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Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Swamplandia! is the name for the Bigtree family amusement park in the Florida Everglades. Hilola Bigtree was the mother and star attraction as the alligator wrestler, and her death throws the family into turmoil. The father, known as Big Chief, goes off in search of money to keep the family business open. Seventeen-year-old Kiwi leaves for employment at the competing amusement park in Loomis County. Sixteen-year-old Osceola runs off with the ghost of a dredgeman who has haunted the Everglades for decades. Thirteen-year-old Ava is left behind to take care of Swamplandia and its alligators. Karen Russell's debut novel has received positive reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "Swamplandia! is a crossroads where the wild and the tame, the spectacular and the mundane meet; underneath the hubbub of the fantastic lies a family of misfits at sea in their grief - theirs is a story that is as ordinary as it is heartbreaking."