“The disaster days” Rebecca Behrens

ARC. Rated 5 stars ***** To be published October 2019. Sourcebooks.

The disaster daysThirteen-year-old Hannah is upset because her newly diagnosed case of asthma kept her off the soccer team and away from her best friend Neha. Meanwhile Neha seems to have found another best friend, which has become further irritating to Hannah. She also misses her architect dad, who’s away from their Pelling island home near Seattle on a work trip.

Though her mother isn’t sure she’s old enough to babysit, especially because she can’t remember to take along her inhaler to school. Hannah insists she’ll be fine taking care of her neighbor children, 5th grader Zoe and 3rd grader Oliver, for a few hours. Within a short time of her arrival at their home, a massive earthquake shakes the Seattle region, causing massive damage to the house, leaving Hannah without power, cell service or adult help.

Shortly thereafter Zoe badly cuts her arm and Oliver breaks his leg, while Hannah begins to suffer severe asthma attacks. As their food and water supplies dwindle, her asthma gets worse. Both children’s injuries become severely infected, so Hannah knows she’ll have to make tough decisions if they’re all expected to survive.

Behrens does a great job drawing readers into experiencing the children’s feelings of fear and hopelessness. Each chapter has enough peril and nail biting angst to keep even the most reluctant reader eagerly reading to find out what will happen next to Hannah and her charges.

My only negative to the book was the title. “The disaster days” doesn’t adequately encompass all Hannah and the kids went through in their almost four days of survival. A better title might be “Earthquake!” or something just as exclamatory.

Recommended for ages 10-14.

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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