Aceh, Indonesia. December 2004.
Two teens find each other surrounded by the destruction left in the wake of the most devastating tsunami the world has ever seen: Ruslan, a native of Aceh, in search of his missing father, whom he hopes has not been added to the fallen; and Sarah, an American girl, who has already lost her mother and is now struggling to find medical treatment for her sick brother.
Only together can they find what they're searching for.
Gr 6-10-Ruslan falls for Sarah when her family's sailboat docks in his Indonesian town for mechanical assistance, but Sarah, a self-absorbed American, fails to notice him. Both teens are then caught in the disastrous 2004 tsunami. Sarah makes it to safety, but her mother is killed and her father is missing, leaving her to care for her younger brother. Ruslan also survives and immediately begins to search for his father, who had left their coastal home before the storm. The two meet again, this time forging a relationship. The action never slows, though some dangerous encounters seem unnecessary. Other predicaments are resolved too easily. For example, when Sarah is stranded on an island without a knife, she conveniently finds a boat and machete. Too many conflicts-death, romance, Sarah's anger toward her mother, Ruslan's relationship with relatives who are rebel fighters-muddle the plot. To his credit, the author treats cultural differences with a gentle and honest touch. He also creates a vivid picture of the many horrors and challenges faced in the immediate aftermath of a large-scale natural disaster. Despite drawbacks, this book will appeal to fans of survival adventures like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986).-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
April 19, 2008
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Excerpt from The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis
Chapter One The nightmare again. The water rushed in from nowhere, from everywhere, swallowing him in an instant. He couldn't breathe. Couldn't find a way out. He was going to die --Ruslan woke with a gasp. His heart thumped. He swung out of bed to stand in front of the second-story window, taking deep breaths of the cool night air. In the distance, beyond the shacks and houses of Ujung Karang, moonlight glittered on the sea. He knew he wouldn't be able to fall asleep again, so he sat down at his desk, turned on the light, and opened his sketch pad.Four years ago, when he was twelve, he'd had nightmares of a monster. He'd drawn its picture, its scaly body and fanged head and barbed tail, and then ripped the monster in half. The monster never bothered his sleep again.Perhaps if he could draw the drowning nightmare, he could banish it as well.But he didn't know how to draw it. He often swam in the rivers and played in the ocean waves, but this drowning water was different. He didn't know its shape or form. All he knew was its color.Black. After the morning's only customer paid his bill and left the waterfront café, Ruslan sat down at a rickety plywood table shaded by one of the palm trees. He cradled his head on his outstretched arm. His huge yawn nearly dislocated his jaw.Why was he having such awful nightmares? Perhaps it was the sermon at the mosque the other Friday. The preacher had warned of the coming flood of God's judgment for liars and sinners. Was it a sin to drive his father's motor scooter without a license? Ruslan didn't think so. One could sin against God, sure, but how could one sin against the police?A breeze ruffled the harbor's water, and the sun twinkled off its surface. Tiny waves lapped against the shore's breakwater. A big tug tied to the pier released its ropes and gunned its diesel, smoke belching from its stack. Its propeller churned the low tide, stirring up black sand and muck into a dark boil. Ruslan frowned, an uneasy feeling pricking him, but the water quickly cleared to its usual murky green. He yawned again. The breeze felt good on his face. His eyes grew heavy. He'd have a quick nap, just a minute's snooze --"Excuse me.Ah, maaf permisi."Ruslan's eyes flew open. He jerked upright, staring dumbfounded at the Western family standing before him. Father, mother, daughter, and son, their long noses red from the sun. Even the half-grown orange cat rubbing against the boy's ankle seemed foreign. Had they emerged from out of his sleep?The big white man held an English-Indonesian dictionary in his hand. He flipped through pages with oil-smudged fingers and found what he was looking for."Mesin rusak,"he said. Broken engine. He nodded over his shoulder at a gleaming white sailboat that had just anchored off the jetty. He flipped more pages."Bengkel."Mechanic's garage.Ruslan stood. "I speak English." As well he should. Ever since he was four, he'd been tutored privately in English at his father's insistence."You can? Great. One of the fishermen there pointed to you, said your father's a mechanic. At least that's what I thought he said."Ruslan nodded. "My father is Yusuf the mechanic." Ruslan usually spent most of his free time helping his father in the garage, but he had wanted to earn some money to buy a new set of paintbrushes. A friend had gotten him this part-time job at the café, afternoons after school and all day during Sundays and national holidays, such as today.The girl stepped forward and squinted at the café's small display fridge. She and her mother wore long wrinkled dresses, and her mother a head scarf, but the girl's blond hair glowed in the sunlight, her scarf wadded up in her hand. She had the bluest eyes Ruslan had ever seen. Theonlyblue eyes he'd ever seen, at least in real life and not on TV. "Hey," she said, "they have cold Cokes right here.""Well, I'll