I was obsessed with this book when I was in fourth grade. Our teacher read it to us and then we went to visit Johnstown and the Johnstown Flood Memorial Museum, and I was completely hooked. I read this countless times back then, but I couldn't really remember what happened, so I figured it was worth a re-read.
After re-reading it, I still stand behind my obsession. This book was good, which surprised me because I was expecting it to be worse than I had remembered. It was a gripping look at a local tragedy that I feel like every kid in my area hears about from the time they're 2-months-old. I felt a wide range of emotions while reading this, and I was pleasantly surprised about how much I was moved. Marden Dahlstedt really gets human emotion and tragic disasters, and she can write some pretty captivating stuff. Granted, this novel is probably aimed towards a younger crowd, but like I said earlier, I still felt a lot while reading this.
As far as the characters go, I really liked what she did with Megan. She wrote about a 15-year-old girl who...acted like a 15-year-old girl. Just as soon as you start to think that she's this sweet girl, she does something totally bratty and teenager-ish. I liked most of the supporting characters, as well. They were hashed out enough to keep me content.
Another big plus for me was just the fact that I think it was an awesome portrayal of a local tragedy. Well, I mean, not that the tragedy was awesome, but you get what I mean. For someone who doesn't know anything about the Johnstown Flood of 1889, you could pick up this book and find a well-informed, people's account of the flood. This is genuinely good middlegrade historical fiction.