Dark Water Rising

Dark Water Rising

4.4 30
by Marian Hale, Stephen Hoye

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I looked and saw water rushing in from Galveston Bay on one side and from the gulf on the other. The two seas met in the middle of Broadway, swirling over the wooden paving blocks, and I couldn't help but shudder at the sight. All of Galveston appeared to be under water.

Galveston, Texas, may be the booming city of the brand-new twentieth century, but to


I looked and saw water rushing in from Galveston Bay on one side and from the gulf on the other. The two seas met in the middle of Broadway, swirling over the wooden paving blocks, and I couldn't help but shudder at the sight. All of Galveston appeared to be under water.

Galveston, Texas, may be the booming city of the brand-new twentieth century, but to Seth, it is the end of a dream. He longs to be a carpenter like his father, but his family has moved to Galveston so he can go to a good school. Still, the last few weeks of summer might not be so bad. Seth has a real job as a builder and the beach is within walking distance. Things seem to be looking up, until a storm warning is raised one sweltering afternoon. No one could have imagined anything like this. Giant walls of water crash in from the sea. Shingles and bricks are deadly missiles flying through the air. People not hit by flying debris are swept away by rushing water. Forget the future, Seth and his family will be lucky to survive the next twenty-four hours.

Dark Water Rising is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Oliver
It is summer of 1900 and seventeen-year-old Seth's carpenter father has decided to move the family to Galveston, Texas, to take advantage of the building boom. He is also determined that Seth attend the nearby medical school, when what Seth really wants is to be a carpenter like his father. Upon reaching Galveston, Seth realizes it may not have been such a bad move when he meets an attractive young lady named Ella Rose and is able to get a summer job building houses. Seth's life seems to be settling in as he searches for a way to tell his father he has no intention of becoming a doctor. But everything changes on a single day, when on September 8th, the island city is struck by the worst hurricane in its recorded history. Seth and his coworkers struggle to return to their families and ensure the safety of their loved ones. After a terrifying night spent in a house that is knocked off its foundation by the storm, Seth and the other members of the community must face the devastation left behind by the catastrophe. A mix of fact and fiction, this is a stunning novel. In light of recent weather-related tragedies worldwide, it is a portal to the past that connects with today's current events. Seth struggles to come to terms with the devastation to the town and its people, even as he tries to shield his younger siblings from the horrors that he has had to witness. The story of the town's rebuilding is an inspiring one, as the community pulls together to help each other. Seth is the perfect character to follow through the storm; he is neither hero nor villain, but an ordinary young adult trying to make and understand his place in the world. This is an excellent addition to collections servingyoung adults.
It is summer of 1900 in Galveston, Texas. Sixteen-year-old Seth Braeden and his family have just recently left mainland Texas to live nearer his Uncle Nate and to take part in the massive construction effort that is going on in Galveston. Seth's father is planning on sending him to college to be a professional, but Seth loves working with his hands and finds a rhythmic satisfaction in carpentry. His greatest concern is how to tell his father that he does not want to go to college. Through his work, Seth meets Ella Rose Covington, whose father is a wealthy businessman living next door to Uncle Nate. Her cousin Henry leads a construction company building homes along the coastline and Seth works there for the summer. With him is Josiah, the grandson of Uncle Nate's African American servant. The two work side-by-side building luxury homes until Saturday, September 8th, when Galveston is hit by a destructive hurricane. Seth and Josiah are taken in by neighbors whose house shelters almost 50 people. They survive the storm surge and emerge to begin the horrific cleanup efforts. This novel recreates the first of the 20th century storms and gives readers a realistic look at an earlier time period and how folks recovered from their own storm of the century. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Henry Holt, 256p., $16.95.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1900, Seth Braeden's father moves his family to Galveston, Texas, "the New York City of Texas," with a booming economy perfect for a master carpenter intent on starting a new business. A master of her craft as well, Hale does a superb job of building the story, describing the architectural and natural beauties of the island city on the Gulf, then bringing on the deadly Galveston Storm of 1900, in which over 8,000 people were killed and 3,600 homes and businesses destroyed. Though as exciting as the best action and disaster movies, it's also a tale of friendships in unexpected places, the strength and courage of families and one boy's learning to walk in his father's shoes. Based on research and survivors' accounts, the novel's many historical details are nicely woven into the story, and a fascinating author's note details the rebuilding of the town. Exciting, tear jerking, and life affirming, this is historical fiction at is best. A good match with Hale's own The Truth About Sparrows (2004) and excellent context for discussions of Hurricane Katrina. (Historical fiction. 10+)
From the Publisher

“As exciting as the best action and disaster movies. . . . Exciting, tear jerking, and life affirming, this is historical fiction at its best.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“This fine example of historical fiction has something for almost everyone.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Fact and fiction are blended effortlessly together in an exciting read that leaves readers with a sense of hope.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Age Range:
11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dark Water Rising

By Hale, Marian

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Copyright © 2006 Hale, Marian
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0805075852

Chapter 9
I took Broadway to work Saturday morning. The north wind remained brisk, and the dawn sky took on a mother-of-pearl iridescence unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I stumbled more than a few times, foolishly staring at the sky instead of watching where I was going.

