Posts Tagged 'natural disaster'

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Genre:  Futuristic realistic fiction

# of Pages:  327

RAC Book:  Yes

In this prequel to The Maze Runner series, readers learn what happened on earth that led to the events in the trilogy.  Mark and Trina were normal teens going home from school when the sun flares struck and they had to run for their lives from devastating heat, floods, and other disasters.  They ended up living with a few other survivors in a big office building until they deemed it safe to leave.  Eventually they found themselves living in a little village full of survivors from the natural disasters, but are horrified when they witness a plane land near their village and start shooting everyone in the town with a terrible virus.  Once again they are on the run to survive and they can’t help but wonder what will come at them next.  In order to save themselves they must go toward the people who spread this terrible disease.  What if they were already exposed?  Why would humans spread this virus?  Is there ever going to be a time when they feel safe and do not constantly worry about what tragedy could befall them next?

Fans of the trilogy will enjoy the prequel.  It’s a little slow to introduce the characters of the book so that the reader cares about what happens to them, but the book answers any questions leftover where the trilogy ended.  Also, there is a lot of action and plot twists that will keep readers interested.  This series feels very planned out and well-developed.

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Trapped by Michael Northrop

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Adventure

# of Pages: 232

RAC Book:  Yes

Scotty and his friends make the critical error of choosing to stay late after school one day to work in the shop classroom instead of going home during an early out.  The entire school had been let out early due to a snowstorm, but this is no regular snowstorm.  This storm continues to snow for several days and Scotty and six other students are left stranded in the high school.  Their situation continues to get worse as the snow keeps falling and they begin to wonder how much they can withstand.  Worst of all, they have no way of communicating to anyone that they need help.  Will they ever live to see the end of this storm?

This survival story is a bit reminiscent of Life As We Knew It, but in this instance the natural disaster is a blizzard instead of a meteor.  Scotty and his friends begin to realize how dominated they are by modern conveniences such as cell phones, Internet, electricity, etc.  and are not sure how to cope when it is all gone.  Plus, they also worry about their friends and family who are also trapped in this storm somewhere.  Usual teenage feelings of inadequacy, competition, and hierarchy are still present, but these do begin to break down as they must come together to survive.  The story is written in a believable way that will make young readers think about how they would deal with such a situation.  Adventure fans will enjoy it, even if it moves a tad slow at times.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre:  Fantasy

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  337

RAC Book:  Yes

Miranda, her mother, and her little brother Jonny are all excited about the upcoming event of a meteor crashing into the moon.  Meteorologists have been predicting it for weeks and believe people will be able to see it just by looking at the sky.  People plan big parties and everyone is outside to watch, but somewhere the calculations are off and the meteor has a much bigger impact than anyone predicted.  In fact, the moon is pushed closer to earth, which causes a string of events that end “normal” life on earth.  First, the tides begin to change and cause floods, tsunamis, and tornados.  Then, volcanoes start to erupt all over earth.  The ash in the air causes the sun to become blocked, which kills the crops, etc. 

Miranda and her family live in a place that is not directly affected by any of the natural disasters, but everyone in the world is affected by what has happened.  All of the grocery stores and restaurants close, the price of gas keeps rising and rising, the schools close, and there is no electricity.  Miranda tells the story through her diary where she depicts her family’s activities each day following this disaster.  They gather as much food and supplies as they can so that they can be prepared, but still find themselves eating as little as possible so that they can conserve.  They also spend hours on household chores such as washing clothes and chopping wood since they won’t be able to count on their appliances anymore.

As the story moves on, things keep getting more dire for Miranda and her family and there are times where they all doubt their survival.  There is a theme of hope in the book, but there is also always the possibility that they will all die.  The story is told realistically and accurately portrays how one incident can change everything about life on earth.  Some students may find it too realistic and therefore disturbing, but it is good for students to be aware of how we all depend on each other and what might happen if even one thing went wrong.

 


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