Night of the Twisters
by Ivy Ruckman
My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Children’s suspense
Inspired by an actual event in Nebraska in 1980, when multiple twisters ravaged one town in a meteorological anomaly, 12-year-old Dan Hatch must protect his baby brother and tornado-newbie best friend Arthur, as both of his parents are gone when the tornado comes.
I read this book when I was younger, but only remembered a few details. I really enjoyed it even as an adult. It’s realistic to how kids were back in those days, off riding their bikes or swimming in the local water hole during the summer, especially in a smaller town like this. No cell phones, no video games, and then they went home in the evening to watch Happy Days, which is a little before my time, but I still appreciate the overall feel the author paints of life in the early 80s, when this book was written and set. I also thought that, while the descriptions of the devastation caused by the storm aren’t necessarily vast and detailed, they felt realistic to someone like me who’s never been in a tornado but has seen the aftermath in pictures or videos. And most likely toned down due to being a book for kids.
There were not a whole lot of characters, but I liked the ones that were around much. Dan’s feelings about his little brother throughout were pretty real for a kid his age who had been an only child until the age of 12. Arthur provided an interesting foil in multiple ways. The elderly neighbor Mrs. Smiley and her part in the story made me smile (no pun intended). My only complaint is that I would have liked to know how Officer Kelly ended up. But overall, the book was an exciting, suspenseful read that I think would be great for kids around age 10-12.
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!