Swamplandia! was written by Karen Russell and was published in 2011. The protagonist is Ava Bigtree, who is only thirteen, and her family owns Swamplandia!, a gator theme park in the Everglades (which is in Florida). The Bigtrees are alligator wrestlers, and they make their living entertaining tourists and visitors by showcasing their alligator skills. However, when Ava’s mother’s health starts to fail and she passes away to cancer, the existence of Swamplandia! is suddenly in jeopardy.
Ava’s father, although he develops a plan for renovating and improving Swamplandia!, withdraws into his own mind most of the time. Ava’s sister isn’t interested in the park as much anymore after she met and fell for a man with the alias “the Dredgeman.” Worst of all, Ava’s big brother Kiwi, whom she admires for his strength and brilliance, has given up hope on the park altogether and leaves to work for the new rival park, The World of Darkness. In the midst of this chaos, Ava chooses to do her best to preserve the park, setting out on a brave mission through the Everglades to save Swamplandia!