In “Storm Blown,” author Nick Courage writes about a fictional hurricane and two of the children whose lives are affected by that storm. He’s not writing about just any storm, though. This is a once-in-a-lifetime storm, a storm that is fickle and doesn’t behave as storm experts expect. Because the story is told from many perspectives, including that of a storm expert, readers get the benefit of learning about not only storms, but human behavior.
Alejo lives with his grandfather in Puerto Rico while his mother tries to earn enough money in the United States to bring him to live with her. He’s content on the island, though, and he helps his grandfather at the resort where his grandfather works. At the start of the story, his grandfather has gone home, leaving Alejo to watch the excitement at the resort as most guests check out while a few intrepid visitors decide to brave the storm. He’s watching the news reporters as they brave the wild surf to film the storm.
Emily lives with her parents and brother in New Orleans. Her brother has been very ill, and her mother worries so much about germs that Emily’s not allowed to visit with her brother Elliot in his room. So instead of hanging out with her brother and wandering the zoo and parks in New Orleans, Emily decides to go out alone. She ends up on a small island that is accessed by a shallow lake, and she befriends an injured Canada goose and a turtle. She has no idea that New Orleans is about to be hit with the huge storm, and her phone quickly loses its charge, so her family can’t get through to her.
Other points of view include that of Silas, Emily’s father, who works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico; a petrel caught up in the storm; and Joy, who works at the National Climatic Research Center. It’s through Joy’s eyes that we learn about hurricanes and national disasters. Joy reports that there are at least ten natural disasters in the United States each year that cause over a billion dollars’ worth of damage. Those are called BDDs – Billion Dollar Disasters.
The points of view from diverse characters in diverse locations makes it impossible to predict how their lives will intersect, but with unpredictable storms and unpredictable children, anything is possible. Young readers will enjoy the edge-of-your-seat excitement, wondering what will happen during Hurricane Valerie. Older readers might remember Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes that caused terrific damage in lives and dollars. Everyone will enjoy the story.
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Delacorte Press, for review purposes.