By: Joe R. Lansdale
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2011
Mom stopped breathing…Dad hung himself from a broken heart…and Jack Catcher is a young man left alone, living during the Depression in a small hovel in Okalahoma. Not only do readers meet Jack during one of the most awful times in his young life, but they also sit with him as the huge sandstorm blows outside, covering everything in a hideous layer of dirt, dust, and debris.
Jack Catcher is on his own now and has literally no idea what to do. Fate offers a helping hand as one day, he looks through that wall of sand, to see two young children walking towards him. Tony and Jane Lewis come from a home a few miles away and have been walking through the hideous storm since the wind knocked over their house and left them as victims in the wind.
At one time, not so long ago, the future seemed like it was bright for these kids, but when the Depression hit, the weather turned hideous, and the crops dried up - ‘bright’ quickly turned into a nightmare.
These three teens find a way to double back to the home of a man who is now dead in his chair under a pile of sand, where taking the keys to a dead man’s truck doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. After all, he’s not going to be using it. Together, this trio make their way to Texas, where a relative might still be living that can be of some help. Without much money in their pockets, and the truck getting a flat tire, the journey is not exactly going to be an easy one. And…it gets worse.
Standing by the side of the road with a flat tire, Jack, Tony and Jane meet up with some back robbers who want their truck - and them - in order to evade police and try to get to their ‘partner’ who stole their money and left them to rot.
Jane, the girl who is all mouth, is looking forward to being a journalist one day, and is the best partner Jack Catcher could have. Because soon, they escape from the bad guys and find a way to travel to Texas, trying their best to stay free AND warn the other bank robber that his friends are coming after him.
This story is truly interesting. It is unable to be said that the plot was fascinating or mind-boggling; in fact, the characters are quite hard to like as the story unfolds. But the author certainly has a creative eye when it comes to making readers feel the absolute fear and desolation when the mighty hand of fate and the power of nature come together to change a person’s path through life.
Quill Says: A unique tale that is certainly “out of the box” when it comes to Young Adult fiction.