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4.2 21
by Terry Trueman

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outside, the wind is howling.
it is a monster shrieking to get inside.
outside, the rain is a solid wall of water.
everything is dark.
everything is destroyed.
everything is gone....

Everything except for the desperate courage of those who survive that terrifying night. After hours of cowering in the dark with no


outside, the wind is howling.
it is a monster shrieking to get inside.
outside, the rain is a solid wall of water.
everything is dark.
everything is destroyed.
everything is gone....

Everything except for the desperate courage of those who survive that terrifying night. After hours of cowering in the dark with no lights, no warmth, and the terrible noises of the rain and wind pounding on the walls, José walks out his front door and steps into a nightmare.

But his nightmare has only begun as he and the few who are left in his small village start to pull their lives back together.

Based on Hurricane Mitch's devastation of Honduras in 1998, Terry Trueman's powerful story is about a young boy's fear and courage in the face of a force of nature too huge to even imagine.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in a tiny village in Honduras, Trueman's (Stuck in Neutral) novel is based on Hurricane Mitch and the devastation it wrought in 1998, and informed by the author's experiences teaching in San Pedro Sula in 1981-1982. Trueman explains in an endnote that Mitch was the worst storm to hit the Caribbean in 200 years: as the 13-year-old narrator, José, experiences it, Mitch is cataclysmic. Striking while José's father, older brother and sister are out on the road, the calamitous weather induces a mudslide that destroys all but two of the houses in the village and buries most of the residents. It falls to José to conquer his fear and be the man of the house. Trueman doesn't flinch from the grislier facts (in one scene, José leads a dig for groceries and finds the corpse of the grocer), but although he describes José's thoughts and reactions he stints on the sensory details. Accordingly, readers will understand the impact of the storm, while the style and the almost miraculous happy ending may insulate them from feeling too much of it for themselves. An addendum links this novel (first published in a different form in the U.K. in 2003) with the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
Opening his door after Hurricane Mitch ravages his Honduran village, thirteen-year-old Jose is shocked to discover that his house is one of two that remain standing. Some buildings are completely buried by the mud, inhabitants and all. No family is unaffected, and Jose's father, brother, and sister are among the thousands who are missing, possibly dead. Jose must draw on an inner strength and courage to care for his family and lead the village in its recovery efforts. Trueman vividly portrays the frightening storm and its devastating consequences, but it is the heroic efforts of Jose and his fellow villagers that are the heart of this story. This fictional account of actual events underscores the determination of the human spirit to fight against insurmountable odds. The author's direct language drives the adventure and drama of the story forward. Jose, an insecure and uncertain teen whose great love for family and country propels him to action, will resonate strongly with many teens. This book could easily supplement a unit on natural disasters or be used to spark a discussion on the social issues encountered during such calamities. Originally published in the UK as Swallowing the Sun in 2003. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
VOYA - Daniel Antell
This book contains an interesting story about a boy overcoming his fears of losing his family and his community. The building blocks of the story are fine tuned and make the book seem more intense by the minute. The condition and movement of the story leave the reader with a sense of completion at the end.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
Thirteen-year-old Jose lives with his family in Honduras. A hurricane hits, causing the recently clear-cut hillside adjacent to his village to become a mudslide that smothers and kills most of its fifty inhabitants. Jose's father, elder brother, and elder sister are away, so Jose looks after his mother and two younger siblings while little by little, the surviving residents of the village find their way to his house and work together to find food and water, dig out the bodies of their neighbors, and contact the outside world. Unaccustomed to holding any position of responsibility, Jose quickly takes charge and becomes a resourceful member of his ailing community. This survival tale is concise but engaging. Trueman's descriptions of the village buried in mud and of the difficulties it creates for the survivors are vivid. Jose's first-person narrative lets the reader in on his emotions as he works through the disaster, remembering his now-dead neighbors, worrying about his absent family members and his dog, and carrying on through exhaustion. His intellect also serves him well: As the brainy child in his family, Jose attends a special international school, and his knowledge of English allows him to communicate with the international aid workers when they arrive. Leisure readers will enjoy this exciting novel, and teachers also will find it useful in the classroom.
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 15.

