The Stormchasers: A Novel Paperback – Apr 26 2011
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"The outer landscape of Tornado Alley and the inner terrain of sibling devotion are brought vividly to life in Jenna Blum's new novel, a powerful story that reminds us that love is always a pursuit - one that demands, over and over again, that we put ourselves in harm's way."
-Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken for You and Sing Them Home
"I could not put down Jenna Blum's tornado of a novel about the secrets we keep from even those we love the most. Her heroine, Karena, is a fearless and fascinating companion on one hell of a ride."
-Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost and Love Stories in this Town
"Jenna Blum's novel, The Stormchasers, is an emotional rollercoaster of a story, the constant being Jenna's incredible descriptions of the beauty and awe of the most powerful natural force. The parallels Jenna draws between tornadoes and the human condition is genius and makes for a must-read novel."
-Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers.
"A somber, effective portrait of twins [and] a meticulous portrait of bipolar disorder and the heartbreaking damage it does to those it affects. . . . Beautifully rendered. . . . A strong second novel."
About the Author
Jenna Blum is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Those Who Save Us. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and teaches creative writing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
By the last storm, I realized I was completely hooked on chasing down that big storm.
I was surprised by the richness of this metaphor in exploring one of the main character's mental problems. At first, I was like, wild storm = charismatic, crazy guy. Got it. But then as we learn more about the enigmatic Charles through the eyes of his sister Karena, the complexity of the storms matches suit. I was delighted to peel layer of layer off the metaphor to see more similarities between Charles and impenetrable storms. I have never understood the power and chaos of a bipolar disorder.
I expected a romance in the book, but I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. The character of Kevin is completely believable, huggable, and as square and wonderful as you could imagine a high school science teacher to be. The chemistry between Kevin and narrator Karena is really fun to watch unfold, answering the aging-old question, how do you flirt when you're over 30? Fascinating and playful.
I loved Blum's first novel, Those Who Save Us, and was appropriately horrified by some of the sad and beautiful descriptions of brutal inhumanity. I did not know if Blum could pull off writing about a subject with less wild drama than the Nazis.
Turns out, she can.
Although the metaphor of stormchasing and bipolar "storms" was apt, the relentless reminder to the reader of how Charles' illness affected his sister was overdone. I think most readers will be able to predict the outcome of the story once the "secret" is revealed. I did, however, enjoy the technical information about the development and science of storms, particularly tornadoes, since I live in the Midwest where this type of weather is common and often destructive.
Another reviewer has remarked about the fact that the two men in the book rarely use Karena's name. Her brother (and twin) calls her either "K" or "sistah", and her boyfriend refers to her as "Laredo" or some other term. I also found that annoying. I really never felt that I got involved with the characters in this novel -- they were very one dimensional and I found myself becoming irritated at times rather than empathizing with their plight. I was basically just glad to get to the wholly anticlimactic end.
I will wait patiently for Blum's next novel, and see if she can revert to the quality storytelling that made me a fan when I read her first book. Overall, just found The Stormchasers only mildly interesting, a bit disappointing, and would tell those who ask, "It's OK."
I didn't want to love this book but I couldn't help it. In fact, my paperback copy no longer looks like new because I was gripping and bending it as I was reading it. I felt like I was there and felt the gamut of emotions that accompanies that feeling. As I followed Karina and Charles through the roller-coaster that is their relationship, I felt just as invested. I love how realistic this novel is. While there isn't a cliffhanger, it doesn't have a neat ending. I loved everything about these characters and I'm not sure what I would have done in their place. I had a bipolar student in one of my classes and as I read this novel, I realized how little I understood this disorder. If anything, I minimized it and that sticks with me a bit.
This is another instance of a book that I would initially shy away from as too serious but at the end I couldn't believe it was over and I was so glad that I read it.
Blum keeps the stakes high throughout the book, with a sense of danger and foreboding building as the story of Karenna's past is revealed. There's also a delightfully sexy love story in the mix. Or maybe it just seemed extra sexy because of all the tornadoes?
In any case, I found Stormchasers to be a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read. Now, where do I sign up to go stormchasing?
The Stromchasers opens up the day of Karena Jorge's birthday. For Karena, birthdays have never been the cheeriest time of the year, not only because of the fact she's getting older, but because she's reminded of what she lost all those years ago- her twin brother Charles. However, this birthday is different, because with one single phone call, Karena knows the location of her brother for the first time in years, and it seems he wants her to come after him. With this, she leaves and begins a path like no other- one filled with deadly storms, figuratively and metaphorically, a possible chance at love and redemption, and the chance to make everything good again with her brother. However, what happens when a problem of the past comes into view again? Will it leave Charles and Karena farther apart than ever before, or will it bring them closer together? Only time and more pages can tell in this fascinating tale of twins, love, and disease in their best and worse.
With The Stromchasers came several memorable aspects and one of those was the characters. Complex, interesting, and distinctive, Jenna presented each in a notable way. However, the most interesting out of then would have to be Karena and Charles, not only because of their fascinating bound, but because these two were the ones who had so much to gain as well as loss. With Karena and Charles also came feelings that continually rocketed over the page, making the reader feel for them, even when they were not exactly likable.
Furthermore, the plot in this was also absorbing. I enjoyed the focus on storm chasers, because not only is what they do thought-provoking and dangerous, but it also lead to many thrilling moments in the book, as storms truly represented the trouble that had plagued the characters over their lives with the beauty and the horror. It was interesting and I loved every moment of it. The romanced subplot between Karena and Kevin was also a high point, because it lead to Karena to find yet another missing puzzle piece of her life. Better yet, as I mentioned before, I loved the focus on siblings and the bonds between them in this, and with the fact that Charles was bipolar made it even more interesting.
Lastly, Jenna Blum's writing reached the amount of wealth the characters and storylines had. Truly, she did such a fantastic job of getting the emotions of the characters down and with making the bipolar aspects of Charles's character real and relatable. Better yet, I loved the ending she gave. It was not picture perfect, instead it left off in a place where it could really go any which way and I loved that because life isn't picture perfect.
Beguiling, unique, and startling, Jenna Blum's The Stormchasers is one novel you simply cannot miss! Making things even better, it is now available in paperback!