The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

Published by The Blue Sky Press 

Summary: Charlie Cobb is enjoying an unusual display of the northern lights with the other townspeople of Harmony, New Hampshire, when a massive solar flare knocks out the power. Not even batteries work, so all vehicles and cell phones are gone.  The town has to come together to try to survive the cold and dark.  In the midst of the chaos, Charlie realizes his mom is almost out of her diabetes medication, and if he can’t find more, she may not survive.  Determined to save her, he sets off on a cross-country skiing trip to find a city that may have the prescription they need.  As the people of New Hampshire move into survival mode, their true colors start to be revealed, and a show-down between good and evil seems inevitable.  The final page describes solar flares in history and their potential for damage in the future. 192 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Charlie is a likable and resourceful character.  The suspense builds from the first few pages, with almost every chapter ending in a cliff-hanger.  Even reluctant readers will find this hard to put down.

Cons:  The villain, living on a well-armed compound complete with camouflage-clad sons and their subservient wives, seemed a bit out there.  Even for New Hampshire.

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