When a storm unlike any other--1998’s Hurricane Mitch--hits Honduras, the world of 13-year-old José and his family is forever changed. Only two houses are left standing in their small village after the hurricane, and a mudslide has buried many of the residents. José’s father, older brother and sister are away, and José must act as the man of the house, coming to the aid of whomever he can and digging for canned goods in the mud so they can all survive. When his little brother falls ill, José must go for help, despite the dangers he faces. This is a simple but powerful story, with appeal to adventure fans as well as reluctant readers. Trueman, author of Stuck in Neutral and other YA novels, has taught in Honduras. At the end of the novel he provides some statistics on the deadly impact of Mitch, the worst storm to hit the Caribbean in 200 years, and points out that people in the US experienced something like what José went through when Hurricane Katrina hit. An engrossing and sobering tale. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- Thirteen-year-old José loves soccer, his family, and his small village in Honduras. In 1998, when Hurricane Mitch hits, his beloved dog runs off and his father, older brother, and sister are away from home. José struggles to remain strong for his younger brother and sisters and helps his mother deal with water pouring in through their roof. As soon as the rain and wind subside, he ventures out to discover that nearly every house in their close-knit community has been completely destroyed by a mudslide. With 33 of the 56 residents dead and his father, brother, and sister missing, the teen finds himself acting as man of the house and a leader in his ravaged village. Narrated by José, the story is tragic and suspenseful without being sensationalized. The boy's inner struggle is well developed as he fights to do what must be done. Ultimately, he rises to the challenge, digging up dead bodies, finding food, and seeking medical help for his sick younger brother. José is an admirable character, and his story moves along at a quick pace that will sustain the attention of even reluctant readers.-Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Trueman strains credulity in his fictional recounting of the devastation wrought upon Honduras by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The first-person narrator is 13-year-old Jose Cruz whose family lives in a typically small but close-knit village. One very rainy day his older sister, father and much-idolized older brother make the 17-mile drive to the main business area. As the storm worsens, Jose and the rest of the family hear the radio announcement that the storm is now a Category 5 hurricane. While Jose and Mama pretend their missing family members are fine, a mudslide obliterates every house in the village-except the Cruz's and one other one. Many friends have died. Jose and others organize the many necessary and gruesome tasks for continuing survival. Still, Jose's younger brother nearly dies from an infection due to conditions. After five days of uncertainty, Trueman reunites every member of the Cruz family, including the family dog, to survive-thus, ending things quite tidily. Reluctant readers may enjoy the plot-driven story of continual peril, but it probably won't leave any lasting impression. (Fiction. 8-11)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.61(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Novel

Chapter One

La Rupa, Honduras

March 1998

It's early on a Saturday morning in our little town of La Rupa. I'm in a championship soccer game on the main street of town—actually the only street in town. Today this street has become a soccer field. All our neighbors are out cheering me on. They smile and wave and jump up and down. Even my dog, Berti, looks interested, and nothing ever gets her very excited. But one voice stands out from all the others. "José," a man with a deep voice says. "José!" the man calls again. But when I open my eyes, the soccer field and all my adoring fans are gone.

My older brother, Víctor, wakes me up with a gentle tug on my shoulder. "Come on!" Víctor says, giving me the "shush" sign so that I won't wake our little brother, Juan, sleeping in his bed across the room. Berti wakes up too, lifting her head and staring at us. She gets up to follow.

Víctor leads me to the back door before I even have any breakfast.

I'm grumpy, but Víctor ignores my mood. When he has a plan, like he has right now, there is no changing his mind. I can tell by the look in his eyes that he is on a mission.

It is a nice morning. The air feels warm and a little damp. Our grass is chopped really short because Ernesto, the man who cuts it for us with his machete, was here just a few days ago. I glance up at the hillside behind our house, behind all the houses on this side of La Rupa. Last year a logging company cleared lots of the trees off that hill. The trees used to be home to the wild parrots that fly overhead on most days. The parrotsare still around, though; they just moved a little bit deeper into the forest.

Víctor interrupts my daydreaming. "Look at this," he says, nodding at the huge, dirty, old brick barbecue that has stood just outside our back door since we moved into this house. Both Berti and I stare at it. Víctor smiles and says, "This thing has got to go."

I ask—stupidly, I'll admit, but after all it's still early in the morning, "Where's it going?"

Víctor laughs. "We have to tear it down and get rid of it."

I look at it again, tall and brick and sturdy. "Why?"

Víctor says, "Mom and Dad have their twenty-year wedding anniversary coming up. Mom has never liked this thing, and it's ugly. Dad suggested that we could tear it down and make the backyard nicer for their big celebration."

Our mom likes to cook outside, since the days and evenings are warm and humid. She uses a small barbecue we have in the back, but she has never used this big one. None of us have ever used it, and no one in La Rupa has anything like it. Still, looking at what Víctor is suggesting, I can see that it's going to take a lot of hard work.

Víctor and Dad are probably right. Tearing the stupid thing down is a good idea, but it's going to get hot today, like it does every day, and it isn't going to be easy to break all these bricks apart.

"Víctor," I say, "this is going to be a pain."

Víctor looks at me and smiles. "José, anything worth doing is usually a pain, but getting rid of this thing will make our home nicer. Think of how much better our house will look when your preppy friends from your rich kids' school come to visit. It'll be great. Come on, just help me for a little while. Let's get to work, okay?"

Víctor often teases me about my "preppy friends." I think he's always been a little jealous of my going to the International School, where we're taught in both Spanish and English. He calls me "preppy" when he wants to give me a hard time. He doesn't understand that I kind of like this nickname because I like being called the same thing that all the rich kids at school are called. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll be rich too! Víctor didn't go to a bilingual school. When he was starting school, Dad's business was just getting going and our family couldn't afford the high tuition then. Besides, Víctor had always wanted to work with Dad anyway; school was never important to him. I'm the student in our family, not my big brother. He's a hard worker, though, strong and tough and stubborn like Dad, only different. In ways it seems like Víctor is almost a grown-up already. He's always been almost a grown-up. I don't know how else to describe it. I'm not going to say that Víctor is kind of bullheaded, but that doesn't mean it's not true!

So for now, like it or not, I'm a worker too, and Víctor's helper.

I look over at Berti. She's lying in the sun, relaxed and comfortable. She doesn't know how lucky she is to be a dog. In all the many months we've had her, she's only learned one trick: sit. When you roll a ball for her, she just looks at it. When you call her to come to you, she only does it if you have a treat in your hand that she can smell. Playing, running, and even taking a walk are of little interest to her. Berti's idea of an exciting life is to lie around all day doing . . . well . . . nothing.

I have no such luck today.

Mr. Arroyo, who lives with his wife behind their little store across the street, is already sweeping his porch like he does every morning. He's a funny, smart, nice guy. When he glances in our direction, he smiles and waves. The kind of "store" he and his wife have is called a trucha. Most neighborhoods and most small towns in Honduras have them. I've seen movies from the United States where they have Circle Ks and 7-Elevens, small stores where you can buy a few things when you need them. Here in Honduras we have truchas that are built in the front part of people's houses. The only trucha in La Rupa is at the Arroyos'.

A Novel
. Copyright © by Terry Trueman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Terry Trueman grew up in the northern suburbs of Seattle, Washington. He attended the University of Washington, where he received his BA in creative writing. He also has an MS in applied psychology and an MFA in creative writing, both from Eastern Washington University.

Terry is also the author of Stuck in Neutral and its companion novel, Cruise Control; Hurricane; 7 Days at the Hot Corner; No Right Turn; and Inside Out.

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Hurricane 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ezumalid didn't know what Dion was going to say! Instead, Dion ran away as fast as he could, probably for help, but why leave him here? "After him!" Laughed a cackily voice and tons of men with horses galloped after Dion, making Ezumalid's hope chance even worse. Who were these people? Worse, he needed to get back to Omereg... Ezumalid woke up in a sack tied with air holes in it. There was a big rope that tied the top of the bag. Ezumalid looked through the air holes. There was one big fat man sleeping and snoring as loud even louder than Ezumalid's father would at night. That reminded Ezumalid of his parents. Where were they? Were they still imprisoned? Were they alive? Dead? Ezumalid did not have one clue about where they were and if they were alive. Then, suddenly the big sack opened and a skinny face peered through. "Pugh, he's weak!" The person said, "Send him back to the Gremild Forest!" "No way! It took 5 hours to get here and...ya..." Uh-oh! 5 hours? Were WAS DION???????? "Kormick, you know the rules on the schedule." "Like you think I have no brains!" "Yea!" "YOU........" Ezumalid wanted to turn invisible, but he forgot. Great, where was his magic when HE really needed it? "Fine. Take him to the Matching Center. We'll deal with him later." To be continued.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You heard him! Stop RPing!!!!Good book, by the way.
Bellidonax More than 1 year ago
Everyone RPing here STOP NOW! Your giving rpers and warrior fans a bad name so get a life and go on real rp sites or blogs instead of screwing up B&N and book reviews. You are not cool, your a menace to the internet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...sigh... anything to get an actual review here...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*a purplish-black queen and a brown kit padded into camp* Hello. Could we join?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to conquer your clan prepare to die all of you. -Blackheart of Volcanoclan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I was there when Mistystar was a kit." She purred. "I could help a bit."
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
With HURRICANE, author Terry Trueman brings to life in vivid detail the almost complete devastation of 1998's Hurricane Mitch on Honduras.

In the tiny village of La Rupa, there are only a handful of homes. One of those, at one end of town, is the house of Jose and his family: his mother and father, older brother and sister Victor and Ruby, and younger siblings Maria, Angela, and Juan. There is also their dog, Berti, who can sometimes be persuaded to do more than lie around in the sun.

La Rupa is the type of place where everyone knows one another; there is no way to avoid it, since the village is so small. Jose, who attends school at the bilingual International School in nearby San Pedro Sula, is pretty much the only person in the town who can speak both Spanish and English fluently.

In September 1998, La Rupa literally comes to a standstill when Hurricane Mitch destroys the town. After a deadly mudslide, the fifty-plus population of La Rupa is chillingly reduced to only a little over twenty. And Jose's father, brother Victor, and sister Ruby are missing, having been on the road traveling when the Hurricane hit.

In this vivid and fast-paced narrative, Mr. Trueman takes us through the days immediately following Mitch's destruction. As a lack of food and water begins to haunt the survivors, Jose is part of a group who must search the nearby trucha for supplies. And when little Juan falls ill, it is again up to the teenage Jose to venture out into the mud and muck to attempt to make his way to San Pedro Sula to find help.

HURRICANE is a vivid, fast-moving story that even younger readers will find themselves immersed in, as they struggle right along with Jose in learning to survive with next to nothing. The emotions he feels, as he worries about his family's fate, both those missing and still at home, will grip readers of all ages.

The author's note at the end of the book states that more than 5,000 people were initially killed in Honduras during the Hurricane. In the months that followed, bodies of the more than 8,000 missing individuals were also found. Even now, in 2008, the clean-up and recovery period in Honduras is still ongoing. This is one book that brings to life a plight of many that most of us never even knew about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Who is the leader here!?!" He demanded.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello I am leader of Earthclan. We are a new clan and I was wondering if you wanted to be allies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shut up how ever wrote that about me >:( u were not accepting cats so i took them in if i posted more than 1 it was imposter not me >:{
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A white she cat pads in and stretches her name is Beautiful