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Night of the Twisters

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,098 ratings  ·  326 reviews
Storm Chasers meets Stranger Things! An action-packed coming-of-age story of both natural disaster and the bravery it takes to face it.

When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don't think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska.

But soon e
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by HarperCollins (first published 1984)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,098 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
This riveting, impossible-to-put-down thriller concerns two friends who see their town ravaged by deadly tornadoes. A story of survival and resourcefulness, this book is really worth reading.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
i liked the book more than the movie... more details
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
PLOT: Dan Hatch explains what a red letter day is. He was in a bike race. He came in seventy-ninth and won the raffle afterward. He won one hundred dollars and a new racing bike. After the race him and Arthur went on a bike ride. They both were talking about Arthur eating supper at Dan’s house. They got back to Dan’s house ate supper and then Dan’s mom had to go to work, his Dad had to help his grandma get the tractor running again so Dan and Arthur were home alone with Dan’s baby brother Ryan. ...more
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Told from the POV of 12 year old, Dan, the story of the tornados that destroyed his home and much of Grand Island, Nebraska on the night of Jun3, 1980 was based on actual events. The names were changed, but the story is true.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: obob-2015, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Olsen
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was another book I loved as a child, and so it also made the read-aloud list. :)

It's a well-paced narrative that describes a boy's experience one night when tornados tear through his town.

One of the things I remembered from reading it as a child, and which was true for my 7-yr-old as well, is that her descriptions are SO interesting, and it sparks interest in tornados, which sent us to the internet to look up answers. What's a tornado siren? Why is the sky green? Why do the drains make suck
Review #1 - February 2017
Now that I'm older and more experienced, I know there are black-letter days as well as red-letter days. Those BIGGIES, the real blockbusters that mess up your life, aren't marked on the calendar either. You never know ahead of time when you're getting one of those.

I remembered reading this book as a kid and liking it, so I was excited to see it on the Battle of the Book list.

It was pretty intense. Ruckman does an excellent job bringing the readers into the eye of the
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cathy by: Battle of the Books
When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don't think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska. But soon enough, the wind begins to howl, and the lights and telephone stop working. Then the emergency siren starts to wail. Dan, his baby brother, and Arthur have only seconds to get to the basement before the monstrous twister is on top of them. Little do they know t ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fans of adventure books by Will Hobbs and Roland Smith, especially his Storm Runners trilogy will enjoy this fact based fictional account of the Grand Island, Nebraska tornado outbreak, a series of 7 tornadoes that swept through the area the night of June 3rd 1980 leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

It's an action packed story, filled with nail biting, tense, and scary real life situations. It's a wild non-stop ride. But it's also a story about a community coming together and giving each
Hour by hour, Dan Hatch, 12 years-old recounts the series of events the night seven tornadoes touched down in his small town in Nebraska. Houses destroyed, lives changed forever, and a struggle to survive are brought forth in this suspenseful fictionalized saga of a town and its people finding a way to outsmart one of Mother Nature's most deadly storms.

Night of the Twisters is a little too preachy and in some ways so outdated that kids today may not relate to the underlying story. Characters ar
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Night of the Twisters has an enthralling, Hollywood-worthy plot, but it largely fails to deliver. For one, the novel is too short for there to be any emotional investment in the characters. Also, the ending is a bit too pat. I know this is a juvenile novel, but, if elementary schoolers can read several hundred pages about a boy wizard, why couldn't they read a book half that length about a natural disaster? Some blasphemous profanity also messed things up. Although the younger crowd may enjoy Ni ...more
Elizabeth Walker
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've been fascinated by tornadoes since I was a very little girl. I was always checking out tornado books from the library so I could learn more about them.

I discovered this book during my Storm Chaser obsession back in 2010. I was 13, and I remember my mom telling me I was too old for the book.
I read it anyways, and I couldn't put it down. I was sucked in to it and I fell in love. I'm now almost 17 and I still read this book at least once a month.

I suppose my love for it has to do with my fa
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one of my favorites as a child. The author came to my school and I still have my signed copy. I needed something to help me fall asleep the other night and returned to this. I live in North Texas so tornadoes aren't uncommon so this always gives me a little thrill when I read it. I certainly wouldn't want something this horrific to happen but I like the story and the characters and the message of pulling together and pulling through.
Nate Burger
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This has been one of my favorite books since I was a kid, right up there with Hatchet. It's a story about a pre-teen boy named Dan and his best friend Arthur that weather out a massive tornado in Dan's basement with Dan's infant brother. The book centers around Dan and his neighborhood and the destruction that has occurred. A short book that moves really quickly. It still holds up and I felt like I was in the 4th grade again for a while.
Joseph Linder
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is really good and I recommend that you read it. This book is like magic tree house book but for just a little more older readers. This book is about two best friends that live in Grand Island, Nebraska. Tornadoes are very common in Nebraska. Little did they know that a few of them will be going through their town. Other than that, I really recommend this book.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW. I mean once I got started I could not stop. This book was really good. It was about true story of 'night of twisters' in Nebraska (which inspired 'Twister' I think I heard).
Worth a read. Intense.
Ata Bird
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this to someone looking for a little more grown up version of The Magic Treehouse books or someone interested in storms. I would also recommend it from a nostalgic point of view as it reminds me of life in a midwestern small town before the internet.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The students were spell bound. Not one of them, at this point, would be willing to trade their California earthquakes for tornado country.
Trinity Hochstetler
It was a bit sad and scary
Kara Thomas
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having grown up 5 hours west of Grand Island, I had heard plenty about the night the twisters ripped through town. I thought this book did a great job describing the night from the prospective of a 12 year old. Super fascinating.
Nora Winterton
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! It was a quick read and very intense. It's about an actual historical event that took place in Grand Island, Iowa, known as "the night of the twisters." 7 tornadoes hit a place in Iowa, and this story is told from a 12-year-olds perspective of the night. I did take a star off because they said: "Oh my___" a lot, but other than that, I really liked Night of the Twisters!
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile
I loved disaster books like this as a kid; I had a couple about earthquakes and one about a flood that I read over and over. I also loved anything to do with tornadoes; I read the entire nonfiction section in the children's room of my library dealing with storms, and Twister was one of my favorite movies. So I was all kinds of ready to love this book, but it was honestly pretty "meh". Dan doesn't come across as super relatable; he's kind of a blank slate, in fact, except for his annoyance with h ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newberry-age
Read this to the girls while traveling Nebraska. So much hit close to home after experiencing loss from Hurricane Harvey.

“during the next few weeks, all that the people in Grand Island could talk about was black Tuesday. Did you get hit? Became the official greeting on the street and would you believe? Was the surest way to get a conversation started everyone had a story to tell. There was no end to the comparing going on. – I was hearing something else is the days went by, something that prove
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Book Summary from Goodreads (
When a tornado watch is issued one Tuesday evening in June, twelve-year-old Dan Hatch and his best friend, Arthur, don't think much of it. After all, tornado warnings are a way of life during the summer in Grand Island, Nebraska. But soon enough, the wind begins to howl, and the lights and telephone stop working. Then the emergency siren starts to wail. Dan, his baby brother, and Arthur have only seconds to get to the basement before the monstrous twist
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman
** 2015 Blue Stem Nominee
Pages- 160
Copyright- 2003

The Night of the Twisters was an excellent book. It focused on two young boys, probably in high school, who were facing the storm of their life. They lived in Nebraska and were use to have bad storms, especially tornadoes. However, this storm was worse then what everyone expected. The book does a very good job of pulling the reader into the book by telling the story through the eyes of Dan, the main character
Cole Gossage
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book that is so grasping, you just can't put it down?

For me, that book is Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman. It is a fictionalized account of the Grand Island, NE tornado outbreak of June 1980. The book tells of how twelve-year-old Dan Hatch, his friend Arthur, and Dan's baby brother Ryan survive a violent tornado in Dan's basement.

Upon reading the back cover of Night of the Twisters, I noticed that the target audience for the book is ages 8-11. That is how you know when
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdng-350-books
The book begins with twelve-year-old Dan Hatch describing his family and sharing that he resents his baby brother, Ryan. It seems Ryan has stolen Dan's parents' attention away from him. Then, the night of the twisters happens. At the time of the tornadoes, Dan, baby brother Ryan, and Dan's friend Arthur are the only ones at home. Dan barely rescues his sleeping baby brother from his crib before the first tornado strikes. Dan's home is leveled, but he, Ryan, and Arthur are safe. The problem is Mo ...more
Nov 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: suspense lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
I am still reading "Night of the Twisters". I think that it's a very wonderful book. (Page: 1-85)

Question NO.9:
I will ask Dan Hatch: When the tornado coming, you are just a twelve years old kid. You are so young, why do you have such great courage to face the tornado?

I will ask the author: You wrote this fiction, what is the purpose to create this story? What do you want to tell the readers?

I chose these questions because I want to know what forces to push a child to face disaster in that
Jul 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick but somewhat terrifying book about tornadoes hitting a small town. The story is told from the point-of-view of Dan, a typical twelve-year-old boy. The suspense is fantastic and I was a bit scared about what would happen. Each chapter covers about an hour during the night of the storm, and builds the tension and suspense effectively.

Course evaluation:

Personal Response: This was fast-paced story, filled with some scares and a lot of suspense. I think readers will definitely respond to the b
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Ivy Ruckman is the award-winning author of fourteen books, including No Way Out, for which she also wrote the screenplay. She is a former English teacher and creative writing instructor, and has written several short stories for young readers. Mrs. Ruckman lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.