The Surge by Roland Smith

We’ve been driving 40 minutes nearly every night to go to play rehearsal for a month or so now. I’ve found the trip is much quieter (and I have to reprimand the kids less) if we listen to an audiobook. We listened to Storm Runners recently and it totally ended on a cliff-hanger. In fact, I’m inclined to think it was only the first half of a book. Since it ended with so little resolution of the action, we had to listen to the next book immediately.

Published: 2011

Genre: YA thriller

Length: 144 pages

Setting: Florida, immediately following the events of Storm Runners

Summary: Chase, Nicole, and Rishawn have made it back to the Rossi farm, but they are still in danger. They are stuck in the performance barn with storm surge rising, the wind still blowing, Pet, the elephant, about to give birth, the generator about to run out of gas, and several dangerous big cats on the loose outside. Chase and Nicole decide to get more gas for the generator from the Shack and Shop, hopefully avoiding getting eaten by Simba, the lion, and Hector, the leopard. Turns out, Hector managed to get into the barn, so Mama Rossi and Rishawn have to hide. Chase’s father is working his way to the farm, bringing Nicole’s father and several reporters. By the time they show up, the storm and surge have abated, and Hector’s been recaptured. They’re just in time to see Pet give birth.

Final thoughts: This book really annoyed me. Chase made so many poor decisions, which were completely out of character, considering his father has drilled into him rules of action in a disaster. Yes, let’s go out in 150mph winds with a murderous leopard on the loose to hopefully get some gas for the generator. Let’s ignore the fact that you’re 12 and have already walked 12 hours through a hurricane, and should be exhausted and starving, and, oh by the way, are actually injured. And, of course, it all works out in the end with no one getting hurt. Even Poco the monkey, which we thought was leopard food, makes it in the end. There’s another book in the series, Eruption, but I just can’t stomach another book. At least all of the action was tied up this time.

Once again, I was struck by the causal inclusion of death in the story. Gertrude, the giraffe, is found lying dead outside, still warm, and Nicole has to shoot an ostrich that broke its legs. Not the book series for the sensitive child, that’s for sure. My kids really enjoyed the series, mainly because the action is pretty nonstop. As long as you don’t think about their choices (and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief that far away), you get lots of excitement and wondering whether or not they’ll make it.

Title comes from: The storm surge that came after the hurricane, which was mentioned but never actually menaced anyone.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #73 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!


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