Safe as Houses by Eric Walters

“The river reached out and engulfed the whole street. There had to be three or four feet of water. We were in the middle of the river and we couldn’t even see the shore.”

 On October 15, 1954, Lizzie Hardy walked home with the children she babysat: David and his little sister Suzie. A rainstorm, caused by Hurricane Hazel had been hitting the area for days, and it kept getting worse. Lizzie finds herself alone with the kids when their parents can’t make it out of the city because of the weather. Which is fine because they’re safe as houses right? But the storm keeps raging and the water keeps rising, and soon it has engulfed the entire first floor of the house. The three of them keep making for higher ground, but what happens when there isn’t any higher to go? Based on a true story, this riveting tale is the story of three very brave and resourceful children as they try to survive the biggest flood Ontario has ever seen.

Safe as Houses was a very intense and action packed novel. I simply could not put it down. Despite the fast-paced storytelling, the characters are actually very well developed. David was perhaps the most fascinating of characters, as he progressed from being a whinny brat to a child calm and resourceful in his attempt to keep his sister and babysitter alive. It’s such a horrifying thought, three children alone in a house that is flooding in the middle of a violent river.  There was not one moment of rest reading this because each time you think the children are safe, the river keeps rising. I also appreciated reading a Canadian historical fiction. Overall, a great read that will appeal to a very wide audience.

You might enjoy Safe as Houses if you like books with: a lot of action and suspense, main character’s whose safety is threatened, a quick and easy read, Canadian historical fiction, younger protagonists.

 Other books by Eric Walters: Wave, United We Stand, Wounded, Alexandria of Africa, Sketches

 If you liked Safe as Houses you might also enjoy: Wave by Eric Walters and A Million Shades of Grey by Cynthia Kadohata

 Additional Info: Winner of the 2008 Red Maple Award

 Non-Fiction Connection: Rain Tonight: A Story of Hurricane Hazel by Steve Pitt and Heather Collins and Hurricane Hazel: Canada’s Storm of the Century by Jim Gifford

 Author Website found here.

Rating: W4/4   C3.5/4   P4/4   O4/4   PP3/4   CR3/4

Grade: MJ

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