Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Jen Reviews "The Stormchasers" by Jenna Blum
Title: The Stormchasers
Author: Jenna Blum
Published: Penguin, 2010
Rating: 3 stars
As a teenager, Karena Jorge had always been the one to look out for her twin brother Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder. But as Charles begins to refuse medication and his manic tendencies worsen, Karena finds herself caught between her loyalty to her brother and her fear for his life. Always obsessed with the weather-enraptured by its magical unpredictability that seemed to mirror his own impulses- Charles starts chasing storms, and his behavior grows increasingly erratic . . . until a terrifying storm chase with Karena ends with deadly consequences, tearing the twins apart and changing both of their lives forever.
Two decades later, Karena gets a call from a psychiatric ward in Wichita, Kansas, to come pick up her brother, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to for twenty years. She soon discovers that Charles has lied to the doctors, taken medication that could make him dangerously manic, and disappeared again. Having exhausted every resource to try and track him down, Karena realizes she has only one last chance of finding him: the storms. Wherever the tornadoes are, that's where he'll be. Karena joins a team of professional stormchasers-passionate adventurers who will transform her life and give her a chance at love and redemption- and embarks on an odyssey to find her brother before he reveals the violent secret from their past and does more damage to himself . . . or to someone else.
Tornadoes. They scare me. A lot. Luckily they rarely occur in New England. However, I have been down south enough to experience the scare of tornadoes. I've never seen one (and hope I never do!) but I have been close enough to hear the sirens go off, woken up at 4 a.m. and been told to go hide in a bathroom and see the damage the next day. Scary, scary stuff. Reading about active tornado cells and the characters going after tornadoes definitely made my heart rate go up!
I was really interested in the twin perspective of the book. When I was little I always used to wish I had a twin. I think this was mostly due to watching way too many Mary-Kate and Ashley movies (Passport To Paris was hands down my favorite). I always wanted that "twin connection" with another person. Someone who knew what I was feeling even though we apart. Unfortunately I thought that the twin relationship in this book was a little on the grotesque side. It just felt uncomfortable reading about it at times.
Another thing that bothered me in the book was the over-hyped "big secret". When the secret is finally revealed it does explain a certain behavior of Charles. You do understand why he acts a certain way but I was expecting a huge consequence to the secret being told.
Karena joins a storm-chasing tour in hopes that she can find her brother. I was surprised to learn that these type of tours legitimately exist! Talk about adventure tourism. Would you ever sign up for a week long storm-chasing tour? I wouldn't! I'd be on pins and needles for a week.
Overall, this was a good book...but I was expecting more. A few years ago I read Blum's first book, Those Who Save Us, and loved it. It was horrifying and tragic but such a great story. The Stormchasers is a good book, but not on the same level as Those Who Save Us.
Labels: 3 stars, adult fiction, fiction, Jen
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I'll probably read this because, like you, I LOVED Those Who Save Us but that stinks that it didn't live up to that for you! I felt similarly about Sara Gruen's Ape House..I LOVED Water For Elephants so I was excited to hear she had a new one coming out but it just didn't feel the same for me.ReplyDelete
Yes! The book was good but there was just something missing for me.Delete
Hey - I'm from Wichita!ReplyDelete
Exciting! How do you feel about tornadoes?Delete
I read this for a bookclub. I enjoyed it but also expected more. I understand all of your points.ReplyDelete
I didn't consider reading her other but if majority feel it was much better I will.
I think I can be talked into going on a Stormchasers tour :-)
You're a lot braver than I am! I'd have to be forced to participate in a Stormchaser tour!Delete
You should definitely read Those Who Save Us!
Passport to Paris was good... but my favorite was Billboard Dad :) And speaking of movies, ever since Twister I've wanted to go on a storm-chasing tour. I would LOVE to be in a tornado. Maybe I would change my mind once it was actually happening... but they just seem so exciting!ReplyDelete
Exciting is not the word I would use! haha I would say nerve-wracking! Tornadoes are too unpredictable for me.Delete
Billboard Dad! I forgot about that one!
First off... tornadoes have never scared me until last April when a huge one went straight through Tuscaloosa, Alabama... I was ohhh a mile from the storm line. Even though I didn't have any damage from the storm, mentally I was a wreck. So to answer your question... no, I wouldn't EVER go chasing those storms!ReplyDelete
Secondly, the lit nerd in me kind of went off when I saw that the brother was bipolar and the title is "The Stormchasers." I sort of feel like being bipolar is being subject to "storms" and then the sister was "chasing" after him. Ohh... lit nerd side, how I love you!
Great review! :)
That was a really bad storm. I actually flew into Montgomery the day after that happened and every time you turned on the tv there was footage of the devastation.Delete
I read an interview with Jenna Blum and she pretty much said the same thing! About the brother and with his "storms" and his sister "chasing" him.
The psychiatric component of the book will interest me a lot, and like you I crave that special "twin connection".ReplyDelete
Storms scare me big time, especially since we don't really get tornadoes and hurricanes etc. in RSA.
Whether I'll read it? Not sure. But I think I will. And i would probably do something stupid like chase storms if given half a chance.
Hurricanes don't bother me as much. Yes, they are definitely scary but at least you know that one is coming, and can plan for it. You can't really track a tornado.Delete
I've lived in Tornado Alley for most of my life. They are scary!ReplyDelete
I have this on my shelf, but not very motivated to read it.
I read Those Who Save Us, but was one of the few who didn't love it.
Thanks for your thoughts.
You are brave for living in Tornado Alley!!Delete
What didn't you like about Those Who Save Us?
How disappointing that this seems to be a bit of a let down across the board. I, too, loved Those Who Save Us. Maybe I'll hold off on reading this one for awhile.ReplyDelete
I also loved Passport to Paris and Billboard Dad. Winning London added to that list, anyone? Anyone? Just me?... understandable.
Make sure you pick this book up eventually though! Who knows, it might end up being a favorite for you!Delete
Was Winning London the one where they were at the Model UN conference?
OMG my sister and I were OBSESSED with Passport to Paris. We also loved Winning London, When In Rome and the Holiday in the Sun one. lol. WE WERE HARDCORE. We even bought backpacks that were similar to the ones they had in Passport to Paris. bahha.Delete
I think I just loved all Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. lolDelete
I also used to wish I had a twin when I was younger. Also, probably due to the fact that I was obsessed with Mary-Kate & Ashley! They were just to cool =)ReplyDelete
Me too! I thought it was so cool that they were the same age as me (and famous)!Delete
this sounds very intense! too bad it wasn't as good as the other one you read by the authorReplyDelete
It was intense at times!Delete
This sounds intense and intriguing! I had seen the book around but not read a review of it yet, so I'll not its title down. Thanks!ReplyDelete
This is a terrific family drama that uses storms as a metaphor for what happened twenty years ago and for what occurs inside Charles' head. The romantic suspense mystery story line captures the reader's attention from the moment hospital liaison Nelson calls and never slows down as several subplots past and present are explored though at times the flashbacks can be distracting. The Stormchasers is an engaging look at the story nature of people and relationships.ReplyDelete