Orca. (Orca Anchor). Aug. 2023. 96p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459837201.
Gr 6 Up–A teen and her half sister seek their parents after a destructive earthquake in this hi-lo novel. Amy is at her private school when a dangerous earthquake hits. With her father at work in the city and her mother on a business trip overseas, Amy is about to go home with a teacher when her estranged half-sister, Mara, comes to find her. The girls return through the debris to find their homes unlivable and decide to walk to the city to find their father and Mara’s mother. They encounter dangerous situations, such as landslides, intimidating strangers, and, of course, aftershocks on their journey. One of the methods used to make this title more accessible is that it is written almost completely in first-person present tense, which may feel unusual to more experienced readers but could be helpful for emerging readers. The relationship between Amy and Mara is well drawn, and the girls grow closer by relying on each other to survive amid exciting action sequences. Survival stories are popular among middle school students, and this book would be a good choice to hand to readers who haven’t developed the skills yet for novels like Hatchet. It is written for teen readers reading under a second grade level.
VERDICT A useful title for older emerging readers.

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