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The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (Snarkout Boys, #1)
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The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death

(The Snarkout Boys #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  805 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Walter and Winston set out to rescue the inventor of the Alligatron, a computer developed from an avocado which is the world's last defense against the space-realtors.
Paperback, 151 pages
Published March 1st 1983 by Signet (first published January 1st 1982)
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Ariana It's an expression that is sometimes used when a story gets to the point where it's so ridiculous that you can't even suspend your disbelief. It came…moreIt's an expression that is sometimes used when a story gets to the point where it's so ridiculous that you can't even suspend your disbelief. It came from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumped over a shark on waterskis that, to many viewers, was the beginning of the end and that the show kept on getting worse from there on out.(less)

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4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  805 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, favorites
I thought about it, and I decided this is my book that, if you don't like it, you are dead to me.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to unknown by: Sauk School library
This book was written in the early '80s. The following are among the long list of giveaways:

1) The word "retarded" appears twice on the same page.
2) The narrator's science teacher is casually anti-Semitic.
3) In order to find out what movies are playing, the characters need to use a newspaper.
4) One of the movies they go to see is Song of the South, which as far as Disney is concerned ceased to exist around 1984.
5) The main characters, young high school kids, all smoke.
6) Inside of theaters and r
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book in the same way that Rocky & Bullwinkle was a children's TV show, which is to say, not really. But if you're in the mood for a book about biology notebooks, late night movies, speeches in the park, disappearing uncles, Chinese butlers named Heinz, Commonists, rubber doughnuts, singing chickens, space realtors, wrestling orangutans (don't let them get your feet!), evil masterminded criminal who torture people by making them watch German movies, and - above all - avoc ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of all time...I read it at least once a year.
(I see no reason to ever change this review even though I read this book at least yearly...the review always stays the same)

As Jenne has stated in her review (best book review I've ever seen by the way)..."I thought about it, and I decided this is my book that, if you don't like it, you are dead to me." and I couldn't agree with Jenne more.

There is no book in the world that has had a greater impact on who I am than this book, no book
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Like many Pinkwater books, it starts off weird and gets weirder as you read on. The story: Walter Galt and Winston Bongo, they're two regular boys (sort of) who sneak out of their homes to watch late night movies. What could go wrong? They soon meet a girl, Bently Saunders Harrison Mathews (nicknamed Rat), who's introduces them to her uncle Flipping Hades Terwilliger, after which things steadily go off course.

From my perspective, the characters are great. Full of surprises, just reading their na
I highly recommend any Pinkwater books, but I listened to this one narrated by Mr. Pinkwater himself, and... well... he's my favourite.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
i found a bunch of daniel pinkwater novels in a used bookstore a few weeks ago, and have just now gotten around to re-reading them. i adored pinkwater as a kid, but hadn't thought about him for years - not because i stopped loving him, but because his books are these perfectly and transcendently weird marvels that seem to exist in a different realm of existence entirely, emerging suddenly to delight you page by page only to erase itself from the world as soon as the last page has been turned.

Matthew Tremmel
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think I already reviewed this once, but here goes again. Pinkwater tells such a unique story in such a uniquely quirky way, that no junior high student can resist. This is when I fell in love with this book, back when I was in Junior High and after rediscovering it about 10 years ago still come back to it every few years. This book informed, in part, my sense of humor, my love of the silly, and the appreciation of a dry sense of humor. This book is about two boys who sneak out of their houses ...more
Greg Kerestan
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in fourth grade when I read this book. I knew it wasn't a masterpiece then, and I know it's not one now, but it's daffy, hip surrealist fun. The best way to describe it would probably be "Murakami, but for kids/young adults." A slightly eccentric tale of a group of like-minded loner teens who sneak out after curfew to see midnight movies becomes something much, much weirder. The almost nonsensical adventure leads to an underground street, a park full of hipsters, an avocado-based computer, ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Just finished this as a read-aloud with my son, 11 yrs old. It's a strange book, about oddly realistic adventures (including the adventure of seeing a part of town you never heard before, or eating food better than that made in your family) combined with truly outlandish characters and situations and the peculiar habit of repeating every character's full name at every opportunity, no matter how absurd. My first time re-reading it since reading it to kids at the summer camp I worked at in my earl ...more
Sybil Lamb
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this aloud to my son, who is four months old, primarily because I needed something that wouldn't be overly emotionally involving (unlike, say, Corduroy the Bear). I noticed that there are some real clanger-type sentences in the beginning, but overall things got better and more smooth by the end of the book. Also, the subject matter (three teens, the world's greatest detective and his sidekick, and a professional wrestler search for one of the teen's uncle, a man named Flipping Hades Terwi ...more
This book is very silly. The beginning may seem merely middle-of-the-road silly, but then each chapter begins to layer on additional silliness until you hardly know what you're reading any longer, it's so full of orangutans and avocado supercomputers and alien realtors and operatic chickens. I suspect the author put a bunch of nouns and adjectives together into a hat and pulled them out and built a plot around the results. And then added more descriptions of food.

