Blown Away

Written by Joan Hiatt Harlow
Review by Mary K. Bird-Guilliams

Midway along the Florida Keys lies the island village of Islamorada. The original community was present in the early 1900s, but as described dramatically in this novel, it was completely rearranged, buildings destroyed, and several hundred people killed in 1935 during a hurricane. Young Jake is content with his island life, fishing and earning a little money to help out his family by working with a mean old man rumored to have a stash of salvage treasure. He befriends a new immigrant to the island, a girl with no parents left and a gift for rhyme, and promises to teach her to fish if she helps with his babysitting duty for his little sister, Star. The storm sneaks up on the characters, as weather does in real life, scary low barometer readings and mixed forecasts from the weather authorities about the storm’s path. In fact, Islamorada was landfall for the storm and even the rescue train may not be a way to safety. An exciting story with real history for 10 and up.