- Age Range: 10 - 14 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 6
- Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802723136
- ISBN-13: 978-0802723130
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eye of the Storm Hardcover – February 28, 2012
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Jaden is a smart, spunky heroine, reinvigorating the concept of "geek-chic" for young readers.... With a villain who seems impossible to kill, this exciting novel is poised for a follow-up and will not disappoint readers who are looking for a thrill.
~from the VOYA review
Interesting to both science lovers & those readers who just like a whole lot of destructive tornadoes bashing about wrecking havoc. Exciting & informative by terms, this is one little hard-to-categorize novel that slips easily into the "great read" slot.Future meteorologists rejoice!
~from Fuse #8's SLJ blog
Kate Messner's newest novel, Eye of the Storm, envisions a not-to-distant future where out-of-control weather threatens everyday life. Tween readers will love the way Messner develops an exciting, suspenseful story in this dystopian novel.
~from Great Kid Books blog review
From the Author
Can considering dark futures help us to build a brighter one? This question is always on my mind when I read dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, and it was on my mind as I wrote EYE OF THE STORM, a science-weather thriller and my first novel for young readers that's set in the future.
In March of 2012, I was invited to give a TED talk on imagination and society building as it relates to fiction set in the future. When I took the stage in front of 1500 people, Jaden and her friends from EYE OF THE STORM were there with me in spirit. You can read more about my TED talk here:
The concept of "world building" was at the heart of that talk. Writing EYE OF THE STORM required me to imagine a future that hasn't happened yet, so it involved a lot of thinking and writing explicitly about this world my character inhabits, its rules and challenges, and how it got to be the way it is.
For those who aren't familiar with the term, world-building is the process of coming up with all that information -- the history, rules, and everyday realities of the world in which a fantasy or science fiction novel is set. In historical fiction, we simply call this research, because the world already existed in a past time, and the writer's job is to ferret out all the details about what it was like. But when a story is set in an imaginary world or in the future, there's no real-life past to explore. It all has to be made up, but made up in a way that makes sense, in a way that the circumstances of the world are believable, given the history that created it, and in a way that's logical, given the rules you've established for the world.
Even imaginary worlds need rules. Consider Hogwarts. The incantation "Expelliarmus!" always results in an opponent being disarmed, if it's done right. As readers, we wouldn't be on board if a character used "Expelliarmus!" to disarm an enemy in one scene and then cried "DroppusWandus!" five pages later. Things need to be consistent.
So what do writers need to consider when creating a world? I created a world-builiding worksheet that felt like it help me to build Jaden's world for EYE OF THE STORM. You can see it -- and read more about the process here:
World Building - Part I
World Building - Part II
World Building - Part III
By the time I was done, I felt like I lived in the future that Jaden, Alex, Risha, Tomas, and the other characters inhabit. It was a scary place to be, but an energizing, exciting one, too. I hope you'll read EYE OF THE STORM, and I hope you enjoy your time in that world as much as I did.
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Jaden, on this her first visit with her father for a long time, manages to interrupt his work and to find his big secret operation is not so nice as she had thought. Action builds time after time as Jaden tried to repair what her father has already started. There are surprises in the book which satisfy and the sidekicks of Jaden who try to warn her that something is not right. There are some scary moments. I suspect if she had been any older, she would have been in even more hot water. It's an interesting idea to use huge storms as one of the ingredients of dystopian survival, to the point that many build 'safe' rooms, something like the old 'root cellars'.
It's a book worth reading, especially for the good science; maybe there is a giant tornado, or three, in our futures.
The only weak spot in Eye of the Storm is that the characters are a bit flat and almost type-cast:
* Jaden and Alex are nerdy problem solvers.
* Risha is a bit too boy crazy.
* Jaden's father is distant and fake.
* His new French-ballerina wife is happy to take care of the baby and have dinner ready for her husband.
Yep - these characters are thin. Still, it didn't bother me much because the focus is really on the plot and this crazy storm-filled future.
I absolutely loved this novel's action, suspense, greedy villains, and the way it made math science, math, and even poetry cool.
Every author works hard to hook their readers from the very first sentence. Few succeed. Kate Messner is the exception here in "Eye of the Storm".
This is that rare YA novel that us not-so-Y A's enjoy reading. Its futuristic setting and the challenges its characters face living within it, make it feel uncomfortably real, as though what is happening in this world is not far removed from what is happening in our own.
Woven into the science here is some very good fiction. Ms. Messner's character's are consistently rich and realistic. In this case, the voice of main character, Jaden (AKA "Weather Girl") is pitch-perfect, as is Ms. Messner's portrayal of Jaden's storm-chasing absentee father.
There's turbulence at every level here. The weather outside isn't great. But the inner weather that roils within Jaden is probably worse as she struggles with her love for and resentment of her tornado-obsessed father.
While technically science fiction, I suspect that Ms. Messner has some real-life insight into certain things in this book, particularly the atmospheric science and even, perhaps, what it means to be a kid whose parent seems perpetually distracted with something that isn't his child.
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