I turned south toward the construction site and soon found tide water over the tops of my shoes. Startled, I searched the faces around me but didn't see a flicker of concern. People still walked to work, trolleys ran, and horses pulled loaded delivery wagons same as always, splashing through the light overflow. I glanced down the street to the gulf where great waves broke on the beach, sending showers of white spray into the air. Storms and overflows might be a normal occurrence around here, but I wasn't sure I'd ever get used to it. It made me feel like the whole island was sinking into the sea.

When I got to work, Mr. Farrell was already there, standing on the fourth house gallery, looking out over the beach. I climbed up beside him, and he pointed toward the streetcar trestle strung across the surf. Swells crashed against pilings and across rails, hurling plumes of white spray as high as telephone poles. Further down, spent waves had already reached the Midway. Fingers of foam raced around the ramshackle restaurants and shops as if searching for something to drag back into the sea.

We watched till everyone arrived, then Mr. Farrell put us to trimming doors and windows inside the first two houses. Concentrating on work wasn't easy, though. Even Zach had a hard time with such a spectacle going on outside.

Streets and yards around us filled with rain and tidewater, but still, people trickled in from trolleys, buggies, and on foot. Men in suits, dressed for work, and women gripping the hands of children gathered to see a sight as grand as fireworks on the Fourth of July.

As the morning wore on, the storm increased, and so did the crowds. Streetcars stopped three blocks short of the beach, no longer venturing out over the wild surf, and still people braved the rising water to see the show. Some of them even wore their bathing suits.

Skies darkened. Wind stripped umbrellas inside out and blew hats tumbling toward the surf. A driving rain soaked sightseers' backs and peppered the north side of the house where I'd been working, striking like pebbles against windows and siding.

I heard cries as waves picked up the two-wheeled, portable bathhouses and flung them into the row of flimsy buildings that made up the Midway, showering brightly painted pieces of wood over the roofs. Further down, swells rolled in, one upon the other, exploding against creosoted pilings under the Pagoda and slamming against floor joists with such force I could feel the gallery railing shudder beneath my hands. 

Mr. Farrell shouted from the house next to us. "Looks like it might get worse before it gets better. You boys best get on home."

Zach nodded and waved. We dropped our tools inside the unfinished parlor and headed out into the rain.

"You live pretty far out, don't you, Seth?" Zach asked. "You're welcome to come wait out the storm with us if you want."

I shook my head. "Thanks, but I'll feel better knowing that things are okay at home."

 "I guess I would, too." He held up a hand. "Monday morning, then."
I nodded. "I'll be here."

We all struck out in almost knee-deep water, headed toward higher ground--Zach with Frank and Charlie, and Henry with Mr. Farrell. Josiah and I trudged behind them but stopped when we heard excited yells behind us. We turned in time to see the Midway buildings lift on the waves and crash to the ground like kindling. Josiah gave me a stunned look as debris washed toward the shocked crowds. Many people turned to leave, but some stayed on, their faces lit with excitement.

"Let's go," I yelled over the sound of the surf. Josiah nodded, and we bent our heads into the rain, wading toward the higher ground on Broadway where I hoped we'd have an easier time of getting home.

Rising water and high curbs had turned the south streets into rushing, brown rivers, but buggies and drays still moved along them as if overflows were a daily occurrence. Kids floated by on homemade rafts or paddled along in washtubs, bumping into broken tree limbs and odd bits of bobbing lumber. They laughed while wet hair whipped around their faces.
Everywhere I looked I saw tiny green frogs, thousands of them, covering floating debris, sitting on fence posts and porches, and even riding astride a horse's back. 

We waded out of the water just one block shy of Broadway and made our way west toward Thirty-Fifth Street. It wasn't long before I saw whole families struggling in from the beach roads just like we had, leaving their homes for higher ground. They carried clothing, food, and framed photographs, and ahead of them, they pushed muddy kids hugging kittens and puppies to their chests. 

 "The bay and the gulf have joined!" one of them yelled, pointing to the street.