Best scene: The interwoven speec
Kris Dersch
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-family-thing, funny, ya
I discovered this book on my husband's childhood bedroom shelf a few years ago...a delight. If you have a young teen in your life, do yourself a favor and introduce them to Daniel Pinkwater. Wacky, snarky, and one of those delightful writers who has respect for his young readers. Sadly most of these books are out of print and only available in 4 and 5 book compilations which are somewhat daunting, but these hold up really well as stories and should find more readers.
Damian Stephens
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superbly intelligent and hilariously comic writing for "young readers" that I regularly recommend to adults...most of whom are in dire need of some serious SNARKING OUT! Read it, then read it again --- MANY TIMES!
Liz Kozek Hutchinson
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I may have been the only girl in the 1980s who had her father's permission to snark out. I never knew the same quirky and eccentric characters as those in this book, but I haven't stopped searching. This book is great for YA or even adult audiences.
Heidi Burkhart
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Pinkwater's zany humor. I audiobooked this title which was read by the author. He read a bit fast, but it is always a pleasure to hear an author read his own work. "Lizard Music" remains my all-time favorite of Pinkwater's books, but love them all.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-for-kids
a librarian friend said she loved it...a 7 yr old boy would, but I didn't
Martin Such
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Very fast in the talking and some times funny
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even more bizarre than I remembered! Lizard Music is next to re-read with its spiffy new cover.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
After reading "The Neddiad" and "The Iggyssey" and enjoying them both immensely I decided I needed to read some more Daniel Pinkwater. So I picked up this book. It was an enjoyable book; I liked it. If you like Pinkwater's writing, you'll like this book. I did notice though after reading three of Pinkwater's book; he has a very distinctive writing style.

Walter and Winston Bongo are two boys who are bored to death in school and decide to Snark Out. Snarking out means that you sneak out of the hou
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Not just any writer excels at a zany tone. But Pinkwater, who I have been remiss in avoiding until well into my sorry adulthood, is possibly the equal of my long-time favorite Douglas Adams. "Young Adult Novel", the first story of Pinkwater's I've read, was like nothing else I've read: a unique, slightly twisted story from a more than slightly twisted mind.

"The Avocado of Death" is more conventional; uh oh, hey, "conventional" was too good a word there, because the book is in part a comic riff o
Rachel Smalter Hall
When you're a kid, it's comforting to know there are grown ups writing books about radioactive stone fruit and gangs of villainous orangutans. I'm so thankful for this novel about three smartypants 15 year olds, bored out of their gourds in their crummy high school, who invent a sport called "Snarking Out" to save their sanity. Walter, Winston, and Rat "Snark Out" in the wee hours of the night to explore their metropolis of Baconburg and watch B movies at a seedy downtown theater. After a series ...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've read Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death several times, and once drove up to Chicago (before I lived here) to see Lifeline Theatre's stage adaptation—it's one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. This last time through I was listening to the audio version, available free from It's read by Daniel Pinkwater himself, which one of my friends remarked would drive her crazy. It's true that Pinkwater has a fairly gruff and distinctive voice. YMMV.

The story is a cl
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved Pinkwater as a kid and I reread him from time to time. This is probably my favorite. Pinkwater inevitably creates great characters with great names (not unlike Dickens), and fabulous sounding restaurants that don't exist but you wish they did. The tension is mild at most, the parents are a bit square and out of touch but in a benign way. He does all a great service by making nerds cool.

Of course he is nowhere near Dickens, but he is similar also in that sometimes his endings don't quite
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are many reasons I love this book, and just a few that I don't. I love the pages about their lame-ass school, Snarking Out, Blueberry Park, Captain Shep and his singing chicken, fun establishments like Beanbender's, Bignose's, and Ed and Fred's Red Hots, and meeting new people like Rat. They sparkle off the page and make you want to be part of the party.

What I didn't like was the end. Finding a giant intelligent avocado was not a very compelling motivation for the characters, and none of
Glen Engel-Cox
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, fiction, fantasy
The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death resembles Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars in its convoluted plot, but it seems much more grounded in reality, if a particularly eccentric reality, at least until the last quarter of the book. Its depiction of high school is stiletto sharp, but nothing as cutting as in Young Adult Novel. All the books have a jaundiced view of school, noting the common problems of cliques, moribund teachers, and the energy of youth (yes, that last is a problem--hey, yo ...more
Plumbdrumz 7
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Pinkwater's writing style really drew me in to this story and it was a great read. Everywhere their adventures take them there are always really good descriptions of the setting and i felt like was right inside the story. This book is like no other. Just plain and simple, its extremely quirky and has a unique charm. If you look at the cover...yes the book is just as crazy as the cover might suggest. There are some parts of the book that are genuinely funny too. Overall a really fun, great ...more
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
The first of the Snarkout Boys books. I was introduced to these in my early 20's by a friend, but sincerely wish I'd had them to read as a teenager. I began by reading them aloud in her basement room in the house we rented with two other roommates while she cleaned and went through her closet. And I fell in love. I wish I'd been young enough to "Snark Out" but being an adult living on my own and not in my parents home I guarantee it wouldn't have been as fun. Good fun stories! I have been a fan ...more
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Daniel Manus Pinkwater is an author of mostly children's books and is an occasional commentator on National Public Radio. He attended Bard College. Well-known books include Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Pinkwater has also illustrated many of his books in the past, although for more recent works that ...more

Other books in the series

The Snarkout Boys (2 books)
  • The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror (Snarkout Boys, #2)
“I changed his name after I saw this old movie at the Snark. It's called Nosferatu, and it's the original Dracula story. It's ten times as scary as the version you see on television. The guy who plays the vampire is really bizarre.” 0 likes
“The thing about Laurel and Hardy movies that you can't get from the chopped-up versions on television is how beautiful they are. Things happen exactly at the moment they have to happen. They don't happen a second too soon or too late. You can even predict what's going to happen—and it does happen—and it surprises you anyway. It doesn't surprise you because it happened, but because it happened so perfectly.” 0 likes
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