I grew up in Florida and lived through a few hurricanes, the worst of which, Elena, bounced off our coast three times, eroding millions of tons of sand beaches and wrecking coastal communities, before heading out into the Gulf to later hit Biloxi, Mississippi.
I saw first-hand the damage Andrew did, cutting a swath across the Everglades and Homestead like an enormous lawnmower, and years later the towers of debris still hadn't been hauled away.
And my father recently weathered Irma and more significantly, the weeks without electricity afterward, swearing he'd never do that again.
So we're no stranger to hurricane stories, here.
This books starts with Alejo's perspective on tropical storm Valerie as it swamps and quickly overtakes Puerto Rico. He's abandoned in the hotel where his grandfather works, and a determined TV cameraman rescues him from his crumbling, seaside home.
Alejo's wrist is broken, but he and the cameraman are headed to the US, to safety. They think.
Valerie is hot on their heels, gaining strength and speed as she goes.
Emily picks the world's worst time to runaway. Her mom won't let her visit her brother, who's recuperating from a surgery and some sort of illness that's never fully explained. All she knows is, she can't be in his room because he must never get sick again. So she runs away to hide on a bird sanctuary island, of all places, off the coast of New Orleans.
Right before Valerie hits.
But Alejo and the cameraman spot Emily's brother, coming to her aid, as they land in New Orleans. And her father, working an oil rig out in the Gulf, evacuates at the last minute and hopes to drive home to find Emily and her brother before the storm hits.
Working together, with help from a NOAA psychologist, can they survive Valerie?
And then there's a little sand piper, a bird that gets caught in the storm, tossed ever higher and higher, until he can't breathe. Will he ever get out?