by Lara Zielin
Published by Putnam Juvenile Release date : August 2nd 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Library | Format: Hardcover
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link)
Add to: Goodreads
"One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better
Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.
Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture."
I’ve had it on my list to read for awhile now and I’m not even sure what initially drew it to my attention. The promise of awesome storms? The promise of a journey to change your life? Regardless, I’m glad I picked it up.
Having grown up in the Northwest, tornadoes were a fascinating, yet distant, concept to me. I knew they happened, that they were scary, did some nasty damage and what not but I never really had to worry about them, since they just didn’t happen. I thought they were beautiful, albeit scary, and the thought of being near one, sounded like the best thing EVER. HELL.NO. Shortly after moving to Texas, we experienced these nasty storms ALL THE TIME, even having a tornado touch real, real close to us. Tis not fun my friends. Still, the thought of being a storm chaser and living on that adrenaline high is (slightly) appealing. Riding along side Jane, her brother Ethan and other chasers, I felt like I was living that small, childhood dream vicariously through them.
I thought the descriptions of the twisters, how they happened and the damage was well written. I could vividly picture them, almost as if I WERE there. It liked how Zielin got into some details. It’s NOT one of those things that JUST IS. She took the time and did her research. Nicely done.
We are thrown into the dreary life that is Jane’s. Needing an escape to cope with her guilt and put distance between herself and her mother, she joins her brother for a Summer of storm chasing chaos. What I loved most about Jane is how REAL she is portrayed. Alcohol abuse is not something to be taken lightly and it does directly affect the loved ones more than what you’d think. My heart broke for Jane, because she was so naive and just… blinded that it was just NOT.OK. Sure, she knows her life isn’t sunshine and rainbows but that constant thought of CHANGE or HOPE keeps her going. I couldn’t imagine living the way she did, it’s obvious she’s tough as nails. But her constant state of denial and stubbornness makes you want shake her. Then you feel bad, because really, she doesn’t KNOW any different. She’s independent and strong yet, insecure and gullible. Watching her grow throughout the book was beautiful.
Aside from her brother Ethan, we have a whole cast full of secondary characters, having their own issues as well. They were all well written, like-able characters that you can’t help but get attached to. Max, the love interest, was funny and charming, but since the romance part of the story is very minuscule, we don’t get to heavy into this character. Though from what we saw of him, he’s good for Jane. Cat-her best friend- was probably the only one that really, really ticked me off the most. You don’t give people suffering from these types of issues ultimatums. Especially since she held such a grudge against Ethan for leaving. Knowing that, you don’t threaten to leave or not “be friends” with them. You just don’t.
Also, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities to the movie, Twister. Coincidence? Possibly. But there was just too many to really call it that. Still, it was a good
Overall~ I enjoyed it. It was a fun, short, intense-even heart breaking at times- read that keeps you engrossed throughout.