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STORM RUNNERS by Roland Smith


From the Storm Runners series, volume 1

by Roland Smith

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-08175-7
Publisher: Scholastic

Readers will really feel blasts of wind, water and flying debris in this disaster tale—at least until the narrative cuts off in mid-howl. As (fictional) Hurricane Emily moves toward Florida and his father, an itinerant contractor specializing in weather-disaster prep and repairs, heads for its expected landfall, Chase takes up temporary residence at a “farm” that turns out to be a circus’ winter quarters. Hardly has he reported to the local school, though, than the storm makes a sudden turn and surge that strands him, along with classmates Nicole and Rashawn, in a wrecked bus on a crumbling levee. Writing in clipped prose and dialogue, Smith quickly plunges the three refugees into a desperate struggle to survive floods, darkness, howling gales and even an encounter with a wily alligator on the way to what they hope will be safety. Though the author’s practice of repeatedly cutting away to other characters’ points of view distracts from rather than tightens the suspense, and he abruptly chops off the narrative on a cliffhanger as the storm’s eye passes, Chase and his friends get repeated opportunities to show that they’re made of sturdy stuff. Since they are left sharing a barn with an elephant who is about to give birth as a vicious escaped leopard roams outside, readers are really going to want to find out what happens next. (Adventure. 11-13)