Book Review – The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens

Disaster DaysHannah is a bit nervous about her babysitting gig.  It’s only the second time she’s ever babysat, and she’s never done it for so many hours, or until 9 o’clock at night.  But she’s had a babysitting course, and keeps telling herself that she can handle whatever comes up—after all, grownups are just a call away.

She never expected a 9.0 earthquake.

Suddenly, she’s got two scared kids and a guinea pig looking to her for leadership in a house that’s literally falling down around their ears.  There’s no electricity, no phones, no cell reception.  And on the isolated island where they live, usually connected by a bridge and the ferry, there are no grownups they can reach.  As the crisis escalates, Hannah calls upon all her skills and resources to keep the kids and herself alive. It would be a whole lot easier if she’d remembered to bring her inhaler.

I loved this book and had a hard time putting it down.  Behrens does an excellent job of making the story realistic.  Poor Hannah!  Talk about the babysitting gig from hell!  The kids are actually great, but the circumstances are awful.  Hannah keeps making natural, normal decisions that lead to dire consequences.  As an adult, I might have caught that it was a risky decision, but I wouldn’t expect a 13 year old to know, and even I would have made some of the same decisions.

Hannah struggles with self-confidence, but she learns to keep moving ahead and do her best.  She can’t fall apart because people are counting on her, so she “fakes it till she makes it.” I found her to be really admirable.  I highly recommend this book for middle graders.

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