The trend of historical fiction for middle graders marches on with the Survival series, which explores some of the country's most devastating natural disasters. In turn-of-the-century San Francisco, orphaned Brendan O'Connor delivers bakery goods to local businesses, hoping to earn himself a better life someday. Just as he finishes his route one morning, the ground beneath Brendan's feet begins to rumble and roar, turning the entire city into a chaotic, crumbling mess. In the confusion, Brendan finds himself coming to the aid of Dai Yue, a girl from Chinatown with her own colorful background; chapters alternate between their two perspectives. Brendan and Dai Yue form a critical friendship in the midst of looting, fire, destruction and mayhem. With history as a vivid backdrop, Duey (the American Diaries series) and Bale, a writer of adult historical novels, produce a swift-moving story. Although some plot ends are tied up a tad too neatly, the successful dovetailing of two strong protagonists with very distinct and detailed backgrounds gives the book some welcome depth. Also scheduled for release in this series are Shipwreck: The Titanic, 1912 (Jan.) and Blizzard: Colorado, 1886 (Mar.). Ages 8-12. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997 Release date: 01/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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