I looked and saw water rushing in from Galveston Bay on one side and from the gulf on the other. The two seas met in the middle of Broadway, swirling over the wooden paving blocks, and I couldn't help but shudder at the sight. All of Galveston appeared to be under water.

When we reached Twenty-Fourth Street, I looked south toward the gulf, trying to keep an eye on the stalking sea. Wild waves rose up like a great hand and wrenched loose the Pagoda's long staircase, sending planks tumbling through the air. With horror I watched the end of one twin building sway and dip into the surf.

I yelled at Josiah, but my words disappeared on the wind. I grabbed his arm, pointed, and we stood together, shoulder to shoulder, mouths gaping, watching the impossible.

Like a wounded Goliath, the great bathhouse shuddered, folded in on its long legs, and collapsed into the sea.  
Copyright 2006 Marian Hale
This text is from an uncorrected proof


Excerpted from Dark Water Rising by Hale, Marian Copyright © 2006 by Hale, Marian. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marian Hale is the author of acclaimed historical novels for young adults, including The Truth About Sparrows and The Goodbye Season. She lives with her husband, daughter, and grandbabies on the Texas Coast.

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Dark Water Rising 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
MightyB More than 1 year ago
This book is great. At first I was not interested, but I continued to read and I realized I couldn't put it down. It turns out being a little sad. I realized though that life is life and it always has some reason whether it means death or surving in a floating house. This is an action book. This book takes place in Galveston, Texasin the twentieth centry. A boy named Seth wants to be a carpender, but his father disagree's. His father wants him to go to a good college to get a good job. Soon a storm or as I would say a huricane comes and destroys everything. Only a few people and houses survive. The railway is destroyed and the people who did survive are running out of food and fresh clean water. The only smell in the air is mud and the smoke from the burning of the dead. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the year 1900 and sixteen year¿old Seth¿s father has moved the family to Galveston, Texas to take advantage of the building boom and for Seth to attend the local medical school. Only problem is Seth wants to follow his father and become a carpenter. After arriving in Galveston Seth reconsiders the move, as things are looking up. His Uncle Nate secures him a summer job as a carpenter he befriends a fellow carpenter, an African American named Josiah, and meets a beautiful young lady, Ella Rose. Then the unthinkable happens, the worst hurricane to ever hit Galveston strikes. Seth and Josiah are forced to take refuge with neighbors not knowing if their families are safe. After the storm passes Seth and Josiah are faced with horrifying tragedy as they work their way to Uncle Nate¿s to find their families. The story integrates fact with fiction in a way the reader can¿t separate the two. What a wonderful job of giving actual historical accounts of the destruction, hope, and rebuilding of the city of Galveston. The reader is taken through the tears, exhaustion, and the remarkable strength the people of Galveston displayed during the aftermath of such devastation. I highly recommend this book for ages 12 and up.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This book has turned out to be so good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By far one of the best Historical Fiction books I have ever read.  Starts a little slow but then it's a can't put it down book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good read and i did not want to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dove's Wing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes it is a great book but it is gruesome and many parts are inapropiate
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book . Boring at first , kept reading , AMAZING !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book and hope there are more books of this high level of interesting-ness. ;p great job to the author for such a captivating read!
Totavi More than 1 year ago
Pro-yes, the portion of the book detailing the story and it's aftermath make fascinating reading. The historical research and amount of detail is gripping. However, this level of detail is too much for younger kids. My school is requiring this for 7th grade but I wouldn't let my son go to a movie which contained the disturbing and graphic images of the many dead and dying. I would say it is suited to some one of the age of the main character- 16 or 17 . My other beef is that the plot elements are very thin. The characters are not interesting. Yeah, yeah yeah the main character becomes close to an African American. But it is so stock and shallow and the "I wanna be a carpenter" plot line is contrived. If the characters were inspired, then I can see it being worth wading through the carnage, but readers interested in the great storm should maybe seek out the historical accounts on which this book is based instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a historical fiction about The Galveston Storm. I liked it, but its a little sad and gruesome. I have always lived near Galveston and I beleive it does not include all that it should?
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PrairieKerri More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of this book before but was at the local library searching for books to share with my kids during our unit study on hurricanes. I found this historical fiction novel in the young adults section....not having a clue if my young children would even stick with it as I read aloud. After the first chapter, my kids were literally begging me to read more...I was tired of reading aloud but couldn't hardly but it down myself. All in all it took 3 days to read through with my small children: 11, 8 and 5. I am so impressed with the author's writing and her ability to paint a picture (sometimes uncomfortably real) of the tragedy that took Galveston by surprise in 1900...
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