This book gives an exhilarating glimpse into the terrifying experience of three young kids as they battle their way through a Hurricane Igor-ravaged swamp. The story mainly focuses on their struggle to find safety from the perils of the swamp, including the fast-moving, overflowing river and a surge of wild animals also seeking safety, but the author simultaneously pairs the adventures of the main character, Cort, with his own internal hurricane caused by the tumultuous relationship between his parents. Even before the storm, Cort feels abandoned by his father due to his constant and fruitless attempts to win his wife back over after their separation. This feeling is only exacerbated when Cort is left alone to save himself and his neighbors because his father is marooned at his wife's house. As Cort and his two neighbors fight their way through the freezing waters of the river to higher ground, the author cleverly interjects even the most intense of passages with Cort's internal dialogue concerning his parents and his close friend Liza. This allows the reader to see how the hurricane affects each facet of Cort's life. The story feels real, and is in fact based off of the author's experiences living on the Gulf Coast. The language is very simple and straightforward, and the tone is appropriate for the novel and doesn't undermine any aspects of the story. It's a short but interesting read, answering questions you never thought to ask like "Where do animals go during a hurricane?"
Review by Emili K.
Rating: 3.8 / 5 stars
Immediately after I started reading this book, I was glued to it. The engaging storyline compelled me to marathon the novel in just over an hour, and it took me on a mental rollercoaster as I wondered what was going to happen next at every turn.
The story, simply enough, consists of a young man’s journey through the depths of a different kind of hell, as a simple mishap leaves him, his best friend, and a small child in the harsh wilderness of a swamp biome with ancient Native American ruins, in the midst of a category 3 hurricane. The fight for survival hinges on his actions.
I’ll admit, there were more than enough moments throughout the book where I definitely thought they should have died, but people in the real world have lived through worse situations in the wild. The author tries to convey the message that the wild does not care, and whether you live or die is irrelevant.
Terror at Bottle Creek is by no means a literary masterpiece, but young preadolescents looking to transition into young adult and adult novels will appreciate the grimmer, more violent aspects of the novel. Some of the most gut-wrenching scenes are briefly interrupted by small recollections that relate tangentially to what is happening.
If you enjoyed Lord of the Flies but want something that does not cause as much brain-ache and disturbance, try this instead.
Reviewed by: Ali H.