Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Read Scary: Storm Runners by Roland Smith

One stormy day, Chase leaves his tools outside just before a storm. His dad goes out to get them and is struck by lightning.

One year later, Chase and his dad are following storms across the country. Although they spend more time together than ever before, even after the accident several years ago that killed his mom and little sister, Chase and his dad are farther apart than ever. Then Hurricane Emily strikes unexpectedly, and Chase must not only survive, he must do his best to help the two girls stranded with him. His dad has taught him every possibly emergency strategy, but will they stand up to gale force winds, rapidly rising floods, and Florida alligators?

After the brief setting of the prologue and a few chapters laying out Chase's new life and his arrival in Florida, the reader is plunged immediately into non-stop, heart-pounding action. The story alternates between Chase and his friends' desperate struggle for survival and Chase's dad's frantic efforts to find him in the middle of a huge hurricane while dealing with officials and reporters.

The story ends on a major cliffhanger; it's so sudden it's rather jarring. It felt as though Smith wrote a whole book and then the editor said "hey, let's make this a series" and just chopped it up. However, despite my dislike of series, I hate the massively thick volumes being churned out for middle grade readers even more, so I'll overlook the sudden ending.

Verdict: This will grab your reluctant readers by the throat and threaten them until they finish the story. I recommend waiting for at least the second volume and buying them together, since the ending is so sudden. Otherwise, you'll find yourself mobbed with desperate readers who absolutely must know what happens next NOW! I mean, really, how can you end a story in the eye of a hurricane with a leopard on the loose?

ISBN: 9780545081757; Published March 2011 by Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter; Purchased for the library

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