Genre: middle grade thriller
Length: 160 pages
Setting: just north of St. Petersburg, Florida, present day
Interest: We needed a new audiobook to listen to in our way to play practice. I looked on Overdrive for something short and available and this sounded interesting.
Summary: After Chase Masters’ mother and sister died in a car accident, his father starts a mobile company that goes to disaster areas to fix damaged buildings. There’s a hurricane about to hit St. Petersburg, so his father drops Chase and the tractor-trailer off in a nearby town. Chase is in charge of setting up base camp at the Rossi farm, which turns out to be the winter quarters for the Rossi family circus. Chase and Nicole Rossi go to school, but Hurricane Emily move faster than expected. The principal decides to send everyone home. Chase gets on the bus with Nicole, against his instincts. His instincts are proven correct when the bus goes off the levy road into the lake with three kids still on board. Chase gets everyone off the schoolbus, even the dead bus driver, and heading through the storm across the broken levy road to the farm.
Final thoughts: This was a pretty intense book, which made us want to keep listening. Just don’t think too hard about how realistic the kids’ reactions are. The book is definitely not appropriate for younger or sensitive readers. Not only do we have the storm threatening people’s lives, but we do see some death that’s a bit more graphic than I’d expect in a kid’s book. The length of the book might make you think it’s a good fit for younger readers moving into chapter books, but my guess is it’s written for reluctant older readers.
I’m not sure I find Chase a very believable tween. Even with all the training he’s had, what’s the likelihood a sixth-grader would have the presence of mind to get the bus driver loose from the seat belt as the bus is going underwater just after the bus rolled down the embankment and his front tooth got broken off? Not so much. However, the action in the story doesn’t let up, so you don’t really think about “would this really happen,” just “will they make it.”
While overall we enjoyed the story, I was very annoyed with the ending. Yes, the kids make it back to the Rossi farm, but the hurricane is still happening and some of the main characters are still out in it. By no means is the story done, and now you have to buy the next book to find out if everyone makes it. I know how series work and how publishers want to drive sales, but this book really felt like it ended in the middle of the action. My annoyance with the ending lead me to knock the story down a whole star on my Goodreads review. That being said, we immediately went out and downloaded the next book in the series, The Surge, so we could find out what happens.
Title comes from: Mr. Masters started a mobile business to repair buildings damages by disasters. In this case, they were running toward the storm (instead of away, like most people).
Reading challenges fulfilled: #67 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!