I don't know what made an old woman think she could write a novel about a little kid surviving a tornado but...I'M JOKING! Lauren Tarshis isn't old and even if she were it wouldn't matter. I don't subscribe to the 'write what you know' nonsense. The rule ought to be 'write what you can make a good story out of' (or maybe, in some cases, 'write what you can get away with', but let's not go there), and this author has almost made a career out of writing this "I survived" series. I say 'almost' because she's written other stuff and novel writing isn't all she does.
She started this series though, in 2010 with I Survived the Titanic (start big, right? Or write...), and has published a score or so of these. All these stories are based on real historical events, not all of them natural - or even human-caused - disasters, this particular one has its roots in the EF5 tornado which slammed Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, May 22, 2011. In addition to scores of deaths. It did almost three billion dollars in damage.
This was a mutant tornado, and as such was a good one to dramatize in this fiction based on the real disaster. I listened to the audiobook, and the main character is an eleven-year-old boy named Dex, whose father went to college with a guy who now makes a career out of chasing tornadoes and talking about them on his TV show, which is of course mandatory watching for Dex and his father. Why not his mother, I have no idea. Dex also has an older brother who is in the Navy Seals. I don't know why that was included because it's irrelevant to what happens in the story. His brother could have been a criminal or a younger brother, or a school teacher or anything. It made no difference to events.
Dex meets the tornado chaser by accident - literally, and gets invited to go chasing the next morning. They end up being caught in this monster tornado that precipitated rapidly and right outside Joplin. It was a cell of several tornadoes inside a shield of rain that was almost a mile across, and it hit Joplin right on, carving a path through there before heading off into the countryside and finally dissipating.
Dex's story is really very short, and the action in it is pretty violent at times, so you might want to exercise caution in who you let read this, but for most boys in middle grade it would probably be a worthy read. I don't know if girls would be likely to get into it in the same way, but maybe a few would. Certainly they ought to consider the educational value. It's read in fine style by Thérèse Plummer, and afterwards the author talks about the real tornado, how it formed, and the damage it did, so this makes for a really educational work. This isn't a series that I'm interested in pursuing, but maybe a child of appropriate age would, and I commend it as a worthy listen!