Monday, February 13, 2012

EYE OF THE STORM by Kate Messner

Author: Kate Messner
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE Convention

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia. She’ll also be attending the exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, that her dad founded. There, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers, and together they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s research that is putting countless lives at risk. As a massive tornado approaches, threatening to destroy everything in its path, Jaden is torn between loyalty to her dad and revealing his secret. Can she find the courage to confront her dad and save everyone from the biggest storm yet?

This is my first Kate Messner book and I hope to read many more! I've known her through twitter (she's also a middle school teacher) and now that I know her as an author I'm even more excited. I loved this story full of suspense and great characters. It was exciting and engaging and informative and entertaining and scary and hopeful. Jaden is a kick-butt girl who is smart and strong, and only gets more confident throughout the events of this story. I love reading smart characters who can be role models for my middle schoolers, and Kate has definitely written some in both Jaden and Alex in this book. I think Jaden and Alex made a great pairing, and it's refreshing to read about good people without all of the angst and drama of some of the young adult books I've read recently. This is a great middle grades book with really likeable characters who many will be able to relate to.

The world that Kate has created in this future society where storms and tornadoes have become much more powerful than they ever have before, is one in which I could see this society going, but it's scary at the same time. The details she puts in with all of the changes around the country and the world make it feel completely authentic and realistic. This is a well-researched book with details about storm formation and tornadoes that I imagine middle schoolers will find interesting. There is a villain (or two) and suspense and action which should hook my students, as well as friendships and family drama and a touch of flirtation which will hook others, and then the science aspects will grab others. It's definitely a book I can see having appeal for both boys and girls and I will have no hesitation recommending this one to any of them. This book is definitely one to add to any classroom library or middle school reader's collection.

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