Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Firestorm! by Joan Hiatt Harlow

Harlow, Joan Hiatt. Firestorm! 336 pgs. Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2010. $16.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-G; Violence-G. Poppy is twelve-years-old and tired of stealing for Ma Brennan and living in a rough Chicago neighborhood. She begins to plan her escape. By chance she meets Justin Butterworth whose life is the opposite of Poppy’s. He is the son of a wealthy jeweler, lives in a beautiful house, and has a new pet goat named Ticktock. Justin takes Poppy to see his goat and she meets his sister Claire who gives Poppy her old clothes. Ma Brennan finds out about Poppy’s new friends and threatens to hurt Ticktock if Poppy does not get her a key to the jewelry shop. Although Poppy does not steal from jewelry shop, she overhears Justin’s father accuse her of stealing. She runs away and takes Ticktock with her. The night of the Great Chicago Fire, Justin and Poppy struggle with thousands of others to escape the fire. The narrative switches each chapter between Poppy and Justin; both characters represent the time period, but lack a spark of originality. The plot moves steadily until the night of the fire, where the action and details are literally on fire. Author Joan Hiatt Harlow provides an Afterword with additional information about the Great Chicago Fire and clarifies which parts of her book were based on facts and real people. EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

No comments: