by Jennifer Brown
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley via Publisher (Thank You!!)
Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.
In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch.
GOODREADS / AMAZON / B&N
Review: This is the first book that I have read by Jennifer Brown, but after reading it I know that I want to pick up some of her other books. Not only was the story wonderful, but the writing was excellent. I love finding new authors whose style of writing I really enjoy, and I do believe that Jennifer Brown will be one of these authors for me. As I received this book via Netgalley, I only have the ebook edition; However, I do think that I will purchase a physical copy to add to my shelves since I enjoyed it so much. Plus, look at that cover. Who would not want that sitting on their book shelf?
At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to Jersey, a high school junior who just wants to have a little piece in quiet without her much younger sister asking her to dance or her mother nagging her about doing the laundry while they are gone. It is when her mother and little sister, Marin, go to dance that things begin to go wrong. It seems like they are used to bad weather in the town of Elizabeth, but this time is different. Jersey knows what to do, though. They have been taught to go to the basement, and while Jersey isn't thrilled to be there alone, she makes her way to the basement and crawls under her step-father's pool table.
That is when it all happens. Suddenly there is too much wind, Jersey is getting hit by flying debris, the house is falling apart around here, and it seems impossible that this is actually happening. When it comes to a stop, everything is gone. There is no phone signal, their kitchen is in their basement, and some of the neighbors are missing. A lot of people are missing, in fact. While you would think this might be the worst thing to happen to our protagonist, unfortunately it is not. In fact, it is just the start to the downward spiral Jersey must go through.
After losing her mother and sister in the storm, she is left with her step-father, Ronnie. Only, they never had a close relationship, and Ronnie can't take care of Jersey after what they've gone through...in fact, he makes it clear he does not want to deal with her. Jersey is sent to live with her alcoholic father, the one she was told walked out when she was young, and his equally horrible family. It is a horrible situation, and I found myself constantly hoping that Jersey would get out of there as quickly as possible.
She does, but not after some horrible things happen. She is being controlled by her emotions, which is understandable. She is a teenage girl who has lost everything she ever knew. Instead, she is taken to live with her mother's parents, people she was not sure were even alive anymore. Her mother told her horrible things about them, and while she wants to think of them as horrible people, they make it pretty difficult for her. Honestly, her grandparents were some of my favorite characters in the book.
I do wish that we could have seen a little more of the supporting characters, though. I really liked her childhood neighbor Kolby, and it was clear that there were feelings there on both parts. We receive a cute little part at the end of the book, but it would have been nice to have a bit more. However, all of this takes place in a short amount of time. It isn't about the past really, or the future, but with Jersey trying to figure out how to live in the now.
This story was so raw and emotional for me. I grew up in a small town in Iowa where tornadoes would happen, and people were extremely interested in the weather when it got bad. This book gave me a whole new view of the whole thing, though. How much can be taken away by a simple act of a natural disaster. It was heartbreaking. Brown did an amazing job of making the book seem so real, though. I felt everything as the main character did, and that is something that is very important to me in a story like this. I would strongly recommend this book to any YA fans.
Rating: 5.0 / 5.0