From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-After her mother's alcoholism places her best friend's life in jeopardy, anger and confusion spur 17-year-old Jane to take a summer job away from Minnesota, photographing tornadoes for her brother Ethan's chase team. This is the first time she has left her mother, and she is consumed by guilt and struggling with repressed resentment toward Ethan, who she feels abandoned their family years before. She discovers that her mother's claim to have entered a rehab facility is a lie; things come to a head when her mother texts her that she has come to Oklahoma to see her and is waiting at a nearby hotel. Ethan warns Jane not to go, but she winds up stealing the chase team's van in order to get there. The argument that ensues between them results in Jane's finally realizing that she is actually enabling her mother's addiction. Zielin does an excellent job of describing the reversal of roles between a daughter and her parent, and her portrayal of the mother's ability to manipulate her daughter is spot-on. However, the story falls short when, in a brief ending chapter, Jane has come to a swift resolution of her own issues. While the wild weather provides a telling backdrop to Jane's tumultuous emotions, an attempted parallel between her dilemma and that of a chase-team member who is trying to hide a major tornado phobia, and a budding romance between Jane and a rival chase team member add little to the story.-Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA.α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Compared to the turmoil in her personal life, chasing tornadoes doesn’t seem so crazy to Jane McAllister. After a terrifying traffic accident, caused by her mother’s drunkenness, Jane is sent to spend the summer working with her brother’s storm-chasing team. Away from the burdens at home, Jane struggles to balance her relief and happiness over a blossoming romantic relationship with guilt and worry over leaving her mother. Over the summer, she also works to establish a closer relationship with her brother, whom she blames for abandoning the family when he left for college. Distance doesn’t stop her mother’s emotional manipulation, though, and Jane must decide if she should remove herself from her mother’s vortex. In this powerful read, Zielin deftly pairs the emotional destruction of addiction with the physical destruction of tornadoes, followed by the hope that emerges after the storm has passed. With its strong focus on family and friend relationships, this should find an appreciative audience. Grades 8-11. --Eve Gaus