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Literature / Blue Iguana

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Blue Iguana is a young adult novel by Wendy Townsend.

Clarice Taylor, a high school junior living in Pennsylvania, is an Animal Lover whose sensitivity towards animal suffering sets her apart from everyone else. Her guidance counselor suggests that she do volunteer work for wildlife conservation over the summer. With her parents' permission, she signs up for the Blue Iguana Recovery Program (BRIP) and flies to Grand Cayman Island to work on the iguana preserve.

Blue Iguana contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The book was published in 2013 but set mostly in 2008.
  • Better with Non-Human Company: Joe rarely talks to humans, but he talks plenty to his many pet bugs.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Clarice screams at a boy who kills her autistic eight-year-old brother Joe's pet millipede Rod.
  • Character Tics: Joe taps his leg when he's really upset.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: While working with BRIP, Clarice is sometimes forced to do things that make her sick to her stomach, like trapping iguanas and holding them still for the ordeal of tagging them, but she knows it's for the survival of the species.
  • Does Not Drive: Clarice doesn't drive because she can't stand running over animals. Instead she rides her bike. She thinks that she might be willing to drive on Grand Cayman Island because everyone drives slower, meaning it's a lot easier to stop for animals.
  • Free the Frogs: Attempted by Clarice in science class, when Mr. Bloom is about to vivisect a frog. Clarice begs him to give her the frog so she can release it and just draw what he wants the class to learn on the board, but Mr. Bloom just tells her to go to the principal's office. Clarice shrieks, "I won't let you do this!" but when Mr. Bloom threatens to call her parents, she runs out of the room in tears, knowing the frog will die. She vows never to go back to science class.
  • Stress Vomit: Clarice has a childhood memory of watching her dad kill a snake with a shovel and vomiting in horror. As a teenager, she vomits after accidentally running over a frog during a driving lesson with her dad, and later when she finds the iguanas killed or mangled in an attack.