04-07-2010 04:22 PM
Before we start, I've got to say that "Runaway Storm" is a novel for teenagers that is completely vampire and wizard free, and that alone makes it worth buying for the thirteen or fourteen year old who won't take off the glittering make-up and keeps running around biting things. Recalling books that were popular when I was young, like Gary Paulson's "The Hatchet" or even Twain's immortal "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", debut novelist D.E. Knobbe has entered the squall with her bow forward and paddles flailing in a tour-de-force for the teenage adventurer.
Nate is a modern day fifteen year old; arrogant and angry at the hand dealt to him by his divorced parents. After his father abruptly cancels a kayak trip for business, Nate decides that it's the last straw. With some help from his friends he takes the 'Solace', a new fiberglass kayak that his father had planned on giving him for his birthday (Kids, just think of the Nimbus 2000 on water), and sets to sea alone to kayak along the Trincomali Channel off the coast of Vancouver. What's meant to be only a few day camping trip whisks Nate out on a journey that will take him to deserted islands, adventurous new friends, and a furious entanglement with some ruthless druglords.
In keeping with the attraction of a series, "Runaway Storm" is episodic in nature, so there are many smaller arcs that build into its larger theme of trying to get home. Along the way, Nate discovers his own strength and character, and overcomes his teenage arrogance, recognizing a need for self-sacrifice that so many teenagers are often blind to. Knobbe's writing is brisk, and leaps from the page in quick succession, making every page jump after the page before it. There is no flaw here, and you'll find yourself quickly reaching for the next book in the series.
Greenleaf Book Group hasn't mentioned when the next one will be out, but it should follow soon. The combination of realism and survivalism is a much needed antidote to a genre infected with fantasies that only promote a teenager's sense of entitlement. If "Where's my Edward?" is the catch phrase of the new decade, then D.E. Knobbe's "Runaway Storm" is the answer. (author will do skype school visits of 45 min for free see her website deknobbe.com Book review by Eric Jones bookreview.com
04-09-2010 09:01 PM