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From the Storm Runners series, volume 2

by Roland Smith

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-08179-5
Publisher: Scholastic

Family members separated in a Florida hurricane struggle to get back together, but the waters are rising fast and big cats are on the loose in this sequel to Storm Runners (2011).

Taking up the action exactly where the previous episode left off, stranded teenagers Chase and Nicole leave the (supposed) safety of the circus barn to fetch gas for the sputtering generator—only to run into an escaped lion and, later, a very aggressive leopard. Meanwhile, Chase’s father and a TV news crew face flooding territory and multiple other serious dangers as they make their way toward the young folks’ refuge. Though the characters show a remarkable ability to carry on conversations in normal tones of voice amid howling winds and flying debris, the action never lags. As the two parties draw toward an eventual reunion Smith’s habit of switching his very short chapters back and forth on cliffhangers becomes more a suspense builder than the distraction it was in the opener. Nearly devoid of references to previous events and closing on game-changing news that will be sending the central cast on an emergency mission to Mexico in the next episode, this slice of natural disaster isn’t exactly freestanding, but it definitely offers nary a dull moment.

A high-velocity page-turner, for all that it’s only a segment of a larger arc. (Adventure. 11-13)