Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Summary: As Hurricane Valerie, the “storm of the century”, approaches the Gulf Coast, two families struggle to survive. Emily lives in New Orleans with her brother Elliott who is recovering from cancer surgery. Her father is out on the Gulf working on an oil rig, and her mom is completely stressed out trying to deal with everything going on at home. When Emily feels pushed away, she retreats to an island in a nearby park and hides in a tree, unaware that evacuation orders have been issued ahead of the storm. Alejo lives in Puerto Rico with his uncle, and the two of them get separated during the evacuation there. Eventually the kids’ lives intersect, and there’s a nail-biting, race-against-time rescue as the storm moves in, even bigger and more powerful than expected. 352 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: Fans of the I Survived series will enjoy the slow build-up of the first half as the storm is still approaching, and the edge-of-your-seat suspense of the second half as the group stranded in New Orleans struggles to get away.
Cons: The females in the story seemed too passive, depending on the males to rescue them. Emily makes a series of bad decisions, leaving it to her sick brother to risk his life to save her. Their mom seems just about paralyzed by anxiety, and it’s up to the dad to sweep in from his oil rig job at the last minute and begin the rescue effort.