Bell, William. Death Wind. Orca, 2002. ISBN 978-1551432151 128 pp. $
Allie, newly pregnant, recently single, and having just flunked three of her four classes, escapes from her problems and turbulent home life by going on the road with her friend, neighbor, and coincedently, National Skateboarding Champion Razz. Caught in a storm that escalates into a tornado on the way home, the teens become unlikely heroes.
Death Wind is part of Orca’s new Soundings series for reluctant readers. Penned by award-winning Canadian authors, these short thematic novels are designed for classroom use with special appeal for the reluctant reader. Large print type and simply constructed sentences combine with a flashy neon title and striking color photograph to hook. Characterization is a bit flat, perhaps because of the brevity of the novels, but the plot is strong (if not complex). Vivid action scenes in Death Wind include skating competition, a fistfight, and a major tornado. Based on real life events, the books are ideal for discussion and could even create a neat segway into current events. Highly recommended.