Published by Delacorte Press on July 16, 2019
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Action & Adventure
Source: The Publisher
Cover Artist: Michael Heath
My content rating: MG (Lots of danger, No romance)
A major hurricane is raging across the southern United States, and two unsuspecting kids are about to have the adventure of a lifetime! Perfect for kids who love high-stakes plots and natural disaster movies, and anyone interested in extreme weather!
A little rain and wind don't worry Alejo--they're just part of life at the beach. As his padrino says, as long as there are birds in the waves, it's safe. When people start evacuating, though, Alejo realizes things might be worse than he thought. And they are. A hurricane is headed straight for Puerto Rico.
Emily's brother, Elliot, has been really sick. He can't go outside their New Orleans home, so Emily decides to have an adventure for him. She's on a secret mission to the tiny island Elliot loves. She's not expecting to meet up with an injured goose or a shy turtle. And nothing has prepared her for Megastorm Valerie. Soon Alejo and Emily will be in Valerie's deadly path. Who will survive?
"Reminiscent of high-stakes blockbusters, the intense, time-stamped scenes switch back and forth between settings, trying to capture the overwhelming power of the natural world and the futility of humanity's attempts to control it." —Kirkus
A gripping, disaster-filled adventure of epic proportions, this MG book will certainly blow you away!
What Fed My Addiction:
- Realistic storm experiences. In the author’s note, you find that Nick Courage grew up in New Orleans, so he grew up with tropical storms and hurricanes. That shows in the book. The storm itself is so vivid, it almost feels like a character. And the build from calm (where many characters assumed the storm wasn’t really even going to hit) to mega-hurricane was all laid out in such detail that it was easy to imagine being in the storm yourself. Speaking of that build…
- So. Much. Suspense. I flew through this book in practically one sitting (I did have to stop for dinner with the family). There is never a moment of dullness in this book: the tension builds and builds and builds until it hits a crazy crescendo at the end!!
- Gorgeous writing. The writing in this book is by no means flowery, but every once in a while there was a description or a turn of phrase that sent a shiver of delight through me.
- The animals. The animals in the book were a fun addition. First of all, Emily ended up with a friendly turtle and duck that added comedic elements to the story, as well as some really sweet moments: what kid doesn’t love the idea of a snuggly wild duck! Then we get a few short chapters from the perspective of a bird who’s caught in the eye of the storm—I thought these chapters were incredibly gripping and I felt so sorry for the poor bird!
- Cross-gender appeal. This is the type of book that will easily appeal to both boys and girls. It helps that the two MCs are a boy and a girl, but there are also elements of the story that will capture the imagination of both genders equally (even those who tend to read along stereotypical lines: the cuddly duck, driving a truck through a storm, etc).
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Kids who make really poor choices (and little help from adults until it’s basically too late). Okay, these are kids, so you have to cut them some slack, but all three of them (Alejo, Emily and Elliot) choose to jump into extreme danger, and they make decisions that seem downright crazy sometimes. And only Alejo even attempts in any small way to ask an adult for help (but instead of trusting people he actually knows and asking them what to do, he only talks to a random cameraman, a stranger). Emily and Elliott’s mom isn’t super helpful or supportive, but still … Elliot is very sick, post-op cancer, and View Spoiler »wanders into the storm alone to find Emily. Again, instead of asking adults who are right there when he thinks he knows where Emily is, he wades through a dirty lake type thing (despite his open wounds). This is never resolved—at the end of the book, I was really worried for his character’s health! « Hide Spoiler. As an adult, I wished there had been a little more reasonable decision-making involved, but kids probably won’t mind this at all (and it certainly led to excitement).
- Turns into a big-budget disaster movie in the end. I loved the action and suspense, but in the end, I’ll confess that it all got a little over-the-top for my personal tastes (and turned completely unbelievable). It reminded me of a Hollywood disaster movie—you don’t watch those for realism but for the thrills. Still, while this wasn’t my personal preference, those movies are huge for a reason, and kids will certainly find themselves turning the pages!!
This is a fantastically exciting read that kids won’t be able to put down!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author
NICK COURAGE is a New Orleans-born writer (and aspiring baker and skateboarder) who splits his time between Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, where he lives with his wife and their two cats. His latest novel, STORM BLOWN, is now available to pre-order at your local bookstore and online!