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From acclaimed author Rosanne Parry comes an exciting and tender friendship story about two cousins looking for their destiny.
On a beautiful day in June, the ground broke open.
In Japan, you’re always prepared for an earthquake. That’s why Kai knows just what to do when the first rumbles shake the earth. But he does the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do: He runs. And then the tsunami hits.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Kai’s cousin Jet sets sail off the coast of Astoria, Oregon. She knows she should have checked the tide—she always checks the tide. Except this time she didn’t.
When the biggest mistakes of their lives bring them together, Jet and Kai spend the summer regretting that one moment when they made the wrong decision. But there’s something about friendship that heals all wounds, and together, Jet and Kai find the one thing they never thought they’d have again—hope.
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ROSANNE PARRY is always searching for the perfect wind in her sailboat, the Selkie, the perfect word in her tree house writing studio, and the perfect book for patrons at Annie Bloom’s Books. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at RosanneParry.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
When the earth broke open, there was a noise that came before the quake. It was so deep Kai felt it on his skin almost before he heard it. It came before the crack of falling trees, before the hard rain of broken glass, even before the pop and whoosh of blue fire when the transformer behind the playground blew. One boom like a single beat from the odaiko, the big drum at the temple, only sounded for the most important festivals of the year. That beat passed through Kai’s body like a wave of radiation, quick as lightning, invisible, irreversible.
Kai knew at once what he must do and what it would cost him even if he succeeded. It was a maverick choice, one that would mark him as even more of an outsider, a hafu, neither properly Japanese nor glamorously American. But the alternative, to do nothing, was unthinkable.
One sharp word from the teacher and every student slid from his chair, crouched under his desk, and held up a jacket to shield his head from the glass that was already shattering. Kai waited until his teacher had pulled his suit coat over his head. He scrambled silently for the door, snatching his outdoor shoes from the cubby as he went. A shock wave ran along the floor like a ripple on a pond. Lights flickered and went out. Another tremor followed, and a third, and then nothing. Kai ran. He cleared the front door, crossed the play yard, scaled the fence, and headed into town. Tsunami sirens blared a rising note of warning.
Kai sprinted past the turn that led to his parents’ apartment. They would be fine at the power plant behind the seawall. Their full attention would be needed at the reactor to keep it running safely. Kai knew where he was needed. He flew down the hill, the last direction anyone would go--toward the curve of shoreline and the small fishing boats moored there.
People streamed out of their homes and headed for high ground. Ocean bottom appeared where the bay should have been. The decaying hull of a boat that sank years ago sat exposed in the mud. Fish flopped in the unexpected air. Kai spared less than a second to look for the Ushio-maru at the marina. He and his grandfather hadn’t sailed it in months, not since his grandmother had a stroke. But the Ushio-maru was there in the marina as always. It was beached like all the rest of the boats, but Kai knew the ocean would be back, as relentless as a freight train, showing mercy to no living thing.
“Oji-san! Oba-san!” Kai called as he rounded the corner to his grandparents’ house, a block above the harbor. One side of the blue-tile roof was already a heap of rubble burying his grandmother’s garden.
He took the wooden steps in a single bound. He found them in the main room of their house, kneeling beneath the futon Oji-san had pulled from the closet and held as a shield over their heads. Kai slid to his knees.
“You can’t stay here.”
“Kai, why are you here?” Oba-san reached to cup his face, even as Kai bowed his apology. “You should be taking shelter with your schoolmates at the shrine,” Oba-san said. “What will they say if you are not there?”
“Come with me,” Kai said.
Another boom sounded from the odaiko under the earth. The floor lurched forward and back. Cabinet doors swung open, and dishes and cans tumbled out. Daylight showed through cracks in the walls. Books toppled from the shelf. Kai scooted closer to his oba-san to shield her. Oji-san bent the futon over all three of them like a tent. Kai closed his eyes against the dust. When the shaking stopped, Oji-san lifted the futon and looked at the ruins of his house.
“We should all go to the shrine,” Kai said. “It’s only two kilometers. Two. I’ll carry her. I’m big enough.”
Oba-san’s walker and the dining table were the only upright objects in the room.
“So far!” Oba-san said. “You go. We’ll meet you there.”
“Together!” Kai insisted, lowering his head to apologize for his stubbornness but then looking to his grandfather, imploring.
Oji-san stood up slowly, testing his limbs and the uneven floor. He reached for his wife and helped her stand. He moved to her weaker side, supporting as she found her balance, speaking softly into her ear, to help her find courage.
“Together,” Oji-san said. “We will go as far as we are able.”
Kai took his grandmother’s other arm, and they made their way across the tilted floor and into the ruined street.
Three minutes and forty-seven seconds later, on the far side of the Pacific, Jet watched her dad bring ships across the Columbia Bar. She sat on her porch roof, binoculars trained on the mouth of the river, resting against the frame of her bedroom window. Afternoon shadows stretched across the yard below. The rough asphalt shingles were worn smooth from the hundreds of times Jet had watched her dad piloting tankers, car carriers, and container ships through the shifting currents and past the mountain of sand that made the entrance into the Columbia River the most dangerous passage in the Pacific. Jet’s stereo played the unmusical chatter of marine radio. On her phone she toggled between the day’s weather, the ocean’s currents, and the local tides.
Her dad was navigating the trickiest part of the passage, the eye of the needle--a narrow spot between Point Adams and the Desdemona Sands. As the container ship drew closer to Astoria, Jet could make out the name on the starboard side, Hanjin Oslo 952. She checked the vessel-traffic list. It was a Korean ship bound for Portland: 623 tons of cargo, twenty-one feet of draft. Dad had piloted plenty of boats with a deeper draft; no way he’d run this one aground. She pictured him on the bridge of the Hanjin Oslo in his yellow float coat with PILOT written across the shoulder in block letters. The captain would be at his side to translate his directions to the crew.
An alarm sounded on her phone. It was from NOAA--the ocean guys. A tsunami warning flashed across the screen. Jet dropped her binoculars and flicked through the website for details. Quake magnitude: greater than six. Epicenter: a hundred miles from Osaka. Flooding expected on the southern third of Japan in the next twenty minutes. Alerts went up for all the islands in the Pacific and the western coasts of North and South America.
Osaka? Jet tried to remember the name of her cousin’s hometown. Wasn’t it somewhere in the middle? No, it was south, definitely south of Osaka. Kai was fine last time, when the quake was in the north. Besides, his town had mountains just like Astoria, plenty of high ground to get away from rising water. Every town on the Oregon coast had evacuation routes for emergency flooding. Jet had more tsunami drills than fire drills at school. No worries there.
But what would her dad do about his ship? Last time there was a quake on the Japan side of the Pacific, it took hours for the high water to get to Astoria. Last time the warning had come to nothing--barely a ripple on the north Oregon coast. But down by the California border, it had crushed whole marinas and stacked the fishing fleet three deep as if the vessels were bathtub toys.
Would Dad close the bar? Would he turn the ship around and make it wait out the tsunami in deep water? A pilot had the authority. He could stop a million dollars’ worth of river traffic and delay shipping schedules as far away as Chicago. Or he could make a run for it and get the Hanjin Oslo up the Columbia far enough that the surge of a tsunami couldn’t touch it.
Jet grabbed her binoculars and gave the Hanjin Oslo the most careful examination that three miles of distance allowed. It was a newer ship, no visible rust or broken equipment. She was fully loaded, but a sliver of red along the side of the ship showed she hadn’t exceeded her load water line. Had Dad piloted this ship before? Jet pulled out her log and flipped through it. Yes, ten months ago, so he’d know the captain and the quality of her crew.
The warning came over marine radio. High water in two hours in the Philippines, in four hours on the coast of New Guinea, seven hours for Hawaii and Alaska. He had more than seven hours. Plenty of time to get the ship miles up the river and all three of the tankers moored in the mouth of the Columbia out into the safety of deep water.
Jet stood up, gripping the gutter on the roof above her window and straining for a better view of the ship. She willed herself to see into the bridge. Imagined the array of instruments at his command.
“Come on, Dad, you can make it!” Jet said to nobody.
She watched and waited. When the Hanjin Oslo inched its way past the mouth of Youngs Bay and moved into position to go under the Astoria Bridge, Jet pumped a fist in the air just for the satisfaction of knowing she’d made the right call.
Oji-san’s last word echoed in Kai’s head as his feet pounded the ground behind the fish cannery, propelling him forward even as his heart called him to turn back.
Kai had thought they were safe. Four floors up should have been safe, but one boat after another had broken loose from the marina and plowed into the old cannery building, breaking through the loading area and collapsing the ocean-facing wall. Most of the cannery workers had fled, but it had taken all their strength to get Oba-san to the cannery and up four flights of stairs. The Ikata Seafood Company was the only tall building on the waterfront. It was concrete and steel. It should hold. And yet the walls shook as if they were made of paper, and the lowest floor was already submerged.
Oji-san had shown him an escape route, a chute that ran from the second floor to a line of trucks in the loading dock behind the plant. Beyond that was a chain-link fence, the highway, and a hillside too steep for houses.
There was no time to choose or even speak. Kai took the loading chute to the roof of the first truck. He ran the length of the truck’s roof and jumped to the one parked behind it, landing with inches to spare. He fell forward, skinning the palms of his hands on a metal seam. The sting barely registered. Water rose up to the belly of the truck. Kai felt it shudder and lift free of the pavement. He staggered the length of the trailer as it swung to the side and crashed into the retaining wall of the freeway. He jumped for the chain-link fence on top of the wall, climbed over, and dropped to the highway. The hill on the other side of the road was so steep he had to go on hands and knees. By the time he reached the top, Kai had exhausted everything but the will to run.
He ran farther than he thought possible, cutting loops off the paved roads that switchbacked up the hills, plowing through brush and ferns. It was almost dark, and Kai was near the crest of the hills when a final aftershock threw him to the ground.
He stayed where he fell, face in the dirt and heart racing, until long after the earth was still. A rivulet of runoff was only inches away. Kai scooted toward it, lowering his face to lap up water. Eventually the heat of his body and the heat of his fear cooled, leaving him no company but horror and shame.
How could he have run, even to obey? He wasn’t a little boy who needed babysitting from his grandparents anymore. All that had changed when Oba-san had her stroke. Now he was the one to help Oji-san look after her. No more fixing boats down at the marina with his grandfather’s friends. No more after-school sails. Kai was there to work in the garden, to shop at the fish market, to make her laugh every day, and to help her learn to walk again. Kai slowly rose to his feet, ache in every inch of him. He looked toward town to see if the fish cannery was still standing.
There was nothing to see but smoke.
Kai knew where he should be. The thought of facing his principal--of explaining why he’d run off instead of following orders and trusting the neighbors to take care of his grandparents--filled him with dread. He could already hear the things Kocho-sensei would say.
No. Better not to explain. Better to take his punishment without excuses. But what if his grandparents lived? What if the cannery building held together, and they were out there right now? If he could find them and bring them to safety, no one would question his choice. But what if he never found them? What if he searched the whole town? What if . . .
Kai spun one awful possibility after another as darkness closed in around him. He checked the cuts on his elbows and knees. He cleaned them with spit and the shirttail of his uniform. The wind was as warm as any June breeze, but Kai shivered anyway, curling his body against a cold no coat or blanket could touch.
He spent the night trying not to hear the fires, or smell them. He’d always thought of fire as beautiful, a cheery addition to a summer picnic. But fire, real fire, was loud. The sulfur glow of it miles below didn’t so much cast light as deepen the shadows. And the smell of burning cars, burning boats, burning houses--the smell was the hardest to escape.
Some mornings are so perfect, it’s a crime not to go sailing. The first morning of summer vacation was such a day. Jet knew it the moment she opened her eyes and heard the wind in the cedars. She tugged on last year’s swim-team Speedo, a pair of her comfiest boy swim trunks, and a sweatshirt from Rose City Comic Con, where her mom had a book signing last year. She skipped the brush, pulled her sleep-tangled blond hair into a ponytail, and then headed downstairs to snag some breakfast.
Oliver was lounging on the living room floor in his Spider-Man pajamas, already lost in a book. Jet went into the kitchen. Mom was sitting at her computer, glued to the tsunami news with the volume turned down so Oliver wouldn’t hear.
It had taken twelve hours to get word from Japan. When the text came through, Dad hollered like the house was on fire. He picked Mom up off the ground and spun her in circles. But then he read the text. Aunt Hanako and Uncle Lars were safe, but Kai was missing and so were his grandparents.
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Book Description Random House Children's Books 2016-01-12, 2016. Hardcover. Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Seller Inventory # 9780375869723B
Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From acclaimed author Rosanne Parry comes an exciting and tender friendship story about two cousins looking for their destiny. On a beautiful day in June, the ground broke open. In Japan, you re always prepared for an earthquake. That s why Kai knows just what to do when the first rumbles shake the earth. But he does the exact opposite of what you re supposed to do: He runs. And then the tsunami hits. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Kai s cousin Jet sets sail off the coast of Astoria, Oregon. She knows she should have checked the tide she always checks the tide. Except this time she didn t. When the biggest mistakes of their lives bring them together, Jet and Kai spend the summer regretting that one moment when they made the wrong decision. But there s something about friendship that heals all wounds, and together, Jet and Kai find the one thing they never thought they d have again hope. Seller Inventory # AAC9780375869723
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Book Description Random House Childrens Books, 2016. Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. 304 pages. 8.50x5.75x1.25 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # xr0375869727