Chase Masters and his father are "storm runners," racing across the country in pursuit of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. But when the hurricane of the century hits, Chase will be tested in ways he never could have imagined. (goodreads summary)
Chase and his father never seem to stay in one place very long. After the loss of Chase's mother and sister, his father decides to take his building skills on the move to become the Masters of Disaster. When people need help in rebuilding their communities after a natural disaster strikes, Chase's father John and his helper Tomas' are there to assist. This time they are heading down to Florida in the wake of Hurricane Emily, predicted to hit the St. Petersburg area. Chase is used to relocating to different places quickly and starting new schools, never staying more than a few days. He will be residing with the Rossi family on their farm which is used as a winter haven for a travelling circus and several exotic animals. On Chase's first day of school, he figures out that the hurricane will change routes and will hit exactly where he is staying in Palm Breeze, instead of the St. Pete's area 40 miles away as predicted. Not believing him when he tells the school Principal they are safer to remain at school, Chase and the students are sent home on the bus. A sudden gust of wind blows the bus off its wheels with Chase, Nicole Rossi and a third student Rashawn on board. The three must fight for their lives to survive the hurricane's force and make it safely to shelter before it is too late.
This story is full of high adventure and heart pounding elements that will keep its' reader hooked with every turn of a page. I think it may also appeal to reluctant readers because it is a fast-paced, short read that is quite thrilling. I especially like books that portray characters who remain level headed and calm in situations of crisis. This survival story is not short on peril and the characters handled the many life threatening circumstances they came upon. From pounding hurricane wind and rain, roads breaking away from under them to crossing a flooded refuge full of alligators, it was hard to imagine that this story is based in one day's time. I found Chase, Nicole and Rashawn very knowledgeable and full of problem solving skills making them strong, likable characters. I also found myself learning about hurricane's, survival skills and that Chase's go bag filled with items in case of a disaster is a good idea. The ending was a bit of a surprise cliffhanger, which I did not see coming. Some may not like the book ending the way it did. But then again, I view it as a way to keep kids interested in reading and having another book in hand. The last chapter gave a little foreshadowing for the next book and I am looking forward to following the series. The second book, The Surge, is available now and the third, The Eruption, just came out this month. I think this is a "just right book" for grades 4-7.~
Title: Storm Runners
Author: Roland Smith
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Pub. date: March 2011, Scholastic Press
Hardcover, 143 pgs.