Lockdown by Maggie Bolitho

When I wrote this post, yesterday, I thought spring had finally sprung. Tuesday, I was reading an ARC copy of Lockdown by Maggie Bolitho with the windows wide open, letting in the balmy plus twelve Celsius air (that’s about 66 degrees Farenheit). This morning, the ground was covered with white stuff. Boo!

Okay, I’m sure you’re sick of me complaining about our awful weather. I suppose it could be worse. We could be in the throes of an earthquake, like the characters in Lockdown. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts about the book:


The story is a cautionary tale that appeals to the Girl Guider in me. ‘Be prepared’ could be the main motto for this story, but even well laid plans can go awry.

Maggie Bolitho has written a compelling story set in the aftermath of a great earthquake that tears apart the west coast from California to Alaska. Young Rowan Morgan and her older brother struggle to survive the turmoil that follows when The Big One hits Vancouver. Fortunately, they are spending the summer with their survivalist father when it strikes. He has been preparing for just such an apocalyptic event for years and made sure his children were well-trained, but nothing they learned could possibly help them deal with potential looters, crazed citizens with a mob mentality, and hungry neighbours whose homes were destroyed. How do they decide who to help and who to turn away?

Amidst the confusion, their father is injured and hospitalized. They are unable to reach their mother because the phone lines are not operational. They must deal with this dangerous situation on their own. In addition, they are responsible for the care of their neighbour’s teenaged son, who has led a very sheltered life, as well as a cat belonging to their vacationing neighbours. Rowan, worried about her father, decides to risk breaking curfew to visit him at the hospital and runs into more trouble, as a result. They receive some assistance from a stranger, who mysteriously appears at opportune moments, but Rowan and her brother are suspicious of his motives.

Maggie Bolitho’s main character is a typical fifteen year old, who has been trying to break free of her authoritative father’s reign, which has been a source of contention between them. Despite her longing for independence, when she finally has some, she wants to return to the more secure life she had before the earthquake. She is racked with indecision but forces herself to remember her father’s advice and at least pretend to be strong for the sake of those in her care. Some of her decisions prove to be foolish and dangerous for her, but she perseveres, growing in wisdom and strength.

I would give this story a two-thumbs-up and highly recommend it for teens as well as adults. There were a few time that I, as a parent, yelled at the girl to think a little smarter, but overall I enjoyed it and think any teen would like it, too. There’s just the right mix of suspense and action that keeps the reader barreling along at break-neck speed. I was glad I had no major commitments so I could finish it in a day with few interruptions.

The official launch of Lockdown will be May 2nd, so if anyone in the Vancouver area is interested in getting an autographed copy, be at the Lynn Valley Library at 7:30 pm. If that is not an option for you, click on the picture of the book cover above and it will take you to the publisher’s website. It’s also available on Amazon.


Book Blurb:

When a great earthquake rocks the Pacific Northwest, fifteen-year-old Rowan Morgan is hiking in a suburban forest. Tremors rip the coast from Oregon to Alaska and turn Rowan’s world upside down. After her father is wounded and taken to the hospital, he orders Rowan and her brother to stay inside his earthquakeproof, survivalist home. While the electrified fences offer some protection, it isn’t long before mobs gather, desperate for some of the food and water rumoured to be held inside.

Rowan knows that if the hungry neighbours had any true idea of the riches in her father’s cellar and water tanks, they wouldn’t be so easily sent away. Early one morning, Rowan leaves the compound and sets off in search of her father. She is turned away from the hospital and so goes to check on nearby friends where she finds a local gang has moved in. She escapes from them only to run into a stranger she met in the forest the day before. Why is he following her and what does he want?

About the author:
MAGGIE BOLITHO is curious by nature and over the years has been a soccer player, a horsewoman, a martial artist, a scuba diver (volunteer diver for the Vancouver Aquarium) and a cyclist. Before making her home in British Columbia, Bolitho lived in Australia. In Sydney her home was in a red-zone, the highest bushfire risk possible and it was there, when she trained as a member of the CFU (Community Fire Unit) as a firefighter, that her interest in disaster scenarios came to life.



Do you think YOUR winter was bad?

It’s official. My home town has experienced the worst winter in over a hundred years, according to our local newspaper.

Our front sidewalk, April 5th, 2014

Our front sidewalk, April 5th, 2014

The Winnipeg Free Press quotes the national meteorologist, Dave Phillips, who says, “Nobody alive can say they’ve had it colder in Winnipeg . . . The story about this winter was the relentlessness of it. There was really no break. It was from the get-go. Even October was a half-degree colder than normal. Nobody had the look and feel of winter more than Winnipeg,” he said. “So if we award the prize for citizens who’ve endured the toughest winter, I think you guys would win gold.”

Another view from our front window.

Another view from our front window.

There were days when we were colder than Syberia and even Mars! To read more about our record-breaking cold and snowfall, follow the link above.

Our back deck. For reference, our fence is 6 feet high.

Our back deck. For reference, our fence is 6 feet high.

And it’s not over, yet. We still have several feet of snow in our yard and had a few more inches fall yesterday. While we weren’t hit as hard as North Dakota & Minnesota to the south of us, or even east of us over the past few days, we are dreading what will happen when all that snow melts. With the Red River bringing in all that additional snow form down south, it’s anyone’s guess as to how high the flood levels will get. Our only consolation is the fact that the Floodway was recently expanded to hold more water, so the city itself should not be affected by floodwaters as much as the outlying areas.

Our back yard, with our trailer buried in the snow.

Our back yard, with our trailer buried in the snow.

However, the frost has dug so deeply this winter that thousands of Winnipeggers have experienced frozen water pipes. As of yesterday, according to the Free Press, 2, 359 properties have been affected. “While the city has been successful in thawing some lines, it can’t keep up.” There are still 1, 363 property owners who are on the waiting list. Most of those live in older neighbourhoods where pipes were laid closer to the surface. Fortunately, our neighbourhood is only about 30 years old.

In the Free Press article it states, “Even with warmer weather, the ground remains frozen and properties will be at risk of frozen lines until late May or early June.” Those affected have been asked to keep their water running 24/7 until the ground thaws to avoid pipes being damaged by frozen water. Their water bills will supposedly be ‘adjusted’ once the crisis is over.

Oh, in case you were wondering if I took the photos above during mid-winter, be assured, they were taken from my windows a few moments before posting this. While some snow has melted since mid-winter, all this still remains – and it’s already April 5th! Is there any wonder why I haven’t felt much like blogging? 😦

So, tell me about YOUR winter.