cover image Storm


Donna Jo Napoli. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0302-3

Napoli (Skin) draws from the story of Noah's Ark in this account of a Canaanite girl, Sebah, with a big problem: rain, which sweeps away her family, home, and the ground beneath her feet. Sebah and a boy named Aban climb a tree to survive, but soon they must abandon that refuge and set out on a raft across the ever-rising sea. That's when they see an enormous ark floating above them%E2%80%94but only Sebah is strong enough to climb aboard. Despite the novel's biblical origins, it's light on religion. Sebah's prayers (to Ba'al) are rare, and she's more concerned with hiding from Noah's irritable family than with the Mighty Creator that gives Noah instructions. Sebah bonds more readily with the easygoing bonobos who let her share their cage than the humans twisting themselves into knots to follow the rules of a baffling God. Her own survival, always, is paramount. Napoli's focus on Sebah's immediate circumstances allows her to grow organically as a character, bringing a satisfying realism to this familiar story. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)