It's not that boys won't read books with girls on the cover. It's just that they have learned, through experience, that books with girls on the cover often are lacking in action and adventure while being heavy on parents dying and introspection about one's place in the universe. Even Tarshis' own Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree is a "a tender story about what happens when a girl who has long stood in the social shadows gets a taste of what it's like to connect with kids her own age. (Goodreads.com)" Honestly, I don't have many GIRLS who want to read that kind of story!
But things blowing up? Absolutely. This is why the I Survived series is so popular. Keep writing these, Ms. Tarshis. I know you love Emma Jean, but I need far more books like this one. The boys will not even think about the girl on the cover-- put them on more!
Tarshis, Lauren. I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 (I Survived #14)
August 30th 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central
Jess and her friends Eddie and Sam Rowan live near Loomis Lake in Washington State. They've hear stories about the "Skeleton Woman" who is roaming the woods, and want to find her. They are allowed to go up the mountain to a shack to spend the day looking, but when they are there, tremors shake the area and Jess loses her deceased father's camera. Family friend Dr. Morales explains that Mt. St. Helens is a dormant volcano, but it's possible that it might blow. But probably not soon, even though it is letting out "volcano burps". When Jess goes back to retrieve the camera, of course, the mountain erupts, and she and her friends struggle to survive. Jess and her mother end up moving to Seattle, but she does find out that the Skeleton Woman story was created to scare off loggers; of course, not there are no more trees to take down!
Strengths:This was a good adventure, and the reasons for the children to be out in the woods on their own when the volcano erupted was realistic. The story of the Skeleton Woman added added a little bit of interest.
Weaknesses: I could have done without the deceased father. Wouldn't Jess have been just as motivated to go get the camera if he had been alive?
What I really think: Definitely will buy, glad about the girl on the cover, but HER PANTS ARE TOTALLY WRONG. Her shoes... give me pause. Her hair should probably have been short. THe hoodie is totally on-- my best friend Lori wore one just like it every day of 9th grade. This is a great picture below. Look at the straight leg jeans, "school shoes" (leather, probably brown), and the zip front hoodies. This is what 1980 looked like. I was there!