STORM RUNNERS (Series). By Roland Smith. For ages 9-12. $5.99 each (paperback).
Roland Smith brings his signature intensity to these three books. Each is about 150 pages in length and you won’t want to put them down until you are finished. You have been warned.
In “Storm Runners” we’re introduced to Chase Masters, a 13-year-old boy, with plenty of survival smarts. His mother and sister were killed in a car accident and his father was struck by lightning.
Soon after the lightning strike, Chase and his father hit the road fixing people’s houses after big storms. They thought they had seen and prepared for everything until they run into Hurricane Emily in Florida.
The storm hurls one disaster after another at Chase and two of his classmates, Nicole and Rashawn, as they struggle to survive the night and find their families.
In the second book, “Storm Surge,” our three heroes have safely made it through the night and managed to make it to Nicole’s family farm. Now they are facing entirely new dangers.
Nicole’s farm is the winter home of the Rossi Brothers’ Circus and the animals are loose. This includes the lions and a very nasty leopard.
Flood waters are rising, the kids need to get to higher ground and one of the circus elephants is about to give birth and can’t be moved. It’s another nail biter.
Smith pulls out all the stops in the final book, “Eruption.” The Rossi Brothers’ Circus has gone missing after an earthquake in Mexico and Chase is part of the rescue team headed south of the border to find them.
This time the gang faces more circus animals on the loose, the eruption of Mount Popocatepetl, landslides and much more as they search for the circus and Nicole’s mother.
The action and adventure offer nonstop excitement and peril. Even the most reluctant reader will have a difficult time taking a break from the story. The teen characters are well-developed and smart.
Although these books may be most appealing to boys, there are strong female characters that will keep girls interested as well. The only real drawback is the big finale. It’s a little too farfetched and neatly wrapped up.
Most young readers won’t let the ending stop them from wishing there was another book in the series. This is a fun and enjoyable series for summertime reading.
McGeath Freeman reviews children’s books for Lowcountry Parent magazine.