Published: August 2, 2012
Putnam Juvenile, hardcover, 224 pages
GoodReads Summary: 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 always been absolutely fascinated by tornadoes. By "fascinated", I partially mean "terrified." Ask my parents. I used to hide in their closet when it so much as rained. At 27, I've mostly outgrown that fear. And I live 300 miles from my parents, so I'm sure they're thankful that I don't hide in their closet anymore. I hide in my own closet.
Anyway, I've always watched shows like The Weather Channel and Storm Chasers and, of course, I LOVED Twister. Even though Bill Paxton's acting leaves one cringing a little. And I loved The Night of the Twisters--that includes the movie with a prepubescent Devon Sawa.
So when I heard about a YA book centered around storm chasing, I couldn't help but buy The Waiting Sky. I was all set for a fictitious storm chase, when I skidded to a bit of a halt. The storm chasing was more of an "added bonus," rather than the center of the plot. I can't lie: I was disappointed. I wanted DETAIL. I wanted grit. I wanted heart-pounding action and near-death experiences. I wanted lives flashing before eyes. I really didn't get much of that. It was more like a baby tornado pulls up aside your car and throws pebbles at you, to which you and your storm chaser friends laugh and smile knowingly, saying, "look how big and strong the baby twister is!" I wanted the likeness of Helen Hunt's EF-5 experience in words, damnit.
Jane's story revolved around her alcoholic mother and her own coming-of-age. Which, I'm cool with that, but how often do you see tornadoes in YA books? NOT OFTEN. I think my expectations of this book were a little high. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this. The romance was very sweet and Lara Zielin has a knack for wonderfully quirky dialogue. There were some awfully sweet moments packed into this pint-sized book between rival storm chaser intern, Max, and our hard-headed narrator, Jane. The characters were alive and well-written in The Waiting Sky, and Jane's struggle between wanting to better herself and wanting to keep her mother from drinking herself dead was believable.
If I had gone into this thinking The Waiting Sky was an issue book with a hint of death-defying vortex action, I'd have been more satisfied. Still, a solid, fast read with a reasonable amount of excitement, but more focused on family issues than anything else.
Other Bloggers' Thoughts