Do Not Be Alarmed, a suspense novel, tells the story of two families traveling on a cruise ship. One family is interracial while the other is not. The rising action is caused when both families lose their children when they are carried away by a current into a jungle. The author uses a dark tone to describe the differences between the affluent and the poor in this situation. She further comments on the difficulty of assimilation for children of interracial marriages.
- Nora and Raymond are couple number one: she’s white, he’s black and a recognizable Hollywood actor. They have a little girl and an 11-year-old boy who seems to have a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome
- Even before the massive ship lumbers out into international waters, we readers sense this won’t be a lighthearted Disney family cruise
- Meloy is such a deft writer that she keeps the adventure plot whizzing along even as she deepens our sense of the characters and the unfamiliar culture they have to navigate
“The two American families at the center of this story think they’re setting off for a cruise down the California coast to Central America, but, instead, they’re in for a catastrophic learning experience.”