Douglas Adams and it was so poignant to see how hard they were working to keep them alive and breeding, and how we now know it was all in vain.Call me a soft touch, but I wiped a tear from my eye.My new years resolution was to make sure I regularly contribute to WWF or Friends of the Earth.This is a subject very close to my heart tbh.

    Thanks for the competition!

    I’m Kay wilkinson (chaoskay on Twitter) I’ll retweet your comp :O)

    • kay wilkinson said:

      I should also put ‘why’ so I’ve definitely answered your question. I swam with dolphins in New Zealand ten years ago. I thought they were the most stunning animals. Beautiful, graceful, playful, intelligent and just plain wonderful. That’s why I love them.

  5. It has to be the so cute & adorable Panda. I had a cuddly panda growing up & have been to see them in the zoo so many times. But sadly even though they are running breading programs the numbers are not rising enough.

    The hope was to try to breed captured Pandas & for their offspring to be released back into the wild sadly this is not happening and they are becomming more & more endangered & this scares me as there could come a time when in generations to come that the only panda kids will see are in old film footage & photos.

    So sad xx

  6. I’m hoing to say the giant panda because when I was little it was my absolute favourite animal, it still is come to think of it. I used to have close to 30 stuffed panda toys and probably 15 figurines (now all in a box somewhere) my bedspread had pandas on it, I drew pandas on everything (even though I sucked at drawing, and my whole family knew to only get me panda related things for birthdays/holidays. I would hate for the pandas to go extinct because it would be nice for my future children know what pandas are.

    Awesome contest by the way!

  7. Julie Kenny said:

    The Polar bear. I remember going to Chester zoo with the school and I was so excited to be able to see a polar bear – but it looked so sad on its own, such a beautiful creature – such a shame we have destroyed its habitat 😦

    Twitter @relisys222

  8. The cheetahs. Ever since I was little I’ve loved their fierce and caring nature. Being the fastest jungle cat was just a bonus. I read an article not to long ago about their bad habitats and the last thing I want is for them to become extinct, they are near and dear to me.

  9. Someone above mentioned the polar bear and I can”t help but to agree. You hear all the time about how the ice is melting and more and more are dying off because they can’t swim the extended distance. It’s very sad.

    Now i’m sad.. but hopefully people will start noticing something needs to be done before it’s too late and they are gone forever.

    Thanks for the contest.

  10. I would pick the Dodo (already extinct). It was such a trusting animal that when men went to Mauritus with other animals, they were all eaten. And it really looked beautiful, its a shame.

  11. I would pick Panda. Those are so cute and lovely and I would love to see them around. It’s sad that those beautiful animals are probably going to die all away because of our own actions.

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