Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
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.