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BLOWN AWAY! by Joan Hiatt Harlow

BLOWN AWAY!

By Joan Hiatt Harlow

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: July 10th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0781-7
Publisher: McElderry

Set in 1935 in the Florida Keys, the first part of this episodic historical novel is low key—almost flat at times—and old-fashioned. The second half is dramatic, gripping and modern in its graphic depiction of 13-year-old Jake Pitney’s, his parents’ and his very young—and gravely ill—sister’s struggle to survive a hurricane that devastates their home. While some of the characterizations are thin, and the story elements contrived, this has a strong sense of time and place, and these are supported by an afterword and acknowledgments; the latter testify to Harlow’s extensive research about the real Labor Day “Storm of the Century.” Like the author’s popular Star of the Storm (2000), this first-person narrative laden with dialogue features an exceptional animal—in this case, a mule—that acts heroically to save young lives. (Fiction. 9-12)