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Dark Water Rising

by Hale, Marian


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Gr 6 Up–Seth's family has just moved to Galveston, TX, and the 17-year-old is discontented with his life. His mother makes him look after his little sister, his younger brothers are completely annoying, and his father wants him to go to college rather than let him follow his dream of being a carpenter. Still, things get off to a pretty good start. His uncle finds him a summer job as a carpenter's helper, he meets a girl he likes, and Galveston is a fun place to live. However, on September 8, 1900, everything changes when a deadly storm devastates the area. This coming-of-age story describes how Seth struggles to reach safety, works for his own survival and that of others, and comes to terms with change and loss. Readers feel his concern over his loved ones during the horrifying hours when no one knows who has survived. Through his eyes, they see the destruction caused by one of the worst storms in U.S. history. Hale has captured well the essence of this natural disaster by using numerous personal accounts and journals and molding them into Seth's narrative. Fact and fiction are blended effortlessly together in an exciting read that leaves readers with a sense of hope. An author's note includes photos of the hurricane's aftermath.–Janet Hilbun, Texas Woman's University, Denton

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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From BookList, October 15, 2006, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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In early September 1900, the booming town of Galveston, Texas, was nearly obliterated by a storm that is now credited with killing nearly 8,000 inhabitants. Hale's novel brings the drama and post-traumatic stress of the storm to life and also paints a vivid picture of the city before the tragedy. Sixteen-year-old Seth is a newcomer to Galveston. He would like to pursue his father's trade, master carpenter, but his family has relocated to Galveston to give Seth and his siblings an opportunity for higher education. Hale makes clear the tension such family expectations create for Seth, and through Seth's eyes, gives readers a glimpse of race relations at the time as Seth works on a construction job with an African American youth. The subplots fit smoothly within the overarching story of the horrific storm and the difficulties of recovering both physically and emotionally from its devastation. Character development is as vital here as the historical facts, and because the pace is quick and descriptions are sharp and focused, the book will draw even reluctant readers. With some romance, a few appropriately grisly moments, and a very credible protagonist, this fine example of historical fiction has something for almost everyone.
FranciscaGoldsmith